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About assessment of damages

For certain cases such as personal injury claims, a judge may grant judgment on which party is liable but not on the quantum of damages (precise amount of money) to be awarded to the winning party.

This amount of money to be awarded may be assessed by the court at an assessment of damages hearing conducted by a registrar or a judge at a later date.

File a summons for directions

If you are the party entitled to the benefit of the judgment (the plaintiff), you will have to file a summons for directions within 1 month from the date the judgment was granted.

Refer to the following to find out the steps to take for filing a summons for directions, depending on which court the case is heard.

In general, the summons for directions hearing is conducted asynchronously. This means the court may proceed to make orders or issue directions to parties based on the documents filed without the attendance of the parties unless the court directs otherwise.

Refer to State Courts Registrar's Circular 11 of 2020 and File a summons for directions to find out more about the process, the estimated fees and the documents you may have to file.

You should prepare the summons for directions in accordance with Form 44 of the Rules of Court before you file.

Refer to File a summons for directions to find out more about the process and the estimated fees to file your documents.

Orders and directions the court may make

The court may consider the appropriate orders or directions after the summons for directions is filed. This may include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Give directions for the filing and exchange of all affidavits of evidence-in-chief (AEICs) and expert reports which parties intend to rely on at the assessment of damages hearing.
    • AEICs are the affidavits by each party and the party's witnesses stating evidence to support the party's case. A party or witness may not be allowed by the court to give evidence at the assessment of damages hearing if their AEIC has not been exchanged.
  • Give directions on the discovery and inspection of documents.
  • Give directions as to the time by which you should file a Notice of Appointment for Assessment of Damages (NOAD).
    • In general, you will have to file the NOAD within 6 months of the date of judgment.
    • The NOAD will only be accepted by the court if all AEICs and expert reports have been duly exchanged.
    • (For District Court and Magistrate's Court cases) All parties have to complete and file the Checklist for Pre-Assessment of Damages ADR Conferences (Form 9L, State Courts Practice Directions) as a supporting document to the NOAD.
    • You should serve the NOAD on the party the judgment was made against (the defendant) within 7 days from the date the NOAD is filed.
  • Make other necessary or appropriate orders.

Pre-assessment of damages conference

In general, the court will arrange for the parties to attend pre-assessment of damages conferences after the NOAD is filed.

There are 3 types of pre-assessment of damages conferences parties may attend, depending on the nature of the case.

Type of pre-assessment of damages conference

Cases which it applies to

Assessment of Damages Court Dispute Resolution Conference (ADCDR)

  • All personal injury cases (excluding medical negligence cases) filed in the Magistrate's Court or District Court.
  • Non-injury motor accident (NIMA) matters, where the amount claimed by the plaintiff is below $250,000.

Assessment of Damages Case Management Conference (AD-CMC)

All other civil matters filed in the Magistrate's Court.

Assessment of Damages Pre-Trial Conferences (AD-PTC)

  • All other civil matters filed in or transferred to the District Court.
  • All other civil matters filed in the General Division of the High Court.
  • Personal injury (including motor accident or personal injury motor accident cases) and NIMA cases, where the amount claimed by a plaintiff is above the sum of $250,000.

At the pre-assessment of damages conference, the court may schedule a date for the matter to be heard at an assessment of damages hearing.

Note
Pre-assessment of damages conferences are conducted asynchronously for District Court and Magistrate's Court cases.

Refer to State Courts Registrar's Circular 13 of 2020 to find out more information about what to expect for hearings in the State Courts.

Assessment of damages hearing

Parties will present evidence at the assessment of damages hearing to assist the court in determining the appropriate quantum of damages to be awarded.

Example
Examples of evidence that may be presented during the hearing include testimony from the injured party or medical reports from the injured party's expert witness.

The assessment of damages hearing will generally follow a similar order of proceedings as a civil trial. After each party has presented the party's case, the court may order the defendant to pay the plaintiff the amount of damages that the court has decided to award the plaintiff.

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

Legislation associated with this topic includes Order 37 of the Rules of Court.
Refer to:

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