Comprehensive Guide: How to Obtain a Garnishee Order and Protect Your Rights

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Comprehensive Guide: How to Obtain a Garnishee Order and Protect Your Rights

As a Singaporean business owner, understanding the procedure for obtaining a garnishee order is of the essence in your efforts to recover outstanding debts and protect your rights. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the step-by-step process outlined in Order 49 Supreme Court Rules, ensuring you have the necessary information to navigate through the legal complexities. Additionally, we will address common questions related to garnishee orders against banks, the examination of judgment debtors, and the possibility of obtaining a garnishee order against a joint bank account holder. Let's dive in!

Steps for Obtaining a Garnishee Order as per Order 49

To initiate the provisional garnishee order process, you need to follow the procedure specified in Order 49 Supreme Court Rules. Here's a breakdown of the essential steps:

Start by preparing an affidavit that includes crucial information, such as:

  • The judgment that needs to be enforced
  • The unpaid amount of the judgment debt
  • The name of the garnishee (the third party holding the debtor's assets)
  • The fact that the garnishee falls under the jurisdiction of the court
  • The fact that the garnishee is indebted to the judgment debtor
  • The source of your information and reasons for your belief

After preparing the affidavit, you can proceed to apply for a provisional order. This order effectively freezes the specified debt with the garnishee until a final order is issued. The date is then set for the garnishee to show why the order should not be permanent.

To ensure proper notification and adequate preparation, the order to show cause must be personally served on both the judgment debtor and the garnishee at least seven days before the hearing date.

In the event that the garnishee does not appear or does not dispute the debt during the hearing, the provisional order can be converted into a conclusive order.

However, if the garnishee disputes the debt, a hearing will take place where the judge will carefully consider all arguments before making an appropriate decision. In cases where another party asserts entitlement to the attached debt, their appearance may be required by the court to resolve the matter.

Once a final order is granted, the garnishee is legally obliged to pay the judgment debt to the judgment creditor. The final order can be enforced in the same manner as any other court order for the payment of money.

Securing a Bank Garnishee Order

In Singapore, obtaining a garnishee order against a bank follows the same procedure outlined under Order 49 Supreme Court Rules. However, it's important to note that banks are commonly used as garnishees due to their role in holding funds. Ensure that you provide accurate details about the bank and the debtor's account to streamline the process.

Garnishee proceedings are often pursued against banks when seeking to satisfy a judgment debt. Under Order 49 Rule 1(3) of the Rules of Court, a current or deposit account with a bank or financial institution can be attached, except for funds in an overdraft account. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps involved in obtaining a garnishee order against a bank, providing useful insights along the way.

Understanding the Bank's Role

When an individual maintains a bank account, the bank becomes a debtor owing money to that person.

By initiating proceedings for garnishee orders, the obligations of the bank shift from paying the account holder to paying the judgment creditor.

  • Joint Accounts

In the case of a joint account, the court examines whether all the funds in the account truly belong to the judgment debtor, as opposed to the other account holder(s).

We will discuss more on this later in the article.

  • Prima Facie Case

To obtain a garnishee order against the bank, it is crucial to establish a strong prima facie case indicating that all the money in the joint account indeed belongs to the judgment debtor. This can be supported by factors such as the judgment debtor being the sole contributor to the account.

Step-by-Step Process

Process Description
File a Lawsuit
Initiate legal proceedings against the judgment debtor, ensuring that you have a valid judgment in your favor.
Identify the Bank
Determine the bank where the judgment debtor holds the targeted account.
Prepare an Application
Draft a comprehensive application for the garnishee order, including relevant details of the judgment and supporting evidence.
File the Application
Submit the application to the appropriate court, adhering to the specified procedures and paying any required fees.
Serve Notice to the Bank
Properly serve the garnishee order and accompanying documents to the bank, ensuring compliance with legal requirements.

Remember, successful garnishee proceedings against a bank alter the bank's obligations. Instead of paying the account holder, the bank becomes obligated to pay the funds to the judgment creditor. By following these steps and meeting the necessary requirements, you can increase your chances of obtaining a garnishee order against the bank, helping you satisfy the judgment debt effectively.

While the process to obtain a garnishee order against a bank is similar to other garnishees, there are specific considerations to keep in mind:

Accuracy of Information

Ensure the details provided about the bank and debtor's account are accurate and up-to-date. Any errors or inconsistencies could delay the process and hinder debt recovery efforts.

Bank Cooperation

While banks are obligated to comply with valid garnishee orders, it's beneficial to establish open communication with the bank throughout the process. Clarify any requirements or documentation needed to facilitate the execution of the order smoothly.

Multiple Bank Accounts

If the debtor has multiple bank accounts, identify the specific account(s) that hold the funds you intend to garnish. Provide the necessary details for each account in your affidavit to ensure the proper freezing of funds.

Option of Examining the Judgment Debtor for Debt Recovery

When faced with difficulties in recovering a debt, one viable option is to consider examining the judgment debtor. This process involves compelling the debtor to provide detailed information about their assets and financial situation under oath. By obtaining a clearer picture of the debtor's financial standing, you can assess the feasibility of pursuing a garnishee order and determine the likelihood of successful debt recovery.

Examining the judgment debtor allows you to gather crucial information that can aid in the enforcement of the debt. Through this examination, you can uncover essential details about the debtor's assets, income sources, bank accounts, and other financial resources that can be targeted for debt recovery. It also enables you to assess the debtor's ability to satisfy the judgment, which assists in making informed decisions about the most effective enforcement methods.

To initiate an examination of the judgment debtor, you will typically need to file an application with the court. The application should outline the purpose of the examination and provide supporting evidence that demonstrates the debtor's reluctance or failure to satisfy the judgment debt. Once the application is approved, a hearing will be scheduled, and the debtor will be legally compelled to appear and provide sworn testimony about their financial affairs.

During the examination, it is crucial to ask pertinent questions related to the debtor's income, employment, assets, bank accounts, and any other relevant financial information. The debtor is required to answer these questions truthfully and provide documentation or evidence supporting their responses. This process helps uncover valuable information that can assist in determining the most appropriate course of action for debt recovery.

Garnishee Orders and Joint Account Holders

Obtaining a garnishee order against a joint account holder is indeed possible, but it's essential to understand the specific considerations involved. In such cases, the garnishment would typically apply only to the portion of funds held by the judgment debtor within the joint account. Funds contributed solely by the non-debtor joint account holder would not be subject to the garnishee order.

When applying for a garnishee order against a joint account, it is crucial to provide precise and detailed information regarding the debtor's share of the funds held in the joint account. This includes identifying the specific amount or percentage attributable to the judgment debtor. It is important to clearly establish the joint account holder's liability and ensure that the garnishment is limited to the debtor's rightful portion of the funds.


Obtaining a garnishee order can be a powerful tool for Singaporean business owners seeking to recover outstanding debts and protect their rights. By following the procedure outlined in Order 49 Supreme Court Rules, you can navigate through the legal process with confidence. Remember to prepare a comprehensive affidavit, serve the necessary orders on the judgment debtor and garnishee, and attend the hearing to resolve any disputes. Additionally, consider the examination of the judgment debtor and the possibility of garnishing funds from a joint account holder if applicable. Armed with this comprehensive guide, you are now equipped to take proactive steps towards debt recovery and safeguard the financial stability of your business.

Remember, the garnishee order process may have specific requirements and variations. It is recommended to consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance and maximize your chances of successful debt recovery.

Read also: Bankruptcy in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide to Filing and Moving Forward
Read also: Complete Guide to Hiring Property Conveyancing Lawyer In Singapore
Read also: Recovering Your Debt: Turning to Debt Collectors VS Seeking Legal Recourse


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UPDATED AS OF 24 Jul 2024
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