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On the day of seizure

If you are the party who applied for a Writ of Seizure and Sale (WSS) (the execution creditor) against another party (the execution debtor), you will be informed of the date and time on which the WSS will be executed by an appointment letter from the Sheriff’s Office or Bailiffs Section.

On the day of seizure, you must:

  • (For General Division of the High Court cases) Be present at the Supreme Court building on the day and time stated in the appointment letter.
  • (For District Court, Magistrate's Court and tribunals cases) Be present at the State Courts building on the day and time stated in the appointment letter.
  • Be punctual for the appointment.
    • If you are late, your appointment may be cancelled without further notice.
  • (If requested by the Sheriff or the bailiff) Provide transport to the place of execution and back to their office or to their next destination.
Note

If you are unable to attend, you may authorise a representative to attend on your behalf.

If you wish to change the appointment date, you will have to apply for a new date by filing a Request for Date to be Appointed for Execution (Form 89, Rules of Court) at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau and pay the required fees where applicable.

In general, requests for change of date of seizure are generally not allowed unless you have valid reasons.

What you will need

You will need to bring along the following documents on the day of seizure:

  • The appointment letter.
  • The official receipt to confirm that you have paid the deposit as requested by the bailiff.
  • The letter of authorisation and indemnity duly signed by you.
    • A sample of the letter of authorisation and indemnity will be provided together with the appointment letter.
    • If you are authorising a representative to attend on your behalf, your representative must bring along the letter of authorisation and indemnity signed by you.
    • If you are representing a business entity, your letter of authorisation should bear your firm's or company's stamp.

You will have to hand the documents over to the Sheriff or bailiff assigned to your case (as indicated in the appointment letter).

What to expect

Depending on the circumstances, the execution of the WSS may or may not be successful at the first attempt.

If the premises are accessible, the bailiff will enter the execution debtor's premises, document the assets or property that you (or your representative) have identified to be seized and mark them accordingly.

After a successful seizure, the bailiff may serve the following documents on the execution debtor:

  • A Notice of Seizure (Form 90, Rules of Court).
  • An inventory of the assets or property seized.
  • A notice not to remove or tamper with the seized items.
    • In most cases, the bailiff will not require you to arrange for the seized items to be removed from the premises.

These documents may be:

  • Handed to the execution debtor personally.
  • Sent to the execution debtor by post to their place of residence.
  • Left at or sent by post addressed to the execution debtor at the place from which the assets or property were seized.
Refer to the following for the execution process for the respective courts:

For District Court, Magistrate's Court and tribunals cases

For District Court, Magistrate's Court and tribunals cases, the execution is deemed unsuccessful if the premises are not accessible or if the execution debtor refuses or resists the execution of the WSS. In general, the bailiff will not exercise their power of forced entry onto the premises on the first attempt at execution.

If execution of the WSS was not successful on the first attempt and if you wish to request for another appointment to execute the WSS, you will have to apply for a fresh date by filing the Request for Date to be Appointed for Execution (Form 89, Rules of Court) and pay the required fees where applicable for a new appointment date to be issued.

The bailiff may exercise their powers of forced entry onto the premises on the second or subsequent attempts. In practice, forced entry is only conducted with the assistance of a professional locksmith.

For High Court (General Division) cases

For General Division of the High Court cases, the Sheriff or the bailiff may exercise their power of forced entry onto the premises on the first attempt at execution. A locksmith may be engaged to enter the premises.

The Sheriff or the bailiff has absolute discretion whether to exercise their power of forced entry depending on the circumstances of the execution.

If necessary, you will be required to engage the services of a locksmith on your own and at your own cost.

Items which cannot be seized

The Sheriff or the bailiff will not be able to seize the following items by law:

  • Clothing and bedding of the execution debtor or their family, where the value of such items does not exceed $1,000.
  • Tools of trade that will be necessary for the execution debtor to earn their living, where the value of such items does not exceed $1,000.
  • Wages and salary of the execution debtor.
  • Pensions, gratuity or allowance granted by the Government.

After a successful seizure

The execution debtor is given 7 days to settle all sums owed to you. If you do not receive any payment on the outstanding judgment debt after the seizure, and if you wish to proceed with an auction sale of the seized items, you will have to apply by filing the Request to Proceed with Auction and pay the required fees, where applicable.

In some situations, another party (the claimant) may claim that the seized items belong to them and not the execution debtor. The claimant may then file a claim and if you dispute the claim to ownership by the claimant, you will have to file an Interpleader Summons at your own cost.

You and the claimant will have to attend court for an Interpleader Summons hearing where the court will determine who is the rightful owner of the property. The claimant must prove that they are the rightful owner failing which the court may order the auction sale to proceed.

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:
For State Courts: the Writ of Seizure and Sale video.
Legislation associated with this topic include Order 45 to 47 of the Rules of Court.
Refer to:

Related questions

Yes, the Sheriff or bailiff is empowered to break any door or window to enter a property while enforcing their duties.
Go to Step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide

File a Writ of Seizure and Sale

Be present on the day of seizure

Auction sale of the judgment debtor's items

2021/07/23

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