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This page is for matters that the Rules of Court 2021 apply to. For content relating to matters that the Rules of Court 2014 apply, click here.

If you are uncertain as to which version of the Rules of Court applies to your matter, click here.

Note
This page describes the simplified civil process for cases begun by an originating claim (OC) 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 Respond to a civil claim made by an originating claim instead if either of the following applies to your case:

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

Before you respond

Before you respond to an OC, make sure you:

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 all documents via eLitigation at the CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

You must follow the Rules of Court 2021 and the State Courts Practice Directions 2021 to prepare your documents before heading down personally to do the filing.

Ways to respond

You can respond to an OC in the following ways.

The party who filed the claim against you is the claimant.

You are the defendant.

Note

It is important to respond to an OC.

Refusing to acknowledge service of an OC by the claimant does not make the service of the OC on you invalid. It also does not prevent the claimant from proceeding further with the case against you.

If you do not wish to contest the claim, you may contact the claimant or their lawyer immediately to try and negotiate a settlement.

This will minimise the legal costs you will have to pay in comparison to if you contest the claim.

Alternatively, you may serve on the claimant a letter of offer prepared in accordance with Form 4 of Annex A1 of the State Courts Practice Directions 2021. You should not file an Offer to Settle in court.

If you wish to contest the claim (also known as to defend a claim), you must:

  • File and serve a copy of a notice of intention to contest or not contest on the claimant or their lawyers (if any) within 14 days after the statement of claim is served on you if served in Singapore, or within 21 days if served outside of Singapore. 
    • File and serve a pleading called a defence on the claimant 21 days after the statement of claim is served on you in Singapore, or within 5 weeks if served outside Singapore.
      • You may also make a counterclaim in the same action if you think you have a claim against the claimant. In this case, you should be filing a pleading known as the defence and counterclaim.
      • For cases where the simplified civil process applies, when you file and serve a pleading on the other party, you must also file and serve a list of documents prepared in accordance with Form 1 of Annex A1 of the State Courts Practice Directions 2021.
      • A list of documents sets out the documents that a party has in their possession or control which fall within one or more of the following categories: 
        • all documents that the party in question will be relying on;
        • all known adverse documents; and 
        • applicable documents that fall within a broader scope of discovery as agreed between the parties or ordered by the Court.

    If you choose not to respond

    It is important to respond to a OC if you wish to contest the claim. The claimant may file a request or seek permission of the court to enter a default judgement against you if you do not:

    • File and serve a copy of the notice of intention to contest or not contest within the time limit.
    • File and serve a copy of your defence (or defence and counterclaim) within the time limit.

    Estimated fees

    Refer to the following to find out the fees to file the documents. You may also refer to Fourth Schedule of the Rules of Court for the full list of court fees.

    Third-party proceedings

    You may apply to the court to add a person as a third party to a civil action after you have filed the notice of intention to contest or not contest if any of the following apply:

    • You claim that the person who is not already a party to the action should be made to compensate you or contribute towards the claimant’s claim.
    • You claim that the person who is not already a party to the action is related to or connected with the original subject-matter of the action and should be made to contribute to the relief or remedy claimed by the claimant.
    • You require that any question or issue relating to or connected with the original subject-matter of the action should be determined together with the claimant and the person not already a party to the action.

    This is known as a third-party proceeding. In third-party proceedings, you will be known as the claimant and the third party will be known as the defendant.

    Apply for permission of court

    You will need to apply for permission of court before issuing a notice on the third party (third party notice).

    Note
    You do not need to apply for leave if the action was begun by an OC and you issue the third party notice before serving your defence on the claimant.

    The leave of court must be made by summons without notice prepared in accordance with Form 22 of Appendix A2 of the State Courts Practice Directions 2021, supported by an affidavit stating:

    • The nature of the claim made by the original claimant in the action.
    • The stage which proceedings in the action have reached.
    • The nature of your claim or particulars of the question or issue required to be determined and the facts on which your proposed third party notice is based.
    • The name and address of the person to be issued the third party notice.

    If the court grants leave, you can then issue a third party notice prepared in accordance with Form 20 of Appendix A2 of the State Courts Practice Directions 2021 or Form 21 of Appendix A2 of the State Courts Practice Directions 2021

    Note
    The order granting leave to issue a third party notice may contain directions as to the period by which you must issue the notice.

    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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    Alert-2 Note

    This page is for matters that the Rules of Court 2021 apply to. For content relating to matters that the Rules of Court 2014 apply, click here.

    If you are uncertain as to which version of the Rules of Court applies to your matter, click here.

    Go to Step-by-step guide

    Step-by-step guide

    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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