CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE IN SINGAPORE
This article will provide guidance on the Code of Civil Procedure in Singapore. In accordance with the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1969, the Rules of Court 2021 serve as the basic body of rules governing the civil process in Singapore (for claims from 1st April 2022). In addition to developing case law, the Singaporean courts have issued practice instructions for civil proceedings.
Working with a private Singapore process service agency like Undisputed Legal may greatly help when serving legal documents in Singapore. There are stringent rules and regulations in place for service in Singapore, and having an experienced process server who is familiar with these rules can help ensure that the delivery of legal documents is carried out in a manner that is both accurate and efficient.
In Singapore, civil lawsuits may be brought before either the Supreme Court or the State Courts. The Court of Appeal and the High Court work together as the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeal is the highest level of review. High Court judges sit on the High Court's General and Appellate Division.
The Singapore International Commercial Court is a section of the High Court's General Division specializing in international business litigation. District Courts, Magistrates' Courts, Small Claims Tribunals, and Employment Claims Tribunals are all types of courts that fall within the purview of the State Courts. District Courts and Magistrates' Courts have an SGD250,000 and SGD60,000 cap on civil claims, respectively.
The Family Justice Courts, which comprise the Family Courts, the Youth Courts, and the Family Division of the High Court, primarily handle cases regarding family affairs and juvenile offenders, and the Syariah Court, which hears cases relating to Muslim law. To guarantee that legal processes are carried out in Singapore in a manner that is both efficient and effective, it is essential to include a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal for any international process service carried out in the country. Any delay or mistake in the delivery of the process might disrupt the legal process and postpone the conclusion of the matter in Singapore's court system, which is renowned for its efficiency and impartiality.
STEPS OF A LAWSUIT IN SINGAPORE
The General Division of the Singapore High Court is the typical starting point for litigation involving significant economic conflicts. The Rules of Court, established in line with the terms of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act of 1969, regulate the basic process for civil litigation in the Singapore High Court. In civil litigation, the burden of proof is on the party asserting a claim. During scheduled case conferences, the court assumes leadership, establishes a schedule, and issues orders. Registrars or judges may preside over case conferences.
A first-to-file claim or application may serve the purpose (which principally applies to cases where the material facts are not disputed). Documents must be filed and served. Once the first claim has been served, the defendant has fourteen days to serve a statement of claim. A defendant served with an originating claim has either fourteen or twenty-one days from the date of service of the statement of claim on them to submit and serve a notice of intention to contest or not contest. Within twenty-one days (or five weeks if served outside of Singapore) after receiving the statement of claim, the defendant must submit and serve a defense to the originating claim. A counterclaim against the claimant must be filed and served at the same time as the defense by the defendant.
The parties must produce and exchange documents relevant to the matters under dispute. Interlocutory applications may also be filed with the court, and the court will, to the extent practicable, require each party to make just one application before trial. When the trial date has been determined, the parties will each present their case during a civil trial, where their witnesses will be cross-examined based on the facts presented in their affidavits of evidence-in-chief. The parties will then present their last arguments to the court before a ruling is made.
A claimant may seek judgment in default by filing a notice of intent to defend or not defend an initial claim. Any party may move for summary judgment or to have the whole action or defense dismissed. Initiating a claim in Singapore may be difficult, particularly for foreign persons or businesses unfamiliar with the nation's legal system. In such situations, the assistance of a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal which operates internationally, might be of tremendous use.
PROCEDURE FOR INITIATING A CLAIM IN SINGAPORE
No prescribed procedure must be followed before a claimant may initiate legal action. Before filing a lawsuit, each side must try to work out their differences amicably unless they have good cause not to. The term ‘offer of amicable settlement’ refers to a proposal to settle the proceedings or resolve the issue in some way other than via litigation. A party must have good cause to reject a settlement offer without which the offer should be accepted. The Rules of Court 2021 allow the court to require the parties to participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) if they have not already done so in an effort to settle the issue amicably.
An originating claim or originating application is often filed to initiate civil proceedings and then served on the defendant. A plaintiff may initiate litigation by filing an original claim or application with the court. If there is expected to be a lot of back-and-forth over questions of fact, a party should use an originating claim, whereas if the main issue is one of law, the party should use an originating application.
When it comes to assisting with the initial stages of initiating a claim in Singapore, one of the most important things that a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can do is ensure all necessary documents are properly prepared and filed in accordance with the Rules of Court. This involves creating and filing the statement of claim and any additional pleadings and supporting papers that may be necessary. The claim may be delayed or even denied altogether if the appropriate processes are not followed, which can be expensive and time-consuming.
SERVICE OF PROCESS IN SINGAPORE
The claimant must serve the defendant with the originating claim or originating application within fourteen or twenty-one days after the document is issued, respectively. Service on an individual is typically accomplished by leaving a copy of the document in question with that individual. In contrast, service on a corporation or other legal entity is typically accomplished by leaving a copy with the entity's chairperson, president, secretary, treasurer, or other officers.
Service of the first originating process must be made in person to be valid. A person may be served with an originating process by placing a sealed copy of the document in their care. A copy of the originating process may be served on a corporate defendant by leaving it at the business's registered office, mailing it to the company's registered office, or leaving it with the company's chairman, president, secretary, treasurer, or other officials.
If personal service is impossible, the claimant may apply to the court for an order for substituted service of the originating process. There are no limits on the kind of replacement service; all that matters is that the recipient be made aware of the situation. Substituted service, however, often entails publishing notice of the action in newspapers or affixing the document to the door of the defendant's last known residence. The most common methods of ordinary service are hand delivery, postal delivery, and electronic delivery (email and fax). The Court may order any technique that would be effective in serving a document on a person if personal service is desired but impossible. In most cases, the day service was made will be used as the ‘deemed’ service date.
Foreign actions initiated in Singapore are normally served through a court process server (upon request) or any other means authorized by the Rules of Court 2021. Suppose the defendant is located outside of Singapore. In that case, the claimant will need the court's approval to serve the originating process outside of Singapore unless doing so is expressly permitted under the applicable contract between the parties.
In a statement of claim, the plaintiff must detail the circumstances that gave rise to the lawsuit and specify what damages and other remedies the plaintiff is seeking. If the claimant chooses to submit a response, it must include all relevant information. When a counterclaim is filed simultaneously with a reply, the claimant must provide a defense detailing the facts on which the counterclaim is based. Undisputed Legal can assist in determining which court is the most appropriate to file the claim in, considering the nature of the dispute and the amount at issue. It is possible that various kinds of claims have to be submitted in separate courts, and a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can identify may which court is the most suited for the particular instance.
ENFORCEMENT OF A FOREIGN JUDGEMENT IN SINGAPORE
Suppose a foreign decision satisfies the requirements of the Choice of Courts Agreement Act 2016. In that case, the Reciprocal Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act 1959, or the Reciprocal Enforcement of Commonwealth Judgments Act 1921, will be recognized and enforced. Foreign judgments may be enforced under [A.] the Commonwealth Judgments Act of 1921, for Reciprocal Enforcement (RECJA); [B.] Foreign Judgments Act of 1959 for Reciprocal Enforcement (REFJA) or [C.] the Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (CCAA.)
Singapore's conflict of laws regulations mandate that an obligatory norm of Singapore law in the international sense (for example, as established by Singapore legislation) be followed regardless of any stated choice of law by the parties. The Singaporean courts will first determine the nature of the dispute without a contract before applying the proper choice of law rule. For tort claims, for instance, most courts look to the location of the actual cause of action. The legislation of that nation will apply.
The Singapore court will stay proceedings (on an application of one of the parties) in favor of the foreign court if the parties have agreed that the courts of a foreign jurisdiction will have exclusive jurisdiction over a claim unless there is strong cause for the Singapore court to assume jurisdiction. Undisputed Legal operates globally and can provide paperwork and evidence of service, both of which are required in legal procedures.
SERVICE OF FOREIGN PAPERS IN SINGAPORE
Suppose related proceedings in the foreign jurisdiction give rise to a sufficiently serious risk of inconsistent findings. In that case, the courts may also find that, despite a forum selection clause in favor of the Singapore courts, there is strong cause for the dispute to be dealt with by a foreign court. Suppose a court in Singapore has been designated as the sole venue for resolving the issue. In that case, that court may not refuse to exercise jurisdiction on the grounds that the matter is more properly before the court of some other nation.
The Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Cases, 1965, is not ratified by Singapore (Hague Service Convention). Civil process treaties exist between Singapore and other countries: Austria, Italy, Germany, and China.
Service of foreign process may be made in Singapore in a few different ways apart from the Hague Service Convention. With a letter of request from an overseas court, the process server delivers the documents. The letter must include a version of the request letter written in English, the required legal documents in duplicate, and two English language versions of the procedure manual. A copy of the procedure and its translation are left with the individual to be served. When service is made, the server must submit an affidavit, and the Registrar must issue a certificate stating that the evidence of service and the manner of delivery complied with the Rules of Court 2021 governing service of process in that Singapore court.
The consulate or other authority of a nation with which Singapore has a civil procedure convention requesting service of process by the court's process server. It is necessary to provide a copy of the English translation of the procedure to be served with the request letter. You must leave them a copy of the method and the translated version to serve someone. A certificate attesting that the process (or copy) was served on the person at the time and in the manner indicated in the certificate must be filed by the process server and issued by the Registrar after service has been made.
The Hague Convention of 1970 on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters includes Singapore as a contracting state (Hague Evidence Convention). An application for an order for evidence to be acquired in Singapore may be submitted to the General Division of the High Court without prior notice under the Evidence (Civil Actions in Other Jurisdictions) Act 1979 (in conjunction with Order 55 of the Rules of Court 2021). The General Division of the High Court has the authority to make the following accommodations if it is satisfied that the application is made in response to a request issued by a court or tribunal exercising jurisdiction in a territory other than Singapore and that the evidence is needed for civil proceedings.
At Undisputed Legal, we can assist with monitoring the progression of the service process and delivering consistent information to the client about the case's standing. We make sure to assist in locating the recipient of the legal documents if the latter's whereabouts are unknown. We can assist in navigating the complexity of the regional legal system and guarantee that the service of process is carried out in an effective and timely manner.
Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or uploaded to our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.
Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist will receive all documents. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!
DOMESTIC COVERAGE AREAS:
Alaska | Alabama | Arkansas | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware| Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Iowa | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maryland | Massachusetts | Maine| Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | North Carolina | North Dakota | Nebraska | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | Nevada | New York | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island| South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Vermont | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE AREAS:
Albania | Andorra | Anguilla | Antigua | Argentina | Armenia | Australia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Bahamas | Barbados | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bermuda | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Botswana | Brazil | British Honduras | British Virgin Islands | Bulgaria | Canada | Cayman Islands | Central and Southern Line Islands | Chile|China (Macao) | China People's Republic | Colombia | Costa Rica | Country of Georgia | Croatia | Cyprus| Czech Republic | Denmark | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Egypt | Estonia | Falkland Islands and Dependences | Fiji | Finland | France | Germany | Gibraltar| Gilbert and Ellice Islands | Greece | Guernsey | Hong Kong | Hungary | Iceland | India | Ireland | Isle of Man | Israel | Italy | Jamaica | Japan | Jersey Channel Islands | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Korea | Kuwait | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Malawi | Malaysia | Malta| Mauritius | Mexico| Monaco | Montenegro | Montserrat | Morocco | Namibia | Netherlands | New Zealand|Nicaragua | Norway | Pakistan | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Philippines | Pitcairn |Poland | Portugal | Republic of Moldova | Republic of North Macedonia | Romania |Russian Federation | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | San Marino | Saudi Arabia | Serbia | Seychelles | Singapore| Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sri Lanka | St. Helena and Dependencies | St. Lucia | Sweden | Switzerland | Taiwan | Thailand | Tunisia| Turkey | Turks and Caicos Islands| Ukraine | United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Uruguay | US Virgin Islands | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Vietnam
New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 - 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 - 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 300, Washington DC 20004
FOR ASSISTANCE SERVING LEGAL PAPERS IN SINGAPORE
Pick up the phone and call Toll-Free (800) 774-6922 or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your Singapore process service needs; no job is too small or too large!
Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.
"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives"- Foster, William A
1. The Rules of Court were updated in 2021, and the new version became mandatory on April 1st, 2022.
2. When deciding how much each party should pay, the court should consider how hard they tried to settle the dispute out of court (after determining the merits of the action or appeal.
3. Personal service (specifically required by the Rules of Court 2021 or other written legislation where the Court requires such service or when the serving party wishes to do so voluntarily) or standard service may be used to deliver any document that must be served.
4. The following are acceptable methods of effecting service of process emanating from Singapore:
- if the foreign country's government is willing to effect service;
- if the foreign country's judicial authority is willing to effect service;
- if there is a Civil Procedure Convention governing service in the foreign country;
- if there is a Singapore consular authority in the foreign country; or in any other way the parties have agreed to.
5. According to section 2(5) of the Interpretation Act 1965, service by mail is considered complete when the letter would have been delivered in the normal course of mail delivery.
6. No later than 14 days following the serving of the (final) defense on the claimant, the claimant may cease the action or withdraw any specific claim without the Court's approval. A defendant's withdrawal of a counterclaim is treated the same way. Without the approval of the Court, a defendant may also abandon all or part of their defense at any moment.
7. The Attorney General may also apply to the Singapore court for an order of substituted service.