What To Do When You Receive A Summons.

summonsIn our legal system, the summons is the first legal document in the official process of court in South Africa. Usually, this is preceded by a letter of demand from an attorney.

What does a summons contain?

Essentially a summons contains all the details of the parties, the court at which the matter has been referred, the claim against the Defendant and a summary of the case.

How to defend yourself?

The court rules provide you with 10 business days from the day you received the summons to notify the Plaintiff or their attorney that you intend to defend yourself.

At this stage, you should contact an attorney to seek legal assistance and advice regarding the claim against you.

A Plea will need to be drafted and the rules of court are very specific as to what should be contained therein. Hence it would be advisable to talk to an attorney about the way forward.


Do not ignore a summons! Never ignore a summons as doing so would mean that the Plaintiff can obtain judgment against you by default without your intervention. This process does also take time so do not assume the matter has just gone away.

If you find yourself having been served with a summons and not knowing the process going forward, feel free to contact our offices so we can assist you with the pending litigation against you.