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1.What are the types of civil claims I can make?
2.How can I file a civil claim?
3.Do I need legal representation?
4.What can I do if I cannot afford a lawyer?
5.Where are civil cases heard?
6.Are there ways of resolving the matter without going to trial?
7.What must I do before I attend court?
8.What can I do if I cannot speak English?
9.What happens during the trial?
10.Can I appeal if I am unhappy with the decision of the court?
11.How is the judgment executed?





1.What are the types of civil claims I can make?

The nature and amount of your claim will determine which Court you should file your claim with. In the State Courts, there are 3 Courts that hear civil matters.

District Court
Any claim for which the amount in dispute does not exceed $250,000.

Magistrates' Court
Any claim for which the amount in dispute does not exceed $60,000.

Small Claims Tribunals
Any claim not exceeding $10,000 (or up to $20,000 where both parties to the dispute agree) which arises from a dispute regarding a contract for the sale of goods or the provision of services or in tort, where there is damage caused to any property, except damage sustained in an accident arising out of or in connection with the use of a motor vehicle.




2.How can I file a civil claim?

You may file a claim by issuing a Writ of Summons or Originating Summons in the District Court and Magistrates' Court.This has to be done electronically from a lawyer's office, or from the CrimsonLogic Service Bureau situated at 19th floor, Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road, Singapore 059413.

Civil legal proceedings in the District Court and Magistrates' Court are governed by the Rules of Court. Note that non-compliance with these Rules may result in your claim being dismissed.




3.Do I need legal representation?

The Court recognises the right of a person to act for himself or herself. However, by acting for yourself, it means that you take upon yourself the same responsibilities as a lawyer would in acting for you.

You may wish to know that there are numerous documents to be filed in Court before your case can proceed to trial. As there are no standard printed forms available, the Court documents would have to be drafted and submitted by you.

Officers of the Court are not permitted by law to give legal advice. Therefore they cannot prepare your documents or help you prepare your case for trial.




4.What can I do if I cannot afford a lawyer?

If you cannot afford the services of a lawyer, you may apply for assistance from:

Legal Aid Bureau
45 Maxwell Road #08-12
The URA Centre, East Wing
Singapore 069118
Tel: 1800-3251424

However, you will have to go through a means test to determine whether you qualify for such assistance.




5.Where are civil cases heard?

Hearings on preliminary issues before the trial are held at the Civil Registry of the State Courts. Civil trials for District Courts and Magistrates' Courts cases are conducted at the State Courts Complex in Havelock Square.




6.Are there ways of resolving the matter without going to trial?

The Primary Dispute Resolution Centre located at the State Courts Complex at Havelock Square provides a forum for litigants to explore various options with a view to resolving their disputes without going to trial. For all civil cases that commence in the State Courts, Court Dispute Resolution (CDR) will be available as an option at no cost to litigants.




Please click here to read more about CDR.



7.What must I do before I attend Court?

You should check the date, time and the Court designated for your case on the summons or notice. Made sure that you come early so that you can find your way to the right Court on time. If you are late or absent, an order may be made against you e.g. your claim may be dismissed or judgment may be entered against you.

You should inform the Court Officers of your arrival, and inform him or her that your case is fixed in that Court. Your lawyer can assist you in this matter. If the courtroom is locked, please check with the Information Counter.




8.What can I do if I cannot speak English?

Interpreters are available to assist you. Just inform the Court staff that you need the assistance of an interpreter. The Court provides interpretation of the following languages and dialects: Malay, Tamil, Malayalam, Punjabi, Hindustani, Urdu, Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka, Hainanese and Hockchew.

If you require interpretation in other languages, you must inform the Court in advance ]so that the necessary arrangements can be made.




9.What happens during the trial?

The Plaintiff or his Counsel will present the plaintiff's case first. Witnesses may be called and evidence is produced. The Defendant or his Counsel may ask questions of the witnesses.

The Defendant or his Counsel will then present the defendant's case. Similarly, witnesses may be called and evidence is produced. The Plaintiff or his Counsel may ask questions of the witnesses.

After hearing both sides, the District Judge or Magistrate will then make a decision on the claim or dispute.

Litigants who wish to conduct trials in person can refer to this link: Conducting a Civil Trial in Person.




10.Can I appeal if I am unhappy with the decision of the Court?

If you are not satisfied with the decision, you may make an appeal to the High Court by filing a Notice of Appeal at the Appeals Section of the Civil Registry at the ground level of the State Courts at Havelock Square. In certain circumstances, leave (permission) to appeal must be sought from the Court.




11.How is the judgment executed?

If judgment is given against the Defendant, he or she must satisfy the Judgment. If he or she does not, there are various methods by which the judgment may be executed. A common method is by way of a writ of seizure and sale. Application for the execution of judgment is governed by the Rules of Court.



Last updated on: 19/10/2015 2:49 PM

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