Vinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo SliderVinaora Nivo Slider

Magistrate's Court Civil Proceedings

Civil Proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court are initiated by way of Writ of Summons. A returnable date is given to the Writ of Summons on which date all served parties are required to appear. The Plaintiff is required to file an Affidavit of Service in the Civil Registry at-least 3 clear days before the returnable date.

1. What happens in the court on a returnable date?

A. Non appearance of the Defendant

If the Defendant does not appear then, a Default Judgment may be entered against the Defendant, if the claim is a liquidated amount.Where the claim is of an unliquidated amount, however, the case may be set down for the Plaintiff to prove its case.

Note: any judgment by default may be set aside by the Magistrate upon such terms as to costs or otherwise as the Magistrate may think fit.

B. Appearance by the Defendant

Where the defendant attends court on the returnable date and admits the sum claimed by the plaintiff, Judgment by Consent may be entered against the Defendant.

C. Defendant attends Court and Disputes the Claim

  • Every Defendant who is served with a Writ of Summons is required to file with the Civil Registry a Notice of Intention to defend if the claim is not admitted.
  • If the above has not been filed then he/she may apply to the Court for time to file a Statement of Defense and the Magistrate may grant him/her the application.
  • If the Defendant has filed the Notice of Intention to Defend then , she/he will be given time to file a Statement of Defense and Counterclaim, if necessary. The Plaintiff will then be given time to Reply to Statement of Defense and Counter claim.
  • After the parties have successfully filed the papers, the court at its own discretion will order for the pre trial conference or agreed facts & issues to be determined by the court to expedite the trial.
  • A date for hearing will then be set whereby both parties will be required to produce evidence to support their case.
  • A ruling will be delivered by the Magistrate thereafter.
  • Calling of Witnesses
  • A party to any proceedings may call a witness to Court by issuing a Subpoena to compel the attendance of such person on the hearing date.
  • The Subpoena shall be served 7 clear days before the date of hearing.
  • If, before the fixed hearing date, the Plaintiff decides to discontinue any suit against all or any of the Defendants, or to withdraw any part of his alleged claim, the Plaintiff shall give notice in writing of discontinuation or withdrawal to the Registry and to every Defendant he desires to discontinue or withdraw against any defendant.
  • The Magistrates will hear the matter and deliver judgment.

D. Filing and Sealing of Order

An order of Court may be sealed/perfected/furnished by either party to the case filed with the civil registry and a copy must be served on the other parties to the case without delay.

E. Civil Appeals

i. Notice of Intention to Appeal

Any party intending to appeal a decision of the court must file within 7 days after the day on which the judgment was given,a Notice of Appeal and serve every other Party.

Provided that such notice may be given verbally to the court in the presence of the opposition, immediately after the judgment is pronounced.

ii. Security of payment of cost.

Upon receiving notice of intention to appeal,the court may in its discretion give security of cost to the satisfaction of the court in such sum as the court shall direct, either by deposit or by bond , for the payment of all such cost as may be awarded to the respondent by the appellate court.

iii. Ground Of Appeal

The appellant shall, within one month from the date of decision appeal file with the civil registry the grounds of his appeal, and shall serve a copy of the grounds of appeal on every other party.

You are here: Home Magistrates Court Registry Civil Court Procedures

Media Release

Keynote Address by Chief Justice Anthony Gates
at the Opening of the Fiji Law Society's Convention
"Fundamentals of Private Practice" 25th September 2015,
Novotel, Suva

Click here to view/download the speech.