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Note
This page describes the simplified civil process for cases begun by a Writ of Summons (Writ) 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 Start a civil claim by Writ of Summons instead if either of the following applies to your case:

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

Before you file

Before you file a Writ, make sure you understand the simplified civil process.

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

The other party is the defendant.

Key facts

Refer to the following to find out how to file and serve a Writ.

When to file

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

When to serve

  • (If the Writ is served on a defendant in Singapore) As soon as possible, and in any event, no later than 6 months from the date the Writ is issued.
  • (If the Writ is served on a defendant outside of Singapore) As soon as possible, and in any event, no later than 12 months from the date the Writ 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 a Writ. You may also refer to Appendix B of the Rules of Court for 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

$100

File a statement of claim

$10

File a list of documents

$10

Serving a Writ on the defendant

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

File a list of documents

$10

Serving a Writ 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 Writ through eLitigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

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

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

Step

Result

1. File your Writ

Your Writ is accepted or rejected by the respective court.

2. Collect the approved Writ

You will receive a copy of the sealed Writ via eLitigation

3. Serve Writ on the defendant

The defendant is notified of your claim

You will have to file your Writ via eLitigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau. Your Writ 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 approves your Writ, 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 Writ from the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau and arrange for it to be served on the defendant.

After the sealed Writ has been issued by the court, it has to be served personally on the defendant as soon as possible, no later than 6 months from the date the Writ is issued if the defendant is located in Singapore.

If the defendant is located outside of Singapore (out of jurisdiction), the sealed Writ has to be served on the defendant as soon as possible, no later than 12 months from the date of issue. Refer to How to serve court documents to find out the process of serving documents out of jurisdiction.

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

If you do not serve the Writ within the prescribed time periods, you will have to apply to renew the Writ. If successful, the court may renew the Writ for up to 6 months or 12 months where leave is required to serve the writ out of jurisdiction.

Who can serve

In general, if you are representing yourself, you cannot serve the Writ on the defendant on your own.

Only the following persons may provide personal service of the Writ:

  • A lawyer or a lawyer’s clerk whose name and particulars have been notified to the court to serve the Writ.
  • 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 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.

If personal service is unsuccessful

You may apply for substituted service if 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 prepared in accordance with Form 137 of the Rules of Court.

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 your proposed mode of substituted service will be effective in bringing the Writ to the notice of the defendant.

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

  • Posting it on the 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 electronic mail or internet transmission.

After the Writ is served

The defendant may choose to settle or contest your claim after the Writ 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 to Settle by the defendant. If you agree to the terms in the Offer to Settle, you may file and serve an Acceptance of Offer in accordance with Form 35 of the Rules of Court on the defendant.

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

  • File and send a copy of a memorandum of appearance (MOA) to you within 8 days of service of the Writ (if the defendant is located in Singapore), or within 21 days of service of the Writ (if the defendant is located outside of Singapore).
    • The filing of an MOA is also known as entering an appearance.
  • File and serve a copy of their defence on you within 14 days of the time limited for an appearance.
    • 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

Refer to the Guide to Common Civil Justice Processes (PDF, 1476 KB).
Refer to:
Go to Step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide

File a request for a default judgment, if needed

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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