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To start a civil action, you must file the following documents with the Magistrates' Court Civil Section:
Writ of Summons
Statement of claims
A Writ of Summons must include the following:
Defendant's name and address;
Plaintiff's claim against the Defendant (such as the amount the Plaintiff is suing the Defendant for); and
The date for the Defendant to appear at the Magistrates' court (also known as 'mention date').
A statement of claim must contain the following:
Identifying the Plaintiff and the Defendant
The relationship between the Plaintiff and the Defendant. For example, Plaintiff is the employer and the Defendant is employee, or Plaintiff is a bank and the Defendant is someone who took a loan from the Plaintiff.
Any relevant background and essential facts to support your claim. For example, if it is a breach of contract – the terms and conditions of the contract and when the contract started, if it is against an employer's duty to ensure safety at work – what is expected of the employer, if it is a road traffic accident – how did the accident occur.
How the Defendant had wronged you. For example, the Defendant failed to pay his monthly installments for a loan, failed to ensure safety at work, or failed to drive carefully.
You are to end the statement of claim by stating clearly what orders you want the Court to make such as the amount you are claiming from the Defendant.
Unrepresented individuals / litigants-in-person may file their claim at the service bureau of the Magistrates' court or email their documents to the civil section. You may download the
checklist on the documents you are required to provide to the court. You will be informed once the writ of Summons and statement of claims have been approved.
Registered counsels are required to file in their Summons via electronic filing system (EFS) at efiling.judiciary.gov.bn.
How much is the filing fees and where can I pay the filing fees? The filing fees depend on the amount being claimed:
For litigants-in-person, they are to make the payment at the cashier counter at the Magistrates' Court. For registered counsels, they can make payment via the electronic filing system.
What do I need to do with the Writ of Summons and statement of claims once I have filed with the Magistrates' Court?The Writ of Summons and statement of claims have to be handed personally ('personally service') to the Defendant. The Summons must be brought to the attention of the Defendant for them to respond.
If the Defendant is a firm or corporation, the Writ of Summons and statement of claims can be served to any of the directors, partners, secretary, an agent within the district, by leaving the summons at the business place of the Defendant, or to anyone having control of the business.
Who can serve the summons to the Defendant?Only registered process–servers can serve the Writ of Summons and statement of claim. Litigants-in-person can seek assistance from the Civil Section for service of documents. The fees for service by the court are as follow:
An 'affidavit of service' must then be filed with the court once the summons has been served. The filing fee for an 'affidavit of service' is $16.00.
What do I need to do after a Summons has been served to the Defendant?You are required to attend court on the
What happens if the Defendant cannot be personally served?Apply to the court for 'substituted service'; you may apply to serve the Summons by way of (i) leaving at Defendant's last known address, or (ii) by way of advertisement.
10) How can I apply for 'substituted service'?
11) Do you need to engage a lawyer / counsel or can you represent yourself?Plaintiff and Defendant may represent themselves. This is called 'litigant – in – person'.
12) When should I file my claim?
It is advisable for you to file in your claim as soon as the default / breach / accident occurs. This is because there is a limitation period or time limits within which an applicant can start a civil action. For example, in a breach of contract case, the limitation period is 6 years from when the breach occurs. In a personal injury case, it is 3 years from when the accident occurs. If you bring a case after the expiry of the limitation period, the Court will inquire with you during the mention date and decide whether the claim is time-barred.
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