How to respond to a Writ of Summons (simplified civil process)
Find out the different ways you can respond to a Writ of Summons served on you if the simplified civil process applies to your case.
This page is for matters that the Rules of Court 2014 apply to. For content relating to matters that the Rules of Court 2021 apply, click here.
If you are uncertain as to which version of the Rules of Court applies to your matter, click here.
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.
The party who filed the claim against you is the plaintiff.
You are the defendant.
It is important to respond to a Writ.
Refusing to acknowledge service of a Writ by the plaintiff does not make the service of the Writ on you invalid. It also does not prevent the plaintiff from proceeding further with the case against you.
If you do not wish to contest the claim, you may contact the plaintiff 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 plaintiff an Offer to Settle prepared in accordance with Form 33 of the Rules of Court. 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 send the plaintiff or their lawyers (if any) a Memorandum of Appearance (MOA) in accordance with Form 10 of the Rules of Court within 8 days of service of the Writ (if you are located in Singapore), or within 21 days of service of the Writ (if you are located outside of Singapore).
The filing of the MOA is also known as entering an appearance.
File and serve a pleading called a defence on the plaintiff within 14 days of the time limited for an appearance.
If you have a claim against the plaintiff, you should file and serve a defence and counterclaim instead.
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 234 of the Rules of Court.
A list of documents sets out the documents that a party has in their control, possession or power which are relevant to the case. Examples may include (but not limited to) contracts, loan agreements or letters exchanged between the parties before the dispute arose.
You may also make a counterclaim in the same action if think you have a claim against the plaintiff. In this case, you should be filing a pleading known as the defence and counterclaim.
If you choose not to respond
It is important to respond to a Writ if you wish to contest the claim. The plaintiff may file a request or seek leave (permission) of the court to enter a default judgement against you if you do not:
File and send a copy of the MOA within the time limit.
File and serve a copy of your defence (or defence and counterclaim) within the time limited for an appearance.
You may apply to the court to add a person as a third party to a civil action after you have filed the MOA if any of the following applies:
You claim that the person who is not already a party to the action should be made to compensate you or contribute towards the plaintiff’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 plaintiff.
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 plaintiff 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 plaintiff and the third party will be known as the defendant.
Apply for leave of court
You will need to apply for leave (permission) of court before issuing a notice on the third party (third party notice).
You do not need to apply for leave if the action was begun by a Writ and you issue the third party notice before serving your defence on the plaintiff.
The leave of court must be made by ex parte summons prepared in accordance with Form 18 of the Rules of Court, supported by an affidavit stating:
The nature of the claim made by the original plaintiff 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.