Before filing a claim, you should:

Check if the respondent is bankrupt or insolvent.

Bankruptcy and insolvency searches may be made online at mlaw.gov.sg/eservices/io or CrimsonLogic. If either you or the respondent are bankrupt or insolvent, you may wish to seek legal advice on your available courses of action.

Check if your claim is within the jurisdiction of the Tribunals.

The Small Claims Tribunals Act (Cap. 308) only allows the Tribunals to hear specific types of cases as set out at Table 1 below. The Tribunals must discontinue any claim that it has no power to hear.

If you have filed a claim that is outside the Tribunal's jurisdiction, the Tribunals may discontinue your claim either at the Consultation stage or at the Hearing stage, and the filing fees paid are not refundable.

Do not worry if your claim is discontinued. It does not mean that you have 'lost' your case. A Discontinuance Order is not based on how strong or weak your claim is. In most cases, you can still sue your opponent in the civil courts.

Table 1: Jurisdiction of the Tribunals ​

Monetary Limit

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The Tribunals can hear claims not exceeding $10,000. This limit can be raised to $20,000 if both parties agree to it and file a Memorandum of Consent. A claim cannot be split or divided to bring it within the Tribunals' jurisdiction.  

Time Limit

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All claims must be filed within 1 year from the date on which the cause of action accrued, that is, the day the facts arose to give rise to a right to sue.

For example, if a cause of action accrued on 5 January 2016, the last day to file the claim would be on 4 January 2017 

Categories

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The types of claims that the Tribunals can hear are disputes relating to:

  • A contract for the sale of goods. This includes claims arising from a contract in which goods are sold and bought in exchange for money. Example: Purchase of a TV.
  • A contract for the provision of services. This includes claims arising from written or oral agreements for the provision of services involving skill and/or labour in exchange for money. 
  • A tort for damage caused to property. This includes claims for losses or expenses incurred by owners of property as a result of careless, reckless or improper acts by others. The SCT does not hear claims for damage to property arising from the use of a motor vehicle.
  • Refund of motor vehicle deposits under the Consumer Fair Trading (Motor Vehicle Dealer Deposits) Regulations 2009.
  • A contract relating to a lease of residential premises not exceeding 2 years. This excludes:
    • Lease of industrial or commercial premises;
    • License of any premises for any period of time;
    • Claims for possession of the premises;
    • Claims for reinstatement of orders; delivery orders, declaration of rights, reliefs against forfeiture.
Please refer to the Small Claims Tribunals Act (Cap 308) for a full list of what the Tribunals can hear.

Take the pre-filing assessment!

You may wish to take an online pre-filing assessment here to assess if your claim is within the jurisdiction of the Tribunals. Please note that the test is not conclusive and not meant to be a substitute for legal advice. Please consult a lawyer if you are uncertain of whether your claim can be heard by the Tribunals.

Note: Please note that the pre-fling assessment ID obtained after completing the pre-filing questions is required before you can proceed to file your claims in CJTS.

Last updated on: 7/7/2017 7:11 PM

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