Filing a Claim with the Small Claims Tribunals in Singapore

Last updated on February 1, 2024

The Small Claims Tribunals (SCT) of the State Courts is a dispute resolution mechanism to resolve specific types of low-value disputes between consumers and suppliers. It offers a quicker and less expensive way of resolving the dispute, rather than going to a civil trial.

Read on to learn more about filing a claim with the SCT. Please note that this article focuses on claims filed by an individual claimant.

Is My Claim Eligible?

Before filing a claim with the SCT, you must first check if your claim meets the stipulated conditions:

Eligible Claims

The SCT hears disputes/claims arising out of the following:

The SCT does not hear disputes involving damage to any property arising from or in connection with the use of a motor vehicle, damage to any property caused by a neighbour, and employment matters.

Amount to be Claimed

The total value of the claim must not exceed S$20,000. However, if both parties give their consent, the SCT can hear claims of up to $30,000. Both parties must sign the Memorandum of Consent before proceeding with the claim.

Limitation Period

The claim must be filed within 2 years of the event which creates your cause of action. For example, suppose you purchased a $4,999 LCD TV in 2021 and subsequently found it to be defective but the retailer refused to refund the cost, the SCT will not be able to hear your claim as the purchase occurred more than 2 years ago.

You can take an online pre-filing assessment on the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS) to check whether your claim can be heard by the SCT.

Please note that this test is not conclusive and it is recommended that you seek legal advice to determine whether your claim falls within the SCT’s jurisdiction.

What If My Claim Does Not Fall Within the Jurisdiction of the Small Claims Tribunals?

There are other avenues for legal recourse that you can explore to resolve your dispute. Please consult a lawyer for further advice. A lawyer would be able to review the facts of your dispute and advice on the possible options that might be available to you, to get your desired outcome.

What is the Process for Filing a Claim?

The application/claim must be submitted through the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS).

You will need to submit the following as part of the filing process:

  • Your pre-filing assessment ID (obtained by completing the pre-filing assessment in CJTS)
  • Your personal details, such as name, contact number, email and address.
  • The respondent’s details, such as name and address.
  • A summary of the claim.

In addition, if you are claiming as individual, you are required to support the relevant supporting documents to your claim, such as  invoices, receipts, contracts, tenancy agreements, stamp duty certificates, photographs, emails or messages.

If the respondent (i.e. the party you are claiming against) is a business entity, you will also need to submit the respondent’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) business profile, obtained within 1 month of filing the claim. The profile can either be purchased on ACRA’s website, or from an ACRA-accredited service provider.

Payment of filing fees

Do take of the applicable filing fees, which will differ depending on the amount of your claim:

Claim amount Fee payable
Up to $5,000 $10
Above $5,000 but up to $10,000 $20
Above $10,000 but up to $20,000 1% of the amount claimed
Above $20,000 but up to $30,000 1% of the amount claimed

What Happens after Filing the Claim?

After filing the claim, you must serve the claim and Notice of Consultation on the respondent within 7 days of filing the claim. You can do so either by personal delivery (i.e., handing the notice to the respondent in person) or by registered post to the respondent’s last known address.

You are also required to submit a Declaration of Service, after serving the claim and before the initial consultation. The Declaration of Service must include all of the following:

  • Date and time when the Notice of Consultation was served on the respondent.
  • Name/details of the person/courier company that served the notice.
  • Mode in which the notice was served (i.e., personal delivery or registered post).
  • Detailed outcome of serving the notice, such as whether the service was successful or unsuccessful.

What is the SCT Consultation?

A consultation at the SCT is a court proceeding where a registrar will facilitate a discussion to give both parties the opportunity to resolve the dispute amicably without moving on to a hearing. You will be notified via email 3 days before the consultation and via SMS 1 day before the consultation.

If a settlement is reached

The registrar may record a consent order to reflect their agreement to the settlement and the parties will receive a copy of the consent order.

If a settlement is not reached 

If you are unable to settle the dispute at the consultation, the claim will proceed to a hearing before a tribunal magistrate. The hearing will be conducted in private and both parties will take turns to present their case and any supporting evidence. The proceedings are directed by the tribunal magistrate.

The tribunal magistrate will then make a decision based on the merits of the case and according to the law. You can find out more about the possible orders the tribunal magistrate can make here.

In some cases, the tribunal magistrate may call for further hearing dates, or postpone the judgment to a later date instead.

Can I Appeal against a Small Claims Order?

While orders by the SCT are final and binding, either party may file an appeal if they are not satisfied with certain orders made at the end of an SCT consultation or hearing.

For more information on the appeals process and fees payable, you can refer to this page.

Before Making a Claim
  1. Drafting an Enforceable Settlement Agreement in Singapore
  2. Should I Make A Police Report or Should I Sue?
  3. Differences between Criminal Law and Civil Law
  4. Should You Sue? 8 Things to Think About Before Suing
  5. How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter in Singapore
  6. Limitation Periods: What's the Deadline for Suing in Singapore?
  7. What to Do If Someone Sues Your Singapore Business
  8. Arbitration and Mediation: When They Can be Useful for Business Disputes
  9. Can I Sue a Foreigner or Foreign Company in Singapore?
  10. Mediation in Singapore
  11. Arbitration: When and How to Arbitrate Business Disputes in Singapore
  12. Third-Party Funding for Litigation in Singapore
  13. Using Neutral Evaluation to Resolve Civil Disputes in Singapore
Making a Claim - The Beginning of a Dispute
  1. What is a Breach of Confidence and How to Prove It
  2. Victim of a Wire Fraud? Here’s What You Can Do
  3. How to File an Originating Claim in a Singapore Lawsuit
  4. How to Bring a Class-Action Lawsuit in Singapore
  5. Letters of Demand and Their Usages in Singapore
  6. Law on Writ of Summons in Singapore
  7. Received a "Without Prejudice" Letter? Here’s What It Means
  8. What if I Cannot Find the Party I Want to Sue?
  9. Filing a Claim with the Small Claims Tribunals in Singapore
  10. First Meeting With Your Business Dispute Lawyer: What to Expect
  11. Negotiating a Settlement in a Business Dispute
  12. Security of Payment Act: Claiming Progress Payments for Construction Work Done
  13. Engaging a Queen’s Counsel or King's Counsel in Singapore
The Litigation Process
  1. Can You Withdraw Your Court Case in Singapore?
  2. Wasting the Court’s Time and Resources: Legal Consequences
  3. Natural Justice Explained: Your Right to a Fair & Unbiased Hearing
  4. Civil Litigation: How to Sue in Singapore (Step-by-Step Guide)
  5. Originating Application: What It Is and How to File in Singapore
  6. Notice of Intention to Contest or Not Contest: What is It?
  7. Affidavits in Singapore: What Are They & How to Prepare One
  8. Default Judgments and Summary Judgments in Singapore
Matters relating to Witnesses and Evidence
  1. Can My Minor Child be Subpoenaed to be a Court Witness?
  2. Giving Evidence via Video Link in a Singapore Lawsuit
  3. Prima Facie: What Does It Mean and How to Establish
  4. Hearsay Evidence: Admissibility and Objection of It in Singapore
  5. Admissibility of Evidence in the Singapore Courts
  6. Subpoenaed to be a Court Witness in Singapore: What You Need to Do
  7. Who is an Expert Witness and How to Use Expert Evidence in Singapore
  8. Destroying and Tampering With Evidence in Singapore
  9. A Guide to Legal DNA Testing in Singapore
Remedies Available for Civil Litigation
  1. Types of Injunctions in Singapore
  2. Specific Performance: Obtaining this Equitable Remedy in Singapore
  3. Judicial Review in Singapore: What is It and How to Apply
After the Lawsuit
  1. After the Lawsuit: Who Has to Pay Whom, and How Much?
  2. Enforcement of Court Judgments and Orders in Singapore
  3. How to Get an Order for Seizure and Sale to Enforce a Judgment