Title

Setting Aside a Default Judgment: New Developments in Singapore

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

7-2009

Abstract

The rationale underlying the court's discretionary power to set aside a default judgment is easy to state. Where a claim is determined as a consequence of a party's failure to comply with procedural rules, that determination ought not necessarily be determinative. It ought not because the court's primary function is to determine claims on their substantive merits. To ensure that the court has power to comply with that primary purpose it ought therefore have the power to revoke, in appropriate circumstances, judgments entered in default, i.e. judgments entered on grounds other than substantive ones.The application of this power, particularly its translation into concrete rules that can be applied consistently, has not however been straightforward. Embedded in the myriad rules developed to guide the courts in exercising this jurisdiction lie distinctions between the following: (a) regular and irregular judgments; (b) arguable and triable issues; and (c) the "real prospect of success" test, the ex debito justitiae rule and the "bound to lose" test. This has led to a degree of confusion in the application of the associated tests which in turn may have obscured the true rationale behind the discretionary power to set aside default judgments. Inasmuch as Singapore derived its rules of civil procedure from England, it has been no less spared from these difficulties.

Keywords

Default judgments, setting aside, Singapore, courts, discretionary power

Discipline

Asian Studies | Courts

Research Areas

Law, Society and Governance

Publication

Civil Justice Quarterly

Volume

28

Issue

2

First Page

200

Last Page

205

ISSN

0261-9261

Publisher

Sweet and Maxwell