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Arriving in court for a civil trial


This page describes the trial process for civil cases begun by an Originating Claim (OC) and heard in the Magistrate’s Court (non-injury motor accident action and any action for personal injuries), the District Court or the General Division of the High Court.

Refer to Going to court (simplified civil process) instead if either of the following applies to your case:

  • Civil cases begun by an OC and heard in the Magistrate's Court (except non-injury motor accident action and any action for personal injuries).
  • Civil cases begun by an OC and heard in the District Court where all parties consent to the application of the simplified civil process.

On the day of your trial, you should:

  • Arrive early and find your way to the venue.
  • Confirm your case is heard in the venue you are about to enter. Inform the court officer before entering.
  • Dress neatly and decently when attending court.
  • Speak and conduct yourself in a courteous manner.

Attendance is compulsory

If you are absent without a valid reason, the judge may proceed with the case in your absence. Depending on the circumstances, your claim may either be dismissed or judgment may be entered against you.

If you are running late, you need to inform the other party that you are on your way and state your estimated time of arrival.

Documents to bring

You should bring the following for your trial:

  • Your identity card (NRIC), work permit, passport or other official identification documents that have your photo and personal particulars (photo ID).
  • At least 2 sets of all the bundles submitted to the court.
    • One copy is for you to refer to and your witnesses should each be given a copy.
  • Writing material to take notes (such as pens and notepad).

If you have lost your NRIC, work permit or passport and do not have any other photo ID, you can bring documents that support your reasons for not having a photo ID.

For example, you should bring along a police report as evidence of the loss of your NRIC. Alternatively, you can also show correspondences with the relevant agencies such as the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) as evidence of your attempts at obtaining a replacement NRIC or passport.

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

For State Courts refer to the Guide to Common Civil Justice Processes (PDF, 1476 KB)

Go to Step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide


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