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Part II: Originating Processes and Documents

8. Originating Summonses

(1) This Practice Direction applies to originating summonses filed on or after 1 January 2006.

Forms for originating summonses

(2) Solicitors’ attention is drawn to Order 12, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5) which provides that no appearance need be entered to an originating summons.

(3) Where any legislation requires a party to file an originating summons and the Form is not provided within the legislation, the originating summons must be filed using either Form 4 (Originating Summons) or Form 5 (Ex Parte Originating Summons) of Appendix A of the Rules of Court.

(4) The parties in Form 4 of Appendix A of the Rules of Court shall be stated as “plaintiff” and “defendant”, or “appellant” and “respondent” as the case may be.

(5) The party in Form 5 of Appendix A of the Rules of Court shall be stated as “applicant”.

9. Identification numbers to be stated in cause papers

Parties named in the title of the documents

(1) Where a party to any proceedings in the State Courts first files a document in such proceedings, he shall state his identification number, in parentheses, in the title of the document immediately below or after his name. Thereafter, all documents subsequently filed in the proceedings by any party shall include this identification number in the title of the documents in parentheses below or after the name of the party to which it applies.

Parties not named in the title of the documents

(2) Where a party to any proceedings in the State Courts first files a document in such proceedings, and the name of the party does not appear in the title of the document but does appear in the body of the document, then the identification number of the party should be stated, in parentheses, below or after the first appearance of his name in the document.  Thereafter, all documents subsequently filed in the proceedings by any party shall include this identification number in parentheses immediately below or after the first appearance of the name of the party to which it applies in the subsequent document.

Documents filed by two or more parties

(3) Paragraphs (1) and (2) shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to documents which are filed by more than one party.

Identification numbers for non-parties

(4) If any person (living or dead), any entity or any property is in part or in whole the subject matter of any proceedings, or is affected by any proceedings, but is not a party thereto, and the name of such person, entity or property is to appear in the title of the documents filed in the proceedings, the party filing the first document in the proceedings must state the identification number of such person, entity or property in parentheses immediately below or after the name of the same. Thereafter, all documents subsequently filed in the proceedings by any party shall include this identification number in parentheses immediately below or after the name of the person, entity or property to which it applies.  If the party filing the first document in the proceedings is unable, after reasonable enquiry, to discover the identification number of the person, entity or property, he may state immediately below or after the name of the same “(ID No. not known)”.  All documents subsequently filed by any party shall then contain these words in parentheses below or after the name of this person, entity or property.

Special cases

(5) The following Directions shall apply in addition to the Directions contained in paragraphs (1) to (4):

Identification numbers

(6) When entering the identification number in the Electronic Filing Service, the full identification number should be entered, including any letters or characters that appear in, at the beginning of, or at the end of the number. Descriptive text which is required to be entered into the actual document, such as “Japanese Identification Card No.”, should not be entered into the electronic form.

Guidelines for the selection of identification numbers

(7) The following guidelines should be followed in deciding on the appropriate identification number.

Inability to furnish identification number at the time of filing a document

(8) If a party who wishes to file a document is unable at the time of filing to furnish the necessary identification numbers required by this Practice Direction, the party may indicate “(ID Not Known)” at the time of filing.  However, when the necessary identification numbers have been obtained, the party must furnish the necessary identification numbers to the Civil Registry through the Electronic Filing Service.

Meaning of document

(9) For avoidance of doubt, the words “document” and “documents” when used in this Practice Direction include all originating processes filed in the State Courts regardless of whether they are governed by the Rules of Court or not.

Non-compliance

(10) Any document which does not comply with this Practice Direction may be rejected for filing by the Civil Registry.

10. Citation of Case Numbers / New Court Forum Prefix

(1) All originating processes and summonses filed in civil matters in the State Courts on or after 1st January 2015 shall bear case numbers in the following Format:

Description of Court / Type of Application [Case number] / Year filed

For example :

Case number Format Type of case
DC / DC 1 / 2015 Writ of Summons filed in the District Court
MC / MC 1 / 2015 Writ of Summons filed in the Magistrate’s Court
DC / OSS 1 / 2015 Originating Summons filed in the District Court
MC / OSS 1 / 2015 Originating Summons filed in the Magistrate’s Court
DC / SUM 1 / 2015 Summons filed in a District Court Suit
MC / SUM 1 / 2015 Summons filed in a Magistrate’s Court Suit

(2) The new Court description or court forum prefix will not be displayed in the Electronic Queue System.  Counsel and parties should disregard the same when taking their queue numbers.

(3) Parties must cite the case number in full in all documents and Requests filed in Court.

11. Personal service of processes and documents

(1) The attention of solicitors is drawn to Order 62, Rule 2(1) of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5) which provides:

“Personal service must be effected by a process server of the Court or by a solicitor or a solicitor’s clerk whose name and particulars have been notified to the Registrar for this purpose:

Provided that the Registrar may, in a particular cause or matter, allow personal service to be effected by any other named person and shall, in that case, cause to be marked on the document required to be served personally, a memorandum to that effect.”

(2) Solicitors must notify the Civil Registry of the particulars of those clerks who have been authorised by them to serve processes and documents (hereafter referred to as “authorised process servers”) by submitting a request to authorise user through the Electronic Filing Service.

(3) Where such authorised process servers are no longer so authorised, solicitors must revoke or delete the authorisation immediately by submitting a request through the Electronic Filing Service. Solicitors’ clerks do not require the authorisation of the Registrar to effect personal service of processes and documents.

(4) In view of the alternative modes providing for personal service to be effected by a solicitor or a solicitor’s clerk, Court process servers will not be assigned to effect personal service of processes and documents unless there are special reasons.  

(5) If it is felt that there are special reasons requiring personal service by a Court process server, a Request for such service must be filed through the Electronic Filing Service, setting out the special reasons.  The approval of the Duty Registrar must be obtained for such service. Once approval has been obtained, the documents for service must be presented at the counter designated for this purpose.  A process server will then be assigned to effect service and an appointment for service convenient to both the litigant and the assigned process server will be given.

(6) On the appointed date, the person accompanying the process server must call at the Civil Registry.  The amount required for the transport charges of the process server (a record of which will be kept) must be tendered, or, alternatively, the process server in question must be informed that transport for him will be provided. The Civil Registry will then instruct the process server to effect service.   

(7) Under no circumstances should any payment be made directly to the process server.

12. Substituted Service

(1) In any application for substituted service, the applicant should persuade the Court that the proposed mode of substituted service will bring the document in question to the notice of the person to be served.

(2) Two reasonable attempts at personal service should be made before an application for an order for substituted service is filed. In an application for substituted service, the applicant shall demonstrate by way of affidavit why he or she believes that the attempts at service made were reasonable.

(3) The applicant should, where appropriate, also consider other modes of substituted service, such as AR registered post or electronic means (including electronic mail or Internet transmission) in addition to or in substitution of substituted service by posting on doors or gates of residential and business premises.

(4) An application for substituted service by posting at an address or by AR registered post should contain evidence (for example, relevant search results from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, the Singapore Land Authority, the Housing & Development Board or the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) that the person to be served is either the owner of, resident or can be located at the property.

(5) For the avoidance of doubt, substituted service by AR registered post is deemed to be effective when the postal service has delivered the document, or attempted to deliver the document (in cases where no one is present or willing to accept the document).

(6) If substituted service is by electronic mail, it has to be shown that the electronic mail account to which the document will be sent belongs to the person to be served and that it is currently active.

(7) An application for substituted service by advertisement (in one issue of the Straits Times if the person to be served is literate in English, or one issue of the Straits Times and one issue of one of the main non-English language newspapers where his language literacy is unknown) should only be considered as a last resort and should contain evidence that the person to be served is literate in the language of the newspaper in which the advertisement will be placed.

(8) For the avoidance of doubt, posting on the Notice Board of the Registry of the State Courts is not available as a proposed mode of substituted service.

13. Amendment of documents

General requirements for amendment of any document

(1) Except as otherwise provided by the provisions of this Practice Direction, where any document (inclusive of any pleading) that has been filed in any proceedings is required to be amended and re-filed in Court, a fresh copy of the document with the amendments included must be prepared, regardless of the number and length of the amendments sought to be made.

(2) The procedure for amending a document is as follows:

(a) A fresh amended copy of the document should be produced.

(b) The number of times the document has been amended shall be indicated in parentheses after the name of the document. For this purpose, an amended document should be entitled “[document name] (Amendment No. 1)” or “[document name] (Amendment No. 2)”, or as appropriate. For example, a Statement of Claim which is amended for the first time should be filed as “Statement of Claim (Amendment No. 1)”, and a Defence that is amended for the second time should be filed as “Defence (Amendment No. 2)”.

(c) The changes made in the document from the latest version of the document filed in Court should be indicated in the following way:

(i) deletions shall be made by drawing a single line across the words to be deleted; and

(ii) insertions shall be underlined.

Colour scheme for amendments

(3) In addition, the following colours shall be used to indicate the history of the amendments in the specified documents:

(a) black for the first round of amendments;

(b) red for the second round of amendments;

(c) green for the third round of amendments;

(d) blue for the fourth round of amendments; and

(e) brown for subsequent rounds of amendments.

Amendment for third time or more  

(4) From the third round of amendments onwards, the amended specified document should comprise two versions of the document, i.e. —

(a) a clean version without the amendments shown; followed in the same document by

(b) a version showing the amendments in colour.

(5) Only one amended document consisting of these two versions is required to be filed.

Cases to which the requirements in paragraphs (1) and (2) do not apply

(6) The directions in paragraph (2)(b) above shall not apply to any originating summons or summons that has been amended from an inter partes application to an ex parte application or vice versa.

(7) The directions in paragraphs (2)(c) above shall not apply to any originating process, summons or other electronic form that is composed online through the Electronic Filing Service.

Amendment endorsements on electronic forms

(8) Order 20, Rule 10(2) of the Rules of Court requires that an amended pleading or other document be endorsed with a statement that it has been amended, specifying the date on which it was amended and by whom the order (if any) authorising the amendment was made and the date thereof, and if no such order was made, the number of the Rule in Order 20 of the Rules of Court in pursuance of which the amendment was made.

(9) Where electronic forms are amended, the amendment endorsement shall take either one of the following forms:

(a) “By order of court made on [date order was made]”; or

(b) “Pursuant to Order 20, Rule [cite specific rule number]”.

(10) The amendment endorsement shall be appended to the title of the electronic form, after the amendment number as required under paragraph (2)(b) above. Where an electronic form is amended more than once, the endorsement need only cite the basis for the most recent amendment. For example —

(a) “Originating Summons (Amendment No. 3, by order of court made on 1 January 2013)”;

(b) “Writ of Summons (Amendment No. 1, pursuant to O. 20, r 3)”.

(11) The date of the electronic form shall reflect the date on which the document is amended.

Amendments made on original writ or originating summons (where amendments are not numerous or lengthy)

(12) This paragraph applies to writs and originating summonses that have not been filed using the Electronic Filing Service. In addition to the usual endorsement signed by the solicitors pursuant to Practice Direction 14 (Endorsements on originating processes and other documents), there should be re-sealing of the document as required by Order 20, Rule 10(1), of the Rules of Court. The seal will be embossed over the endorsement.

Amendment of case title to add a party

(13) Where leave of Court has been obtained to add a party to the main case title of a matter, for example, an intervener, a garnishee or any party that was previously a non-party, the applicant or his solicitor is to file a Request through the Electronic Filing Service to add that specific party to the main case title.

14. Endorsements on originating processes and other documents

(1) The provisions of this Practice Direction shall apply where it is necessary to include endorsements on any document.

(2) Endorsements are normally made on originating processes and other documents to show the renewal of, amendments to, and authorisation for service of, the document in question.  Such endorsements on originating processes and other documents do not require the Registrar’s signature.  This is because such endorsements are pursuant to either an order of Court or the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5).  The Registrar should therefore not be asked to sign such endorsements.

(3) For documents that are filed through the Electronic Filing Service as electronic forms composed online, the following requirements apply:

(a) Solicitors should select the appropriate endorsement and check the accuracy of the electronic form in the preview stage before filing the originating process or other document. The acceptance by the Registry of electronic forms composed online does not affect the regularity of any endorsements on the document.

(b) Where endorsements can be made prior to the filing or issuance of a document, those endorsements shall be incorporated into the document before the document is filed or issued.

(c) Where endorsements must be made on a document which has already been filed or issued, a fresh copy of the document containing the relevant endorsements shall be prepared, and the document must be re-filed or re-issued, as the case may be. An example of this would be renewals of writs of summons.

15. Additional endorsements on cause papers

Every affidavit which is filed in conjunction with a summons (but not those filed in conjunction with originating summonses) must have endorsed at the top left-hand corner of the first page of the affidavit the entered number of the summons.

16. Information to be provided in cause papers and documents filed in the State Courts Registry

(1) This Practice Direction shall apply to all cause papers and documents that are not filed using the Electronic Filing Service (EFS).

(2) Occasionally when members of the staff of the State Courts have to contact lawyers having conduct of an action or charge of a matter, they have sometimes encountered difficulties for reasons such as changes to the constitution of the law firm, changes to the telephone numbers and telephone receptionists in law firms being unable to identify the lawyer concerned.

(3) To facilitate the contacting of lawyers having conduct of an action or charge of a matter by members of the staff of the State Courts, the following information shall be inserted on backing sheets of all cause papers and documents filed in the Registry in the format set out:

“(Name of lawyer(s) having conduct of action or charge of matter.)

(Name of law firm.)

(Address of law firm.)

Tel: (Contact telephone number.)

Fax: (Contact facsimile number.)

Ref: (File reference of law firm.)”

(4) The information is to be inserted as a block near the bottom right hand corner of the backing sheets.

17. Access to case file, inspection and taking copies of documents and conducting searches

Access by parties to a case file

(1) All parties to a case who are registered users of the Electronic Filing Service may, subject to the provisions of this Practice Direction and any directions of the Court, access the online case file made available through the Electronic Filing Service and may inspect, download soft copies or print hard copies of documents accessible to the parties in the online case file.

(2) Where a party to a case is not a registered user and is unable to access the electronic case file through the Electronic Filing Service, the procedure governing file inspection by non-parties to a case in paragraph (5) below shall be followed.

(3) All parties to a case shall have the liberty to make amendments at will to administrative details contained in the electronic case file through the Electronic Filing Service, and for this purpose —

(a) administrative details include the contact details of solicitors, the identities of the solicitors, and the nature of the claim; and

(b) where a party to a case is not a registered user of the Electronic Filing Service, he may attend at the service bureau to seek assistance to amend the administrative details contained in the electronic case file.

(4) The Registry may require parties to a case to provide supporting documents to substantiate proposed amendments to other details of the electronic case file before the amendment is approved (e.g. amendments to add or remove a party to the case have to be supported by an order of court, and amendments to change the name, gender, identification number, or marital status of a party to the case have to be substantiated by documentary proof).

File inspection by non-parties

(5) In order to inspect a case file containing documents that were filed through the Electronic Filing Service, the following procedure should be followed:

(a) A Request should be made to obtain leave to inspect the file, which request should —

(i) be filed using the Electronic Filing Service;

(ii) state the name of the person who is to carry out the search or inspection (and if this person is not a solicitor, his identity card number should also be included in the request, after his name);

(iii) state the interest the applicant has in the matter, and the reason for the search or inspection; and

(iv) if the search or inspection is requested for the purpose of ascertaining information for use in a separate suit or matter, clearly state the nature of the information sought and the relevance of such information to the separate suit or matter.

(b) Once approval for inspection has been received from the Court:

(i) Registered users can inspect the case file online through the Electronic Filing Service;

(ii) Parties who are not registered users can inspect the case file by presenting a copy of the approval at the service bureau. After verifying the approval that has been presented, the service bureau will assign a personal computer to the inspecting party for the inspection to be carried out. An inspecting party will usually be allowed only 60 minutes to carry out the inspection. If a longer period is required, the service bureau may impose a charge for use of the computer. The service bureau may impose additional charges for downloading soft copies or printing hard copies of documents from the case file being inspected.

(6) Requests in hard copy may be submitted to inspect case files containing documents which were not filed using the Electronic Filing Service. The Civil Registry will only accept requests which are printed or typewritten on paper of good quality and signed by the solicitors concerned. Requests which have any erasure marks on them will be rejected. Requests which are double stamped, that is, if the requests were originally short stamped and later stamped to add up to the correct fee, may be rejected.

(7) Solicitors must communicate to the Registrar in writing the names of their clerks who have their authority to make searches and inspections. Such authority may be in respect of a specific search or inspection or for a specified period.

(8) For the avoidance of doubt, a non-party who has obtained approval to inspect a case file may take and retain a soft copy of any document that is available for inspection. All copies of documents taken in the course of inspection should not be used for purposes other than those stated in the Request to inspect. Solicitors shall be responsible for informing their clients of this.

Obtaining certified true copies of documents

(9) Applications to obtain certified true paper copies of documents should be made by way of filing a Request through the Electronic Filing Service, unless the documents concerned have not been filed through the Electronic Filing Service.

(10) The intended use of the certified true copies should be clearly stated in the Request. The relevance and necessity of the certified true copies in relation to their intended use should also be clearly described.

(11) Once approval is received from the Court, the applicant should present a printed copy of the approved Request at the Records Section. After verifying that the Request presented has been approved, the staff of the Records Section will inform the applicant of any additional fees payable. Any additional fees payable should then be stamped on the Request at the State Courts Cashier’s Office. Upon presentation of this stamped Request, the documents will be furnished to the applicant.

(12) The fees prescribed by Appendix B to the Rules of Court will be payable for the above services without prejudice to additional printing charges which may be chargeable by the Court or the service bureau for reproducing the copies in paper form.

Electronic cause books and registers maintained by the Registry

(13) Order 60 Rule 2 of the Rules of Court provides that the Registry shall maintain information prescribed or required to be kept by the Rules of Court and Practice Directions issued by the Registrar. In addition to any provisions in the Rules of Court, the Registrar hereby directs that the following information shall be maintained by the Registry:

(a) details of all originating processes, including:

(i) details of interlocutory applications;

(ii) details of appeals filed therein; and

(iii) details of probate proceedings, including wills and caveats filed therein;

(b) details of writs of execution, writs of distress and warrants of arrest; and

(c) any other information as may from time to time be deemed necessary.

(14) Searches of this information under Order 60 Rule 3 of the Rules of Court may be conducted through the Electronic Filing Service at a service bureau or at the Records Section. The fees prescribed by Appendix B to the Rules of Court will be payable for the searches.  

(15) An application may be made by any person for a licence to use any information contained in any electronic cause book or register subject to such terms and conditions as the Registrar may determine. Successful applicants will be required to enter into separate technical services agreements with the Electronic Filing Service provider. Applications under this Practice Direction must be made in writing, identifying the data fields sought and providing details of how the information will be used.’