Defend a challenge or a claim

You need to defend a challenge or a claim within the time stated under the heading Notice to defendant of the statement of claim which has been served on you.

Documents: statement of defence

File and serve a statement of defence using Form 4.

Your statement of defence needs to comply with regulation 19 and 20 of the Employment Court Regulations 2000:1

  • list the full name, address and occupation of each party involved.  If the claim is a challenge those names should be identical to the names shown on the front page of the determination of the authority (for example, the plaintiff/s and the defendant/s)
  • specify, in consecutively numbered paragraphs, whether you admit or deny the allegations of fact in the statement of claim. You do not need to plead to an allegation that does not affect you (say “the defendant does not need to plead to paragraph…")
  • have concise paragraphs that are confined to one topic
  • avoid being evasive. If you deny an allegation of fact in the statement of claim, points must be answered in substance
  • provide sufficient facts (time, place, amounts, names of the persons, and other circumstances) to fully, fairly and clearly inform the court and the plaintiff/s of the nature and details of the defence
  • if you refer to a positive defence (if you are raising some further matter beyond your responses to the plaintiff’s claim) include the general nature of the defence, the facts (but not the evidence of those facts) upon which the defence is based and references to any relevant employment agreement or employment contract or legislation that you are relying upon
  • state at the foot of the statement of defence that it is filed by you, and provide the address of service (the address where documents can be left or posted).  If you have a representative who is filing a statement of defence on your behalf that person should provide their details
  • have your signature and the date.

Time limit

You have 30 clear days from the day on which the statement of claim was served on you to file a statement of defence. You need to serve the statement of defence on the plaintiff/s as soon as practicable. 

If you fail to file a statement of defence within the 30 days you will not be able to defend the proceedings without leave of the Court.

It is desirable that you serve the plaintiff immediately after filing your defence with the registry.

Find Form 4 and a completed example of a statement of defence on our forms and fees page.

Find out more about completing, filing and serving documents.

Filing fee

No fee is required.

Back to top

Counterclaims and cross-challenges

If you wish to file a counterclaim or a cross-challenge include it after your defence and provide a notice to the other party. 

Please note: If you intend to file a statement of defence that includes a cross-challenge, the document must be filed within 28 days from the date of the written determination issued by the Employment Relations Authority. If you are late you will need to apply for leave to extend the time for filing a cross-challenge.

Find out more about filing of a statement of defence with cross-challenge in the Revocation of Practice Direction 1 May 2014.

Find out more about applying to extend the time for filing a challenge.

Find Form 2A an application for leave on our forms and fees page.

Back to top


  1. reg 19-20, Employment Court Regulations 2000(external link)

This page was last updated: