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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 process for civil cases begun by a originating claim (OC) and heard in the District Court or the General Division of the High Court.

Refer to Start a civil claim by originating claim (simplified civil process) instead if either of the following applies to your case:

  • Civil cases begun by a OC and heard in the Magistrate's Court.
  • Civil cases begun by a OC and heard in the District Court where all parties consent to the application of the simplified civil process.

Before you file

Before you file an OC, make sure you understand the civil process begun by a a originating claim.

If you are filing a claim against another party, you are the claimant.

The other party is the defendant.

Key facts

Refer to the following to find out how to file and serve an OC.

When to file

Within the time limits prescribed by law, depending on your civil action.

When to serve

  • As soon as possible, and in any event, no later than 3 months from the date the OC is issued.

How to file

Through eLitigation.

What you will need

You should prepare the following before you file:

Estimated fees

Refer to the following to find out the possible fees for filing and serving an OC. You may also refer to the Fourth Schedule of the Rules of Court 2021for the full list of court fees.

In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

File an originating process and pleadings containing a claim or cause of action

$150

File a statement of claim

$20

Serving an OC on the defendant

Refer to the following for the filing fees if your claim is up to $1 million. In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

File an originating process and pleadings containing a claim or cause of action

$500

File a statement of claim

$200

Serving an OC on the defendant

Refer to the following for the filing fees if your claim is more than $1 million. In addition to the fees listed in the table, there are also other fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Item or service

Fees

File an originating process and pleadings containing a claim or cause of action

$1,000

File a statement of claim

$500

Serving an OC on the defendant

How to file and serve

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 through eLitigation at the LawNet and CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

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

Refer to the following for the steps to file and serve your OC.

Step

Result

1. File your OC

Your OC is accepted or rejected by the respective court.

2. Collect the approved OC

You will receive a copy of the sealed OC via eLitigation.

3. Serve OC on the defendant

The defendant is notified of your claim.

You will have to file your OC via eLitigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau. Your OC will then be submitted to the respective court for review.

The LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau will notify you via email or SMS of the outcome of your submission.

If the court accepts your OC, a copy of the approved Writ containing the respective court's seal and registrar's signature will be issued via eLitigation.

You will have to collect the approved OC from the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau and arrange for it to be served on the defendant.

After the sealed OC has been issued by the court, it has to be served personally on the defendant as soon as possible, no later than 3 months from the date the OC is issued.

Reasonable steps must be taken to serve the OC expeditiously. Where the OC is to be served in Singapore, reasonable steps to serve the defendant should be taken within 14 days after the OC is issued. Where the OC is to be served outside of Singapore (out of jurisdiction), reasonable steps should be taken within 28 days. Refer to How to serve court documents to find out the process of serving documents outside of Singapore (out of jurisdiction).

Note
In general, personal service of a document means that a sealed copy of the OC is personally delivered to the defendant. If the defendant is a body corporate, the OC should be delivered to their registered address.

If you do not serve the OC within the prescribed time periods, you will have to apply to renew the OC. If successful, the court may renew the OC for up to 3 months. An OC can only be renewed twice, except in a special case.

Who can serve

Personal service may be effected by a litigant who is not represented by a lawyer or by such a litigant's employee.

The following persons may also provide personal service of the originating claim:

  • A lawyer or a lawyer’s employee whose name and particulars have been notified to the court.
  • A process server of the court.
    • You will have to fill up a form and pay the necessary fees at the State Courts Central Registry (for District Court cases) or the Legal Registry of the Supreme Court (for General Division of the High Court cases) before making an appointment for the court process server to serve your documents.
    • You will have to arrange for transport and pay the required transport charges (if applicable) for the process server of the court on the appointed date of service.
    • Any other person that the Registrar may allow in a particular case or generally.

If personal service is unsuccessful

You may apply for substituted service if at least 2 reasonable attempts at personal service have been unsuccessful. Substituted service is subject to the court's approval.

Your application must be made by a summons supported by an affidavit.

In your affidavit, you should include:

  • Your proposed mode of substituted service.
  • The reasons why it is impracticable to effect personal service.
  • The reasons why you believe attempts at personal service made were reasonable.
  • The reasons why you believe your proposed mode of substituted service will be effective in bringing the OC to the notice of the defendant.

Modes of substituted service of the OC include (but are not limited to):

  • Posting it on the front door or gate of the defendant’s home or place of business.
  • Sending it by registered mail to the defendant's last known residential or registered address.
  • Sending it by email or internet transmission.

After the OC is served

The defendant may choose to settle or contest your claim after the OC has been served on them.

If the defendant wishes to settle the claim, they may contact you or your lawyer directly.

Alternatively, you may be served an offer of amicable resolution, such as an offer to settle by the defendant.

If the defendant wishes to contest your claim, the defendant will:

  • File and send a copy of a notice of intention to contest or not contest to you within 14 days after the statement of claim is served on the defendant (if the defendant was served the OC in Singapore), or within 21 days after the statement of claim is served on the defendant (if the defendant was served the OC outside of Singapore).
  • File and serve a copy of their defence on you within 21 days after the statement of claim is served where the defendant was served in Singapore, or within 5 weeks after the statement of claim is served where the defendant was served outside Singapore.
    • If the defendant has a claim against you, the defendant may file and serve a copy of their defence and counterclaim instead.

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:

Refer to:

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

2022/04/05

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