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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.

Receiving an originating application (OA)

If you have received a claim document called an originating application (OA), it means that a party (the claimant) has started a civil claim against you (the defendant).

You should also read the OA to find out:

  • The details of the claimant.
  • The lawyers representing the claimant (if applicable).
  • The prayers they are seeking.
  • The date and time you will have to attend the OA hearing.
  • The type of hearing.

 

If the parties wish to adduce evidence

An OA filed by a claimant must be supported by affidavit. Where a defendant wishes to introduce evidence in an OA, the defendant must file and serve the defendant’s affidavit within 21 days after the OA and supporting affidavit is served if service is in Singapore and within 5 weeks if service is effected out of Singapore.

If the defendant is challenging the jurisdiction of the Court, the defendant need not file and serve the defendant’s affidavit on the merits but must file and serve the defendant’s affidavit stating the ground on which the defendant is challenging the jurisdiction of the Court.

If a defendant does not file and serve the defendant's affidavit within the timelines, the Court will proceed on the basis that the defendant does not wish to introduce evidence and will hear the OA based on the plaintiff's affidavit and the parties' submissions.

Except in a special case, no further affidavits may be filed after the defendant’s affidavit on the merits.

Ways to respond

You can respond to an OA in the following ways.

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

If wish to contest the claim, you will have to file and serve an affidavit on the plaintiff within 21 days after the originating application and supporting affidavit is served if service is in Singapore and within 5 weeks if service is effected out of Singapore.

You should also attend the OA hearing at the time and on the date stated in the OA, if applicable. If you do not attend, the court may make a judgment against you in your absence (also known as a default order).

If you have any claim or are entitled to any relief or remedy against the claimant in respect to the OA, you may inform the court of your intention during the OA hearing and the court will give directions for the further conduct of the matter.

After hearing the arguments from the parties or their lawyers (if any) and assessing the affidavits filed either in support of or in opposition to the OA, the court may then make any of the following orders:

  • Make an order in your favour.
  • Make an order to dismiss the matter.
  • Adjourn the hearing to a later date.
  • Ask for further evidence to be filed or for witnesses to be cross-examined.
  • Make an order for the matter to proceed to trial.
  • Make an order for the proceedings to continue as if the case was begun by an originating claim (OC).
    • The court may decide to convert an OA into an OC if there is a substantial dispute of fact in the claim. If the OA is converted into an OC, the steps relating to an OC will apply.

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 include:

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Related questions

Either the claimant or defendant can file an application via eLitigation to convert an OA into an OC at any stage of proceedings.

Once the decision to convert has been made, the steps relating to an  OC apply.

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.


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