Receiving a Writ of Summons (Writ)
If you have received a claim document called a Writ of Summons (Writ), it means that a party (the plaintiff) has started a civil claim against you (the defendant).
A Writ is a formal document addressed to you, requiring you to attend court if you wish to dispute the plaintiff's claims.
You should also read the Writ to find out:
- Details of the plaintiff.
- The lawyers representing the plaintiff (if any).
- The options you can take to respond to the Writ.
- The time limit you have to respond to the Writ.
- The nature of the plaintiff's claim and relief or remedy they are seeking.
About the simplified civil process
The courts introduced the simplified civil process to facilitate the fair, quick and inexpensive resolution of disputes for certain cases.
It applies to:
- All civil cases heard in the Magistrate's Court begun by a Writ.
- The Magistrate's Court hears civil cases where the claim amount does not exceed $60,000.
- Civil cases heard in the District Court begun by a Writ if all parties consent to it.
- Parties have to file their consent according to Form 233 of the Rules of Court via eLitigation for the simplified civil process to apply.
- In general, the District Court hears civil cases where the value of the claim is between $60,000 and $250,000, or up to $500,000 for road traffic accident claims or claims for personal injuries arising out of industrial accidents.
- The District Court can also hear cases where the plaintiff limits their claim to $250,000.
Respond to a civil claim (simplified civil process) step-by-step
Refer to the following to find out about the simplified civil process and its key features.
Respond to a Writ
Understand the possible ways you can respond to a Writ.
Attend court for pre-trial matters
Depending on the nature of your case, if you wish to contest the plaintiff's claim and file a defence, the court may notify the plaintiff and you to attend a case management conference (CMC).
Attend court for trial
Most cases in the simplified civil process will proceed to simplified trials if parties are unable to resolve their dispute at the CMC.
Attend court for post-trial matters
The court will decide the amount of costs and disbursements as may be payable between parties after court proceedings (including appeals) conclude.
Key features of the simplified civil process include:
During a simplified trial, the court may allocate strict time limits for parties to present their case.
- Discovery and inspection of documents.
- At discovery, parties are expected to reveal to each other documentary evidence that is relevant to the issues in the case. The court will manage these aspects of a case at the CMC along with other interlocutory matters.
- Interrogatories are formal questions posed by one party which the other party must answer under oath. The court will manage these aspects of a case at the CMC along with other interlocutory matters.
- Summary judgment and disposal of case on point of law.