Bringing or Defending a Civil Case
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3. What should I do if I decide NOT to defend the case?

If you decide not to defend a case being brought against you, and the plaintiff's claim against you is for a liquidated amount, you should indicate this decision on the acknowledgment of service form. Court judgment will then be entered against you for the amount of the plaintiff's claim. If you cannot afford to pay the amount of the plaintiff's claim, you should make an application to the court for a stay of execution of the judgment (i.e. an application to delay the enforcement of the judgment against you). If you intend to do so, you should tick the appropriate box on the acknowledgment of service form. Execution of the judgment will then be delayed for a period of 14 days after you file your acknowledgment of service form. You must, within this time, make an application to court by issuing a summons, supported by an affidavit or an affirmation setting out your means. In the affidavit or affirmation, you can state any offer which you wish to make for the payment of the amount claimed by the plaintiff. For example, you can offer to pay the debt by instalments.

A sample of a summons to stay execution of judgment/order (for High Court action) can be found on website of the Judiciary. To obtain a sample of an affidavit/affirmation, please go to the Resource Centre for Unrepresented Litigants website.

Before making an application to stay the execution of the judgment, you can also approach the plaintiff directly to negotiate settlement of the plaintiff's claim.

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