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Note
This page describes the simplified civil process for cases begun by a Writ of Summons (Writ) and heard in the Magistrate's Court or the District Court where all parties consent to the application of the simplified civil process.

Refer to Start a civil claim by Writ of Summons instead if either of the following applies to your case:

  • Civil cases begun by a Writ and heard in the General Division of the High Court.
  • Civil cases begun by a Writ and heard in the District Court where parties do not agree to the application of the simplified civil process.

About default judgments

A default judgment (or a judgment in default) is a judgment made by the court against a party because they failed to do something. For example, failing to file a document required by the court within a given period of time.

Depending on the nature of your claim, a default judgment can be:

  • A final judgment.
    • This is the court's final decision in a civil case. For example, the other party has to pay you a fixed amount of money, interest on the amount and legal costs.
  • An interlocutory judgment.
    • An interlocutory judgment may be given if you are seeking unliquidated damages from the other party.
    • In this case, an assessment of damages hearing may be arranged, where the amount of money, interest, and legal costs payable to you will be determined by the court.

File a request to enter a default judgment

If you are the party starting a claim (the plaintiff) against the other party (the defendant), you can enter a default judgment against the defendant:

  • If the defendant fails to file and serve a copy of a memorandum of appearance (MOA) (enter an appearance) on you within 8 days of receiving the Writ (if they are located in Singapore), or within 21 days of receiving the Writ (if they are located outside of Singapore).
    • This is known as a judgment in default of appearance.
  • If the defendant fails to file and serve on you a copy of their defence within 14 days of filing the time limited for the entry of appearance.
    • This is known as a judgment in default of defence.

A default judgment will not be entered automatically if the defendant fails to file and serve an MOA or defence.

You will have to file a request or seek leave (permission) to enter a default judgment against the defendant and state that the defendant has either failed to file an MOA or their defence within the prescribed time limits.

Tip
You can do a search of the case file at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to check if the defendant has filed either an MOA or a defence.

What you will need

You will need to prepare the following before you file the request to enter a default judgment:

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 via eLitigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

You must follow the Rules of Court and the State Courts Practice Directions 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 a request to enter a default judgment. You may also refer to Appendix B of the Rules of Court for the full list of court fees.

After you file

If the requirements for the entry of default judgment are satisfied, the court will generally grant the default judgment.

If the defendant does not agree with the default judgment, they may apply to the court to set aside or vary the default judgment.

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

Refer to the Guide to Common Civil Justice Processes (PDF, 1476 KB).
Refer to Paragraph 76 of the State Courts Practice Directions for judgment in default of appearance or service of defence.
Go to Step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide

File a request for a default judgment, if needed

Attend court for pre-trial matters

File an appeal or enforce judgment or order, if needed

Attend court for post-trial matters

2021/10/13

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