Memorandum of Appearance in Singapore: What It is and How to File
Generally, if you are being sued in a civil litigation case, the Plaintiff (i.e the person who brings a legal action to sue you) will serve a Writ of Summons on you (the Defendant) to notify you of his claim.
Should you wish to contest the Plaintiff’s claim, you will be required to file a Memorandum of Appearance with the court. A Memorandum of Appearance is a document which provides notice to the court and the Plaintiff of your intention to contest the Plaintiff’s claim.
This article will discuss Memorandum of Appearance for:
When Do I Not Need to File a Memorandum of Appearance?
If the Plaintiff commences the suit with an Originating Summons instead of a Writ of Summons, there is no need to file a Memorandum of Appearance.
Additionally, if you do not wish to contest the Plaintiff’s claim, you don’t need to file a Memorandum of Appearance. Instead, the appropriate course of action would be to follow the demands of the Plaintiff as stated in the Writ of Summons. This could include paying the sum of money demanded and settling the claim.
How to File a Memorandum of Appearance for Civil Proceedings
The Memorandum of Appearance must be prepared in accordance with the format specified in Form 10, Appendix A of the Rules of Court. The form is available online on the eLitigation website or in hardcopy format at the CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.
The details to be included in the Memorandum of Appearance include:
- The names of the parties being sued; and
- Your residential address (if you are acting in person) or the business address and details of the law firm and solicitors (if you are represented by solicitors).
The Memorandum of Appearance must be signed by you (if you are acting in person) or your solicitor (if you are represented by solicitors). If you are a minor, lack mental capacity, or are representing a company, you must be represented by a solicitor.
The Memorandum of Appearance must be filed within 8 days after service of the Writ of Summons if you were served locally. If you have been served the Writ of Summons outside of Singapore, you have 21 days to file the Memorandum of Appearance instead.
Filing the Memorandum of Appearance with the court can be done either through the eLitigation website or at the CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.
Depending on which court the case will be held in, the fee for filing a Memorandum of Appearance in the Magistrate’s Court and District Court is $10 and $20, respectively and $100 (for claims with a value of up to $1 million) and $200 (for claims with a value of more than $1 million) at the Supreme Court. This fee is in addition to a processing fee of $4 and a transmission fee of $0.80/page.
What Do I Do after Filing the Memorandum of Appearance?
Upon filing the Memorandum of Appearance, a stamped copy of the Memorandum of Appearance will be returned to you. You are required to post this copy on the Plaintiff or his solicitor.
After that, you must file your defence in court and serve a copy of your defence on the Plaintiff, or his solicitor, within 14 days after the deadline for filing the Memorandum of Appearance.
You may still contest the validity of the Plaintiff’s service of the Writ of Summons or dispute the court’s jurisdiction if necessary.
What If I Fail to File the Memorandum of Appearance by the Deadline?
Even if the deadline has passed, it is still possible for you to file a Memorandum of Appearance provided you obtain permission from the court to do so.
However, if you fail to file the Memorandum of Appearance entirely, the Plaintiff may obtain a default judgment. This is because, the law takes it as if you had admitted to all the allegations made in the Plaintiff’s claim. If this happens, the court will usually grant the relief sought by the Plaintiff.
How to File a Memorandum of Appearance for Contested Divorces
For divorces, you are also required to file a Memorandum of Appearance if you intend to contest the divorce proceedings within 8 days of being served the Writ for Divorce (or within 21 days if you were served the Writ for Divorce overseas).
Following that, you must file your defence within 14 days after the deadline for the filing of the Memorandum of Appearance.
A Memorandum of Appearance can be filed through the eLitigation website or at the CrimsonLogic Service Bureau using Form 18 (if you are the Defendant) or Form 16 (if you are a co-defendant or a person named in a Statement of Claim) of the Family Justice Rules.
These forms may be found in Appendix A of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions or on the Family Justice Courts’ website.
Apart from the details required for the Memorandum of Appearance used in civil proceedings, Form 16 and Form 18 requires additional information.
If you are using Form 16, the following details are to be included:
- Whether you intend to defend the matter (as a co-defendant) or intervene in the matter (if you’re a person named in a Statement of Claim) by denying a specific allegation;
- The date and address at which you received the Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim; and
- Whether you wish to be heard on the costs of proceedings.
If you are using Form 18, the following details are to be included:
- Whether you intent to defend the matter;
- Whether you are a bankrupt;
- The date and address at which you received the Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim;
- Whether you consent to a judgment being granted;
- Whether you wish to be heard on all or some of the claims in the Writ of Summons;
- Whether you wish to make claims for relief in matters not dealt with in the Writ of Summons; and
- Whether you wish to make a claim for maintenance.
If you require any assistance with your lawsuit or divorce, you should consult a litigation lawyer who may be able to advise you on your defence and/or file a Memorandum of Appearance on your behalf.
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