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A Magistrate’s Complaint is filed by a person who wishes to commence Private Prosecution. Private Prosecution is the pursuit of criminal legal proceedings by a private individual, who believes that an offence has been committed against him.
Once a Magistrate’s Complaint has been filed, the person filing the Magistrate’s Complaint is referred to as the Complainant. The person against whom the Magistrate’s Complaint is filed is referred to as the Respondent.
Private Prosecution is generally only applicable to criminal offences which are punishable with a maximum imprisonment term of up to three years and/or a fine.
If your case falls under the following list (which is not exhaustive), it may not be accepted for filing as it is not one which the Private Prosecution process can deal with:
The Court is unable to advise you on the suitability of your case. However, you can consider taking the online Pre-Filing Assessment, which can guide you on the general eligibility requirements as well as the types of offences covered and types of remedies offered. The Pre-Filing Assessment can be accessed here.
You must file a Magistrate's Complaint in person (or, if you are a minor, through your parent or guardian) in the State Courts using the Magistrate's Complaint Form. For more instructions on how to file a Magistrate's Complaint, please refer to this page.
Once your Complaint has been filed, you will be brought before a Chambers Magistrate to be examined on oath. The purpose of the examination is to allow the Magistrate to make an informed decision as to whether the Complaint is a meritorious one.
During the examination, the Chambers Magistrate may ask you to relate what has happened. The Magistrate may also ask you some questions to clarify his understanding of the incident. Where necessary, the Magistrate may also direct you to furnish other documents or evidence to support your Complaint.
Upon the conclusion of the examination, the Chambers Magistrate will then make a decision and give his orders.
The Chambers Magistrate has the discretion to make any of these orders:
Please note that while your preferences may be taken into account, the Chambers Magistrate retains the discretion to make any of the orders above as he deems fit.
The Complaint will be closed if any of the following happens:
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