Before filing a claim, you should:
Confirm that the respondent is not 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 will 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.
If your claim is discontinued, it means that the Tribunals have no jurisdiction to hear your claim and the merits of your case have not been decided. You may still pursue the matter in the civil courts.
Table 1: Jurisdiction of the Tribunals
|The Tribunals can hear claims not exceeding $20,000. This limit can be raised to $30,000 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. |
All claims must be filed within 2 years 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 15 November 2018, the last day to file the claim would be on 15 November 2020, 2 years after 15 November 2018 (not including 15 November 2018 itself).
Note: Prior to the amendments to the Small Claims Tribunals Act, the limitation period was one year from the date on which the cause of action has accrued.
The amendments do not apply to claims that would have expired under the old Act. This means that only causes of action that accrued on or after 1 November 2018 would benefit from the extended limitation period of 2 years.
The types of claims that the Tribunals can hear are claims 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. This does not include claims for damage to property caused by an accident arising from or in connection with the use of a motor vehicle.
- A hire purchase agreement which relates to an unfair practice as defined under section 4 and the Second Schedule of the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.
- 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; or
- License of any premises for any period of time.
|Please refer to the Small Claims Tribunals Act (Cap 308) and the Small Claims Tribunals Rules 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 as to whether your claim can be heard by the Tribunals.
Note: Please note that the pre-filing assessment ID obtained after completing the pre-filing questions is required before you can proceed to file your claims in CJTS.