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About service of documents

Serving a legal document on another party informs them of a legal application or court order made against them.

In general, parties will have to follow the Rules of Court, or the Family Justice Rules for Family Justice Courts (FJC) cases, and the respective court's practice directions if they are required to serve court documents on another party within Singapore:

Tip

Some court applications may have specific rules to follow with regards to the service of documents.

Refer to the self-help guide for your topic for more information.

There are also rules for the service of documents into and out of Singapore. Refer to the following to find out more about the process:

Service process out of Singapore

A party will need to obtain leave (permission) from the court before they can serve court documents on another party who is residing or working outside of Singapore (out of jurisdiction).

Leave is not required for service out of jurisdiction for proceedings under Part X of the Women's Charter if certain conditions are met.

For these cases, a party may serve the documents out of jurisdiction by personal service or by registered post. Refer to Rule 49 of the Family Justice Rules for more information.

What you will need

Refer to the following to find out the documents to file to apply for leave.

If you are the party serving the documents on another party, you will have to file the following:

Find out how to prepare an affidavit. If you are representing yourself and unsure of what to say, or need help preparing your affidavit, you should seek independent legal advice.

The courts are not able to provide legal advice or recommend lawyers. Find out where to get help.

If you are the party serving the documents on another party, you will have to file the following:

Find out how to prepare an affidavit. If you are representing yourself and unsure of what to say, or need help preparing your affidavit, you should seek independent legal advice.

The courts are not able to provide legal advice or recommend lawyers. Find out where to get help.

How to file

You may choose to file the documents personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer.

If you are representing yourself, you must file the documents through eLitigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

You must follow the Rules of Court, the relevant practice directions and the Family Justice Rules (for FJC cases) to prepare your documents before heading down personally to do the filing.

Estimated fees

Refer to the following to find out the possible fees for filing the documents. You may also refer to Appendix B of the Rules of Court for the full list of court fees.

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Document or service

Fees

File the request for service of documents out of Singapore

$25 per party, per place of service

Extract the Certificate of Process of Court

$10

File the summons for leave of court

$10

File the affidavit for leave of court

$1 per page subject to a minimum of $10 per affidavit

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Document or service

Fees

File the request for service of documents out of Singapore

$50 per party, per place of service

Extract the Certificate of Process of Court

$10

File the summons for leave of court

$20

File the affidavit for leave of court

$1 per page subject to a minimum of $10 per affidavit

Refer to the following for the filing fees if your claim is up to $1 million. In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Document or service

Fees

File the request for service of documents out of Singapore

$100 per party, per place of service

Extract the Certificate of Process of Court

$20

File the summons for leave of court

$100

File the affidavit for leave of court

$2 per page subject to a minimum of $50 per affidavit

Refer to the table for the filing fees if your claim is more than $1 million. In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet and CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Document or service

Fees

File the request for service of documents out of Singapore

$200 per party, per place of service

Extract the Certificate of Process of Court

$50

File the summons for leave of court

$200

File the affidavit for leave of court

$2 per page subject to a minimum of $50 per affidavit

After you file

The court will inform you if there will be a hearing to decide whether to grant you leave to serve your documents out of jurisdiction. If the court grants you leave, you may proceed to serve your documents.

How the documents can be served depends on the foreign country in which the documents are being served:

If the foreign country has a Civil Procedure Convention with Singapore

If the foreign country has a Civil Procedure Convention with Singapore that provides for the service of documents, the documents may be served by one of the following diplomatic channels:

  • Through the judicial authorities of the foreign country.
  • Through a Singapore consular authority in the foreign country, subject to any provision of the Convention as to the nationality of persons who may be so served.

If the foreign country does not have a Civil Procedure Convention with Singapore

If the foreign country does not have a Civil Procedure Convention with Singapore that provides for the service of documents, the documents may be served by one of the following diplomatic channels:

  • Through the government of the foreign country where that government is willing to effect service.
  • Through a Singapore consular authority in the foreign country, except where service through such an authority is contrary to the law of the foreign country.
  • By a method of service authorised by the law of the foreign country for service of documents commencing a legal action issued by that country.
Tip
It is preferable for service out of Singapore to be carried out through private agents in the foreign country, where possible.

You may file the following documents at the Registry of the respective court in which your case is heard:

The Request should be filed together with the following:

  • Your court order for service of documents out of Singapore.
  • Copies of the documents for service on the defendant.
  • Copies of translations of the documents for service in the official language of the country in which service is to be effected (if applicable).
  • A certification by the person making the translation that it is a correct translation.
    • The certificate must contain a statement of that person's full name, address and qualifications for making the translation.
Note
As service out of Singapore through diplomatic channels may take some time, you are required to update the relevant authorities through the Registry as to whether service out of Singapore is still required.

You may choose to file the documents personally or through a lawyer. If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer.

If you are representing yourself, you must file the request through eLitigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Service of foreign process into Singapore

A party in Singapore can be served documents in connection to pending proceedings before a court or tribunal of a foreign country. This is known as foreign process.

Foreign process can be served in the following ways:

Foreign process can be served through a court process server if it is in accordance with one of the following:

  • A letter of request from a foreign court or tribunal.
    • The letter of request is usually transmitted via official channels to Singapore's Minister of Law. If the Minister for Law approves the request, the letter will be forwarded to the court.
    • The letter of request should be accompanied by 2 copies of the documents to be served (on the person) and 2 sets of translated copies of documents in English (if applicable).
  • A letter of request issued by a consular or other authority of a foreign country with whom Singapore has a Civil Procedure Convention that provides for the service of documents.
    • The letter of request should be accompanied by a copy of the documents to be served and

After service of the process, the court’s process server will provide an affidavit of service stating:

  • The details of the service of process or attempts to effect service (where applicable).
  • The outcome of the process.
  • The costs incurred (if applicable).

For Supreme Court and State Courts cases, the registrar will also issue a certificate to certify the outcome of the process and the costs incurred to carry out the process.

For FJC cases, the court process server will issue the statement of costs.

Payment of such costs should be made to the registrar of the respective court.

For Supreme Court and State Courts cases, the service of documents can be effected in accordance with Order 10 and Order 62 of the Rules of Court as well as Paragraph 32 of the Supreme Court Practice Directions or Paragraph 11 of the State Courts Practice Directions.

For FJC cases, the service of documents can be effected in accordance with Part 18 Division 4 of the Family Justice Rules, Part 18 Division 66 of the Family Justice Rules as well as Paragraph 78 of the FJC Practice Directions.

If the service is effected by private means, such as via a lawyer or lawyer's clerk in Singapore, the registrar of the respective court will not issue a certificate certifying the outcome of the attempts at service.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

Resources

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