Summons

Summonses are applications made by parties in an action usually prior to Set Down or Trial (Form 60). Such applications are generally interlocutory in nature and can be heard ex parte (with no other parties being served with the application) or inter partes (with one or more parties being served with the application). A Summons is addressed to the opposing party informing him of the date of the hearing (where it is inter partes) and will state the order(s) sought to be obtained from the Court with the grounds of the application. A summons is usually supported by an affidavit.

Depending on the nature of the application, a Summons may be heard by a Registrar or a Judge of the High Court in chambers. Summonses before a Registrar are usually heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Summonses before a Judge of the High Court are usually heard on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Any party who is not satisfied with the judgment or order given by a Registrar on a Summons may file an appeal to a Judge of the High Court in chambers within 14 days after the judgment or order is given.

Examples of interlocutory applications include:

  • Summary Judgment
    Under Order 14 of the Rules of Court, a plaintiff (or defendant bringing a counterclaim) may proceed to obtain judgment on his claim (or counterclaim) without trial where there is plainly no defence to the claim (or counterclaim).

  • Dismissal of the action for want of prosecution
    Where a plaintiff (or defendant bringing a counterclaim) fails to prosecute his action diligently, the defendant (or plaintiff defending a counterclaim brought by the defendant) may apply to the Court to ask for the action to be dismissed for want of prosecution.

  • Provision of security for costs
    Under Order 23 Rule 1 of the Rules of Court, the Court may order that the plaintiff (or the defendant bringing a counterclaim) provide security for the defendant’s (or plaintiff’s) cost of defending the action when:
    • the plaintiff (or the defendant bringing a counterclaim) is ordinarily resident out of jurisdiction (i.e. outside Singapore);
    • the plaintiff (or the defendant bringing a counterclaim) is a nominal plaintiff who is suing for the benefit of some other person and that there is reason to believe that he will be unable to pay the costs of the defendant if ordered to do so;
    • the plaintiff’s (or the defendant bringing a counterclaim’s) address is not stated in the writ or other originating process or is incorrectly stated; or
    • the plaintiff (or the defendant bringing a counterclaim) has changed his address during the course of the proceedings with a view to evading the consequences of the litigation.
    Security may be provided either by a banker’s guarantee, payment into Court, a solicitor’s written undertaking or in such manner as the Court thinks fit.

  • Striking out of a party’s pleadings
    Under Order 18 rule 19 of the Rules of Court, a party may apply to strike out any pleading or party of a pleading if:
    • It discloses no reasonable cause of action or defence;
    • It is scandalous, frivolous or vexatious;
    • It may prejudice, embarrass or delay the fair trial of the action; or
    • It is otherwise an abuse of the process of the court.

  • Provision of Further and Better Particulars
    Where a party is of the view that the pleadings served on him by the opposing party contain insufficient information or are unclear, he may, after making a request, file an application seeking further and better particulars of the opposing party’s pleadings.

  • Further or Specific Discovery
    Where a party is of the view that the opposing party has failed to provide all the relevant documents or specific documents in the party’s power, custody or possession, he may, after making a request, file an application seeking further discovery or discovery of specific documents. If the Court deems that discovery of the documents concerned is not necessary for disposing fairly of the action or for saving costs, no order for discovery will be made; otherwise, the Court will order discovery where the documents are relevant.

 

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