If the Magistrate hearing the Magistrate’s Complaint is not able to get the parties to settle and the Complainant wishes to proceed, the Magistrate or Judge will give directions on when charges, prepared by the Complainants need to be drawn up and served on the Defendants.
The Complainant pays a nominal sum for the issuance of the Private Summons.
Basically, the Complainant will then prosecute these cases (usually through his/ her appointed counsel).
The Complainant must then formally serve the Summons on the Respondent. This is to give the Respondent notice of the Complaint started against him.
Method of service is either by personal service to the Respondent by hand, by the Complainant and an authorised person (usually Court Process Server or appointed lawyer on behalf of the Complainant).
If personal service is not possible, Court’s approval for an alternative suitable method for service should be obtained.
A Private Summons cannot be served on a Respondent who resides outside Singapore.
If the Complainant is unable to determine the Respondent’s current address, the Complaint cannot proceed.
Once the Summons is served, there is a hearing. If the Respondent pleads guilty, the Court immediately passes a sentence. If there is a trial, parties have to give their respective cases, evidence (including calling and cross-examining of witnesses) and arguments in open Court. The Court will decide in the end whether the Respondent is guilty of the offence(s) charged.