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Receiving an Originating Summons (OS)

If you have received a claim document called an Originating Summons (OS), it means that a party (the plaintiff) has started a civil claim against you (the defendant).

You should also read the OS to find out:

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

If the plaintiff wishes to adduce evidence

If the plaintiff intends to adduce (offer) evidence in support of the OS they have filed, they will file an affidavit and serve a copy on you within 7 days after the service of the OS.

You may also choose to adduce evidence with reference to the OS. You can do so by following these steps:

  1. File an affidavit via eLitigation at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.
  2. Serve a copy of the affidavit on the plaintiff within 21 days from the date you are served the plaintiff's affidavits.

Find out how to prepare an affidavit.

Ways to respond

You can respond to an OS in the following ways.

If you do not wish to contest the claim, you may contact the plaintiff 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 being served a copy of the affidavit by the plaintiff.

You should also attend the OS hearing at the time and on the date stated in the OS, 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 plaintiff in respect to the OS, you may inform the court of your intention during the OS 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 OS, 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 a Writ of Summons (Writ).
    • The court may decide to convert an OS into a Writ if there is a substantial dispute of fact in the claim. If the OS is converted into a Writ, the steps relating to a Writ 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


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Related questions

Either the plaintiff or defendant can file an application via eLitigation to convert an OS into a Writ at any stage of proceedings.

Once the decision to convert has been made, the steps relating to a Writ apply.

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