State Courts Practice Directions 2021

Part IV: CASE MANAGEMENT AND COURT ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

34. Overview of case management and court dispute resolution frameworks for civil cases

(1) Under the Rules of Court 2021, a Case Conference (“CC”) will be fixed for all Originating Claims. CCs will typically be convened around 7 weeks after a Defence is filed in the action, but the Court retains the discretion to convene a CC earlier or later as it deems necessary.

(2) Once a CC has been fixed, a notice will be sent to the claimant and any other party who has filed a notice of intention to contest or not contest and/or a Defence, informing them of the date of the CC, as well as which of the four following case management frameworks applies to the proceedings, namely:

(a) the Specially Managed Civil List (“SMCL”);

(b) the Simplified Process pursuant to Order 65 of the Rules of Court 2021 (“Simplified Process”);

(c) the General Process (“General Process”); or

(d) the Court Dispute Resolution (“CDR”) process at the Court Dispute Resolution Cluster (“CDRC”).

(3) This Part of the Practice Directions sets out the provisions relating to the abovementioned frameworks, as follows:

(a) The provisions pertaining to matters undergoing the SMCL process are provided for in Practice Direction 35.

(b) The provisions pertaining to matters undergoing the Simplified Process are provided for in Practice Direction 36.

(c) The provisions pertaining to matters undergoing the General Process are provided for in Practice Direction 37.

(d) The provisions pertaining to matters undergoing the CDR Process are provided for in Practice Directions 38 to 41.

(4) Where, at any CC or other hearing, the Court orders the production of documents, or where production is required by Orders 11 and 65 of the Rules of Court 2021, parties are to utilise Form 1 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions.

Presumption of Alternative Dispute Resolution for all civil claims

(5) A “presumption of Alternative Dispute Resolution” applies to all civil claims filed in the State Courts. For this purpose, the Court may refer appropriate matters for parties to attempt the amicable resolution of disputes through one of the Court alternative dispute resolution modalities (“Court ADR modalities”) during a CC.

(6) As the use of Court ADR modalities gives parties the opportunity to resolve their disputes faster and more economically compared to determination at trial, parties who wish to undergo Court ADR at an earlier stage must file a request using Form 2 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions.

(7) The provisions pertaining to matters undergoing Court ADR modalities are provided for in Practice Directions 38, 42 to 44.

(8) Where the Court is of the view that an ADR (including Court ADR) process is suitable, and the party/parties have opted out of the ADR process for reasons deemed to be unsatisfactory, this conduct may be taken into account by the Court when making subsequent costs orders pursuant to Order 21, Rule 2(2)(a) of the Rules of Court 2021, which states:

“In exercising its power to fix or assess costs, the Court must have regard to all relevant circumstances, including — (a) efforts made by the parties at amicable resolution;”

(9) Notwithstanding any provision of these Practice Directions, the Court may, in its discretion, direct parties to attend a CC in such manner and at such time as it deems fit.

(10) If the Court orders a party to submit a sealed document setting out the party’s reasons for refusing to attempt ADR pursuant to Order 5, Rule 3(3) of the Rules of Court 2021, the party is to file the sealed document through the Electronic Filing Service into the case file under “ADR Sealed Document” within 7 days from the date of the Court order, unless the Court otherwise directs. The “ADR Sealed Document” does not need to be served on the other party or parties to the case.

(11) The “ADR Sealed Document” will be sealed upon acceptance by the Registry. Apart from the filing party, the “ADR Sealed Document” will not be available for inspection by any other party or the Court, until the issue of the costs of the action is to be considered.

35. The SMCL Process

Scope of the SMCL Process

(1) The Specially Managed Civil List (“SMCL”) comprises cases which would benefit from a dedicated and rigorous pre-trial management process in order to bring about an expeditious resolution of the dispute. These cases will be tracked by a docketed team of judicial officers who will deal with all the pre-trial applications and give directions to facilitate the timely disposal of the dispute.

(2) Civil claims exceeding $150,000 in the following categories are included in the SMCL:

(a) Banking;

(b) Corporate Finance;

(c) Company Law;

(d) Intellectual Property;

(e) Securities;

(f) Equity and Trust;

(g) Professional Negligence;

(h) Construction Disputes;

(i) Medical Law;

(j) All cases that are transferred to the State Courts from the High Court, except for motor and industrial accident cases which undergo the Court Dispute Resolution (“CDR”) process at the Court Dispute Resolution Cluster (“CDRC”);

(k) Consolidated suits where the total claim exceeds $150,000;

(l) Representative proceedings under Order 4, Rule 6 of the Rules of Court 2021;

(m) Defamation actions commenced in the District Courts (“DC”); and

(n) Any case deemed suitable for the SMCL at the discretion of the Court or on the application of parties.

First SMCL CC

(3) Subject to the discretion of the Court, where an action has been identified for inclusion in the SMCL:

(a) The first SMCL Case Conference (“CC”) will be fixed around 7 weeks from the date that the Defence was filed.

(b) An SMCL Notice will be issued to the claimant and any other party who has filed a notice of intention to contest notifying parties that the case has been identified for the SMCL, of the date of the first SMCL CC, and directing parties to provide to the Court within a prescribed time:

(i) an update on the progress of the matter including attempts at amicable resolution; and

(ii) a list of directions sought, including the timeframe for each direction.

(c) The SMCL Notice may also include further directions from the Court, for example:

(i) For construction disputes, parties will be directed to provide a Scott Schedule setting out the respective parties’ positions on each item of claim.

(ii) For defamation actions, parties will be directed to state whether the Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation Actions has been complied with and if not, the outstanding steps to be taken.

(d) Where both parties are represented, a SMCL CC will be fixed to be conducted on a “documents-only” basis. Where at least one party is unrepresented, a physical SMCL CC will be fixed.

Subsequent SMCL CCs

(4) The Court may, at any SMCL CC, give directions for parties to file and serve the Single Application Pending Trial pursuant to Order 9, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court 2021 (“SAPT”) and/or give any directions in respect of other stand-alone applications at the SMCL CC.

(5) Further SMCL CCs may be fixed as the Court deems fit or on application by parties.

(6) Where a party intends to file any application (other than one directed at a CC and any application set out in Order 9, Rule 9(7)(a) to (o) of the Rules of Court 2021), the Court’s approval to file such applications must be sought by filing a “Request for Permission to file Application”, copied to all other parties, in accordance with Practice Direction 48(5). Where parties are of the view that it would be more appropriate for submissions to be made at a physical or remote CC, a “Request for Case Conference” may be filed in lieu of the “Request for Permission to file Application”. The “Request for Case Conference” should set out the reasons why the request for the Court’s approval to file further applications cannot or should not be dealt with asynchronously

(7) Where parties indicate at the CC that they will not be filing any SAPT but parties subsequently decide to file an SAPT, parties are to file a “Request for Permission to file Application” to inform the Court of their intention and to seek directions for the filing of the SAPT.

(8) If parties wish to extend or vary timelines previously directed by the Court, parties should seek these directions from the Court at the SMCL CC, subject to Practice Directions 48(9)(e) and (g) read with Practice Directions 48(11) to 48(13).

(9) Where the action is not disposed of by the Court or settled or otherwise resolved through the actions of the parties, the Court will at an appropriate stage give directions for the matter to be set down for trial. If the matter is set down by the date fixed by the Court, the matter will be fixed for a Pre-Trial CC and any outstanding SMCL CC will be vacated. Where the matter has been set down, parties should seek extended timelines and/or permission to file any further applications at the SMCL CC or from the trial judge if one has been allocated.

General provisions for procedure of SMCL CCs

(10) Where appropriate, the Court may at any SMCL CC refer the case to Court alternative dispute resolution (“Court ADR”) or allow time for parties to engage in any other appropriate ADR process.

(11) As far as possible, parties are to agree on the directions that they are seeking from the Court prior to any SMCL CC. If parties are unable to agree, they are to inform the Court of the items of disagreement and submit on their respective positions on each item at the SMCL CC.

(12) A party who fails to comply with the directions given and is seeking an extension of time to comply, shall inform the Court of:

(a) the reasons for the directions not having been complied with and for seeking an extension of time; and

(b) whether the other party is agreeable to the extension of time sought.

(13) If any party fails to provide the status update or list of directions sought or fails to comply with the Court’s directions, the Court may proceed to give the necessary directions to the parties, to facilitate the progress of the case.

(14) All updates and requests for directions by the parties, as well as directions given by the Court, shall be communicated to and by the Court through the Electronic Filing Service, unless the Court determines that it is necessary for the parties or their counsel to attend Court for such directions to be dealt with.

(15) If judgment is entered on liability for damages to be assessed, a further SMCL CC will be fixed around 7 weeks after the date judgment is entered. A fresh SMCL CC Notice will be issued to the claimant and any party against whom judgment on liability has been entered (if that party has filed a notice of intention to contest), notifying parties of the date of the CC, and directing parties to file the necessary documents and take the necessary steps within a prescribed time for directions to be given to move the matter towards settlement or an Assessment of Damages hearing.

36. Simplified Process under Order 65 of the Rules of Court 2021

Scope of the Simplified Process

(1) All Originating Claims filed in the Magistrate’s Court on or after 1 April 2022, save for personal injury claims, non-injury motor accident claims, claims in negligence (including professional negligence claims) and medical negligence claims, are subject to the Simplified Process under Order 65 of the Rules of Court 2021 (“Simplified Process”). Where parties to Originating Claims filed in the District Courts (“DC”) on or after 1 April 2022 consent for Order 65 to apply to those proceedings by filing Form 3 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions, those proceedings will also be subject to the Simplified Process. Where parties to a DC claim have filed Form 3 consenting to the Simplified Process, the parties shall also separately file a Request through the Electronic Filing Service for a Civil Simplified Case Conference (“CC”) to be convened.

Upfront Production of Documents

(2) Where copies of documents to be provided together with pleadings, pursuant to Order 65, Rule 2 of the Rules of Court 2021, are voluminous, parties are encouraged to consider supplying the documents in a common electronic format and using storage media that the other party can use.

CCs under the Simplified Process (“Civil Simplified CC”)

Before the first Civil Simplified CC

(3) Subject to the discretion of the Court, where a case is identified for the Simplified Process:

(a) A first Civil Simplified CC will be fixed around 7 weeks from the date that the Defence was filed.

(b) A Civil Simplified CC Notice will be issued to the claimant and any other party who has filed a notice of intention to contest notifying parties that the case has been identified for the Simplified Process, of the date of the first Civil Simplified CC, and directing parties to file the necessary documents and take the necessary steps within a prescribed time for the purposes of the Civil Simplified CC.

(c) Where both parties are represented, a Civil Simplified CC will be fixed to be conducted by remote hearing via video conferencing. Where at least one party is unrepresented, a physical Civil Simplified CC will be fixed.

(4) Parties should, 7 days prior to the first Civil Simplified CC:

(a) in addition to the requirements set out in Order 5, Rule 1(2) of the Rules of Court 2021, exchange proposals in writing using Form 4 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions on a “without prejudice save as to costs” basis for the amicable resolution of the matter; and

(b) file through the Electronic Filing Service:

(i) Form 5 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions stating the list of issues in the dispute and the list of witnesses they intend to call in support of their case;

(ii) the Court ADR Form (Form 6 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions) in order to facilitate a considered decision on Court alternative dispute resolution (“Court ADR”) options. The Court ADR Form must be read and completed by each party. If there is a solicitor acting for the party, the solicitor must also complete the Form; and

(iii) the completed checklist enclosed with the Civil Simplified CC Notice.

(5) The purpose of the Civil Simplified CC is for the Court to consider all available options for the resolution of the case jointly with the parties. In order for the Civil Simplified CC to be effective and fruitful, the solicitors having conduct of the matter should take all necessary instructions from their clients to achieve an amicable resolution of the matter (including exploring the use of any appropriate Court ADR modality), and comply with all directions (including those at Practice Direction 36(3) above), prior to attending the first Civil Simplified CC.

At the Civil Simplified CC

(6) At the Civil Simplified CCs, the Court may manage the case by, amongst others:

(a) encouraging the parties to co-operate in the conduct of the proceedings;

(b) assisting the parties to identify and narrow the issues at an early stage;

(c) dealing with any interlocutory issues, including giving such directions for discovery or for the parties to file the Single Application Pending Trial pursuant to Order 9, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court 2021 (“SAPT”) as may be necessary;

(d) considering with the parties whether the likely benefits of any step proposed to be taken by a party would justify the costs that will be incurred;

(e) encouraging the parties to negotiate to resolve the issues and/or case, and/or to undergo the appropriate Court ADR modality, as well as facilitating the use of such Court ADR modality having regard to Order 5, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court 2021;

(f) helping the parties to settle the whole or part of the case;

(g) giving such directions as the Court thinks fit in order to ensure that the case progresses expeditiously (including directions for the case to proceed to trial);

(h) fixing timelines to manage and control the progress of the case; and

(i) taking such other action or making such other direction as the Court thinks appropriate in the circumstances including costs sanctions or unless orders.

(7) With the introduction of the concept of the SAPT pursuant to Order 2, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court 2021, the Court may, at or prior to any Civil Simplified CC, give directions for parties to file the SAPT and also give any directions in respect of other stand-alone applications.

(8) Following from the above directions, the Court may also, if necessary, fix a further Civil Simplified CC, direct parties to provide further status updates to ascertain compliance with the directions given at previous Civil Simplified CCs and give further directions as may be necessary.

(9) Where a party intends to file any application (other than one directed at a CC and any application set out in Order 9, Rule 9(7)(a) to (o) of the Rules of Court 2021), the Court’s approval to file such applications must be sought by filing a “Request for Permission to file Application”, copied to all other parties, in accordance with Practice Direction 48(5). Where parties are of the view that it would be more appropriate for submissions to be made at a physical or remote CC, a “Request for Case Conference” may be filed in lieu of the “Request for Permission to file Application”. The “Request for Case Conference” should set out the reasons why the request for the Court’s approval to file further applications cannot or should not be dealt with asynchronously.

(10) Where parties indicate at the CC that they will not be filing any SAPT but parties subsequently decide to file an SAPT, parties are to file a “Request for Permission to file Application” to inform the Court of their intention and to seek directions for the filing of the SAPT.

(11) If parties wish to extend or vary timelines previously directed by the Court, parties should seek these directions from the Court at the Civil Simplified CC, subject to Practice Directions 48(9)(e) and (g) read with Practice Directions 48(11) to 48(13).

(12) Where the action is not disposed of by the Court or settled or otherwise resolved through the actions of the parties, the Court will at an appropriate stage give directions for the matter to be set down for trial. After the matter is set down, the matter will be fixed for a Pre-Trial CC.

General provisions for Civil Simplified CCs

(13) As far as possible, parties are to agree on the directions that they are seeking from the Court prior to any Civil Simplified CC. If parties are unable to agree, they are to inform the Court of the items of disagreement and submit on their respective positions on each item at the Civil Simplified CC.

(14) A party who fails to comply with the directions given and is seeking an extension of time to comply, shall inform the Court of

(a) the reasons for the non-compliance and extension of time sought; and

(b) whether the other party is agreeable to the extension of time sought.

(15) In order that parties benefit fully from the process of the Civil Simplified CC, adjournment(s) of any CC will not be granted without good reason. Consent of both parties to the adjournment, without more, is not considered sufficient reason for an adjournment. Practice Direction 46 below sets out the procedure for seeking adjournments or vacation of hearing dates.

(16) The Court will consider, at each Civil Simplified CC, all available options in the case jointly with the parties. Accordingly, at any Civil Simplified CC where the attendance of parties is required, the solicitor in charge of the case for that party (ie, the solicitor who has actual conduct of the case for that party and who is familiar with it) shall attend the Civil Simplified CC. Solicitors for both parties shall attend the Civil Simplified CC.

(17) If judgment is entered on liability for damages to be assessed, an Assessment of Damages CC will be fixed around 7 weeks after the date judgment is entered. A CC Notice will be issued to the claimant and any party against whom judgment on liability has been entered (if that party has filed a notice of intention to contest) notifying parties of the date of the CC, and directing parties to file the necessary documents and take the necessary steps within a prescribed time for directions to be given to move the matter towards settlement or an Assessment of Damages hearing.

37. General Process

Scope of the General Process

(1) All Originating Claims filed in the District Courts on or after 1 April 2022 that are not subject to the Specially Managed Civil List (“SMCL”), Simplified Process or Court Dispute Resolution (“CDR”) Process will be subject to the General Process described in this Practice Direction.

General Process CCs and SAPT

(2) Subject to the discretion of the Court, where a case is identified for the General Process:

(a) A first General Process Case Conference (“CC”) will be fixed around 7 weeks from the date that the Defence was filed.

(b) A General Process CC Notice will be issued to the claimant and any other party who has filed a notice of intention to contest and/or Defence, notifying parties that the case has been identified for the General Process, of the date of the first General Process CC, and directing parties to file the necessary documents and take the necessary steps within a prescribed time for the purposes of the General Process CC.

(c) Where at least one party is unrepresented, a physical General Process CC will be fixed, at which parties are to submit on directions to be obtained and contemplated applications under the Single Application Pending Trial pursuant to Order 9, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court 2021 (“SAPT”). Where both parties are represented, a CC will be fixed, to be conducted on a “documents-only” basis, unless otherwise directed by the Court. For CCs conducted on a “documents-only” basis, all updates and requests for directions by the parties, as well as directions given by the Court, shall be communicated to and by the Court through the Electronic Filing Service.

(3) The Court may at the first General Process CC give directions for the filing of the SAPT.

(4) Where a party intends to file any application (other than one directed at a CC and any application set out in Order 9, Rule 9(7)(a) to (o) of the Rules of Court 2021), the Court’s approval to file such applications must be sought by filing a “Request for Permission to file Application”, copied to the other party, in accordance with Practice Direction 48(5). Where parties are of the view that it would be more appropriate for submissions to be made at a physical or remote CC, a “Request for Case Conference” may be filed in lieu of the “Request for Permission to file Application”. The “Request for Case Conference” should set out the reasons why the request for the Court’s approval to file further applications cannot be dealt with asynchronously.

(5) Where parties indicate at the CC that they will not be filing any SAPT but parties subsequently decide to file an SAPT, parties are to file a “Request for Permission to file Application” to inform the Court of their intention and to seek directions for the filing of the SAPT.

(6) If parties wish to extend or vary timelines previously directed by the Court, parties should seek these directions from the Court at the General Process CC, subject to Practice Directions 48(9)(e) and (g) read with Practice Directions 48(11) to 48(13).

(7) Where the action is not disposed of by the Court or settled or otherwise resolved through the actions of the parties, the Court will at an appropriate stage give directions for the matter to be set down for trial. If the matter is set down by the date fixed by the Court, the matter will be fixed for Pre-Trial CC and the further General Process CC will be vacated. Where the matter has been set down, parties should seek extended timelines and/or permission to file any further applications at the Pre-Trial CC or from the trial judge if one has been allocated.

(8) If judgment is entered on liability for damages to be assessed, an Assessment of Damages CC will be fixed around 7 weeks after the date judgment is entered. A CC Notice will be issued to the claimant and the parties against whom judgment on liability has been entered notifying parties of the date of the CC, and directing parties to file the necessary documents and take the necessary steps within a prescribed time for directions to be given to move the matter towards settlement or an Assessment of Damages hearing.

General provisions for General Process CCs

(9) Where appropriate, the Court can at any General Process CC refer the case to CDRC for Court alternative dispute resolution or to any other appropriate ADR process.

(10) As far as possible, parties are to agree on the directions that they are seeking from the Court prior to any General Process CC. If parties are unable to agree, they are to inform the Court of the items of disagreement and their respective positions on each item at the General Process CC.

(11) The Court may require the parties to provide submissions explaining the reasons for the directions sought, if:

(a) there is a dispute between the parties on the directions sought; or

(b) if the Court determines that such submissions are necessary, before the Court proceeds to give its directions.

(12) A party who fails to comply with the directions given and is seeking an extension of time to comply, shall inform the Court of:

(a) the reasons for the directions not having been complied with and for seeking an extension of time; and

(b) whether the other party is agreeable to the extension of time sought.

38. Overview of the Court Dispute Resolution case management process (CDR Process) and the use of Court Alternative Dispute Resolution (Court ADR) modalities for civil cases

Court Dispute Resolution process for personal injury claims, non-injury motor accident claims, medical negligence claims and claims in negligence

(1) The Court Dispute Resolution process (“the CDR Process”) will be adopted in the case management of the following types of claims —

(a) all personal injury claims, non-injury motor accident (“NIMA”) claims, claims arising out of an alleged negligent act or omission in connection with medical or dental diagnosis or treatment (“medical negligence claims”) and claims in negligence, including professional negligence claims, that are filed in the Magistrates’ Courts and the District Courts; and

(b) all motor accident claims (whether or not involving any claim for personal injuries) and personal injury claims arising out of an industrial accident that are commenced in the General Division of the High Court on or after 1 April 2022 and transferred to the District Courts (references to personal injury and NIMA claims would hereinafter include these claims).

(2) For claims subject to the CDR Process, the Court will convene a CDR Case Conference (“CDR CC”) upon the filing of the notice of intention to contest the claim.

(3) The procedure and protocol set out in Practice Direction 39 shall apply to personal injury and NIMA claims.

(4) The procedure and protocol set out in Practice Direction 40 shall apply to medical negligence claims.

(5) The procedure set out in Practice Direction 41 shall apply to claims in negligence, including professional negligence claims.

Court ADR Modalities

(6) The Court alternative dispute resolution modalities (“Court ADR modalities”) referred to in Practice Direction 34(5) are—

(a) Mediation;

(b) Conciliation; and

(c) Neutral Evaluation.

(Solicitors may refer to the Singapore Courts website at https://www.judiciary.gov.sg for more information on these modalities.)

The Court Dispute Resolution Cluster (“CDRC”) oversees the provision of Court ADR modalities.

(7) As the primary aim of Court ADR is to facilitate open and frank discussions between parties to achieve an amicable resolution of their dispute, all communications made in the course of a Court ADR hearing shall be marked by the Judge as being confidential or without prejudice, save for the terms of settlement agreement (unless expressly agreed by all the parties to the settlement as being confidential), consent judgments and consent orders of Court.

(8) The procedure set out in Practice Direction 42 shall apply to mediation hearings.

(9) The procedure set out in Practice Direction 43 shall apply to conciliation hearings

(10) The procedure set out in Practice Direction 44 shall apply to neutral evaluation hearings.

39. Personal Injury Claims and Non-injury Motor Accident (“NIMA”) Claims

Compliance with pre-action protocol

Personal injury claims

(1) In this Practice Direction, “personal injury claims” —

(a) refers generally to all claims for personal injuries arising out of motor vehicle accidents (“PIMA”), industrial accidents, and claims in negligence, including professional negligence claims, but excludes claims where the pleadings contain an allegation of a negligent act or omission in connection with medical or dental diagnosis or treatment, that are filed in the Magistrates’ Court and the District Courts; and

(b) where action is contemplated or commenced in the General Division of the High Court which is to be transferred to the District Courts, refers to PIMA and industrial accident claims only.

(2) Claimants in all personal injury claims must comply with the pre-action protocol for personal injury and non-injury motor accident claims set out in Appendix B to these Practice Directions (“PI/NIMA pre-action protocol”) before commencing court proceedings.

(3) For all PIMA and industrial accident claims where action is contemplated in the General Division of the High Court and which is to be transferred to the District Courts, claimants must comply with the PI/NIMA pre-action protocol for accidents occurring on or after 1 December 2016, before commencing court proceedings.

Non-injury motor accident (“NIMA”) claims

(4) Claimants in all NIMA claims must comply with the PI/NIMA pre-action protocol before commencing court proceedings.

(5) For NIMA claims where action is contemplated in the General Division of the High Court and which is to be transferred to the District Courts, claimants must comply with the PI/NIMA pre-action protocol for motor accidents occurring on or after 1 December 2016, before commencing court proceedings.

Duty to comply

(6) All parties must comply, where applicable, in substance and spirit with the terms of the PI/NIMA pre-action protocol. A breach by one party will not exempt the other parties in the claim from following the applicable protocol.

(7) In exercising its discretion and powers as to costs, the Court will have regard to the extent to which the PI/NIMA pre-action protocol has been complied with by the parties. If non-compliance has led to unnecessary costs and interest payable, the Court may make the following orders:

(a) an order disallowing a defaulting party his costs, or some part of his costs, even if he succeeds;

(b) an order that the defaulting party pay the other party or parties their costs of the proceedings, or part of those costs;

(c) an order that the defaulting party pay those costs on an indemnity basis.

(8) In all cases to which the PI/NIMA pre-action protocol applies, the Court will not impose sanctions where there are good reasons for non-compliance.

Court Dispute Resolution Case Conferences for all personal injury claims and NIMA claims

(9) For all personal injury claims and NIMA claims filed in the Magistrates’ Courts or the District Courts as well as all personal injury claims and NIMA claims filed in the General Division of the High Court on or after 1 April 2022 which are transferred to the District Courts, the Court will convene the first Court Dispute Resolution Case Conference (“CDR CC”) under Order 9, Rule 1(2) of the Rules of Court 2021 within 6 weeks after the filing of the notice of intention to contest the claim.

(10) The objective of the CDR CC is to facilitate the amicable resolution of disputes without trial through the provision of an early neutral evaluation (“ENE”) on the merits of the case and judge-directed negotiations undergirded by judge-led case management by taking control of and setting the timelines as well as giving directions for the proceedings.

First CDR CC

(11) Solicitors must comply with the relevant CDR CC guidelines set out in Appendix C to these Practice Directions when preparing for and attending a CDR CC for personal injury claims and NIMA claims.

(12) As the CDR CC may be conducted by email, or through other electronic means, details concerning the applicable email account or other means of communication with the Court in each case, where applicable, will be provided in the relevant correspondence by the State Courts to the parties. Where it is necessary in the circumstances of the case, the Court retains the discretion to direct the personal attendance of solicitors and parties at the CDR CC.

Subsequent CDR CCs

(13) At the CDR CC, the Court will give appropriate directions and fix a further CDR CC as necessary. This may include giving the necessary directions for parties to prepare for the ENE at the next CDR CC date, directing the negotiation process between parties, and giving case management directions to ensure the timely progress of the case to facilitate an early amicable resolution of the dispute.

(14) If the matter is not disposed of by the Court or settled or otherwise resolved through the actions of the parties in the course of the CDR CC process, the Court may make such orders or give such directions as it thinks fit including directions for the filing and exchange of affidavits of evidence-in-chief, appointment of a single joint expert (for actions commenced in the Magistrates’ Courts) and any other necessary directions to bring the proceedings to trial.

Request for adjournment of CDR CC

(15) A dedicated time slot is set aside for each CDR CC. In order to minimise wastage of time and resources, a request to adjourn a CDR CC for personal injury claims and NIMA claims shall be made not less than 2 working days before the date of the CDR CC in the manner provided in the relevant correspondence by the State Courts to the parties.

Sanction for absence of parties

(16) Where no party attends the CDR CC, or if the claimant is absent, the Court may exercise its powers under Order 9, Rule 4(1) of the Rules of Court 2021 to dismiss the action.

(17) If the parties reach agreement on the issue of liability for the claim or quantum of damages or both, they must submit Form 7 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions to the Court to record the terms of settlement agreement or to enter a consent judgment on liability or consent judgment as the case may be.

Benchmark rates for cost of rental and loss of use

(18) Where the dispute involves a claim for damages in respect of a motor accident for cost of rental of a replacement vehicle and/or loss of use, parties shall have regard to the Benchmark Rates for Cost of Rental and Loss of Use at Appendix D of these Practice Directions.

(19) The Benchmark Rates are meant to serve as a starting point and adjustments may be made according to the circumstances of each case.

40. Medical Negligence Claims

Compliance with Protocol for Medical Negligence Claims

(1) In this Practice Direction, “medical negligence claims” refers generally to all claims arising out of an alleged negligent act or omission in connection with medical or dental diagnosis or treatment.

(2) Parties in medical negligence claims must comply with the terms of the Protocol for Medical Negligence Claims at Appendix E of these Practice Directions (“the protocol”) both in substance and spirit. A breach by one party will not exempt the other parties in the claim from following the protocol.

(3) In exercising its discretion as to costs, the Court will consider compliance with the protocol. If non-compliance with the protocol has led to unnecessary costs, the Court may make, inter alia, the following orders:

(a) an order disallowing a defaulting party his costs, or some part of his costs, even if he succeeds;

(b) an order that the defaulting party pay the other party or parties their costs of the proceedings, or part of those costs; and

(c) an order that the defaulting party pay those costs on an indemnity basis.

Court Dispute Resolution Case Conferences for medical negligence claims

(4) For all medical negligence claims, the Court will convene the first Court Dispute Resolution Case Conference (“CDR CC”) under Order 9, Rule 1(2) of the Rules of Court 2021 within 6 weeks after the filing of the notice of intention to contest the claim.

(5) The objective of the CDR CC is to facilitate the amicable resolution of disputes without trial through the provision of an early neutral evaluation (“ENE”) on the merits of the case and judge-directed negotiation undergirded by judge-led case management by taking control of and setting the timelines as well as giving directions for the proceedings.

First CDR CC

(6) As the CDR CC may be conducted by email, or through other electronic means, details concerning the applicable email account or other means of communication with the Court in each case, where applicable, will be provided in the relevant correspondence by the State Courts to the parties. Where it is necessary in the circumstances of the case, the Court retains the discretion to direct the personal attendance of solicitors and parties at the CDR CC.

Subsequent CDR CCs

(7) At the CDR CC, the Court will give appropriate directions and fix a further CDR CC as necessary. This may include giving the necessary directions for parties to prepare for the ENE at the next CDR CC date, directing the negotiation process between parties, and giving case management directions to ensure the timely progress of the case to facilitate an early amicable resolution of the dispute.

(8) If the matter is not disposed of by the Court or settled or otherwise resolved through the actions of the parties in the course of the CDR CC process, the Court may make such orders or give such directions as it thinks fit including directions for the filing and exchange of affidavits of evidence-in-chief, and any other necessary directions to bring the proceedings to trial.

Request for adjournment of CDR CC

(9) A dedicated time slot is set aside for each CDR CC. In order to minimise wastage of time and resources, a request to adjourn a CDR CC for medical negligence claims shall be made not less than 2 working days before the date of the CDR CC in the manner provided in the relevant correspondence by the State Courts to the parties.

Sanction for absence of parties

(10) Where no party attends the CDR CC, or if the claimant is absent, the Court may exercise its powers under Order 9, Rule 4(1) of the Rules of Court 2021 to dismiss the action.

(11) If the parties reach agreement on the issue of liability for the claim or quantum of damages or both, they must submit Form 7 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions to the Court to record the terms of settlement agreement or to enter a consent judgment on liability or consent judgment as the case may be.

41. Claims in negligence (excluding medical negligence, personal injury and non-injury motor accident (“NIMA”) claims)

(1) This Practice Direction applies to all claims in negligence filed on or after 1 April 2022, including professional negligence claims (but excluding medical negligence, personal injury and non-injury motor accident (“NIMA”) claims) (“claims in negligence”).

Court Dispute Resolution Case Conferences for all claims in negligence

(2) For all claims in negligence, the Court will convene the first Court Dispute Resolution Case Conference (“CDR CC”) under Order 9, Rule 1(2) of the Rules of Court 2021 within 6 weeks after the filing of the notice of intention to contest the claim.

(3) The objective of the CDR CC is to facilitate early, cost effective and amicable resolution of the claim through the provision of an early neutral evaluation (“ENE”) on the merits of the case and judge-directed negotiations undergirded by judge-led case management by taking control of and setting the timelines as well as giving directions for the proceedings.

First CDR CC

(4) As the CDR CC may be conducted by email, or through other electronic means, details concerning the applicable email account or other means of communication with the Court in each case, where applicable, will be provided in the relevant correspondence by the State Courts to the parties. Where it is necessary in the circumstances of the case, the Court retains the discretion to direct the personal attendance of solicitors and parties at the CDR CC.

Subsequent CDR CCs

(5) At the CDR CC, the Court will give appropriate directions and fix a further CDR CC as necessary. This may include giving the necessary directions for parties to prepare for the ENE at the next CDR CC date, guiding the negotiation process between parties, and giving case management directions to ensure the timely progress of the case to facilitate an early amicable resolution of the dispute.

(6) The Court may also refer appropriate matters to one of the Court Alternative Dispute Resolution modalities (“Court ADR modalities”) and recommend the use of neutral evaluation, mediation or conciliation, as appropriate, to facilitate the amicable resolution of the case, having regard to factors such as the nature of the case, the factual matrix and the preference of the parties.

(7) If the matter is not disposed of by the Court or settled or otherwise resolved through the actions of the parties in the course of the CDR CC process, the Court may make such orders or give such directions as it thinks fit including directions for the filing and exchange of affidavits of evidence-in-chief, appointment of a single joint expert (for actions commenced in the Magistrates’ Court) and any other necessary directions to bring the proceedings to trial.

Request for adjournment of CDR CC

(8) A dedicated time slot is set aside for each CDR CC. In order to minimise wastage of time and resources, a request to adjourn a CDR CC for claims in negligence shall be made not less than 2 working days before the date of the CDR CC in the manner provided in the relevant correspondence by the State Courts to the parties.

Sanction for absence of parties

(9) Where no party attends the CDR CC, or if the claimant is absent, the Court may exercise its powers under Order 9, Rule 4(1) of the Rules of Court 2021 to dismiss the action.

(10) If the parties reach agreement on the issue of liability for the claim or quantum of damages or both, they must submit Form 7 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions to the Court to record the terms of settlement agreement or to enter a consent judgment on liability or consent judgment as the case may be.

42. Mediation

(1) The aim of mediation is not to determine who is at fault in the dispute. Rather, the mediator will assist the parties in negotiating and agreeing on a possible settlement to their dispute. Parties who are legally represented will attend the mediation hearing with their solicitors, and have the opportunity to communicate with each other as well as the mediator.

Opening statements

(2) Each party must submit to the Court Dispute Resolution Cluster (“CDRC”), and serve on all other parties, a written opening statement not less than 2 working days before the date of the first mediation hearing.

(3) The opening statement shall be in the format prescribed in Form 8 in Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions.

(4) The opening statement shall be concise and not exceed 10 pages.

Attendance at mediation

(5) All parties shall attend the mediation hearing in person, even if represented by counsel.

(6) The solicitor who has primary conduct over the case shall be present throughout the mediation hearing.

(7) In the case of corporations and other entities, the representative who has the authority to settle the dispute shall attend the mediation hearing. In the event that only a board or body has authority to settle on behalf of the entity, the entity shall send the person who is the most knowledgeable about the case and who is able to recommend a settlement to the representative’s board or body.

Mediators

(8) Mediation will be conducted by either a Judge or a Court Volunteer Mediator. Court Volunteer Mediators are experienced mediators who have been appointed by the State Courts. The parties will be notified by correspondence if their case is to be mediated by a Court Volunteer Mediator.

Procedure at Mediation

(9) More information on the mediation process and relevant procedure is set out at the Singapore Courts website at https://www.judiciary.gov.sg.

43. Conciliation

(1) The aim of conciliation is not to determine who is at fault in the dispute. The role of the conciliator during the conciliation hearing is to assist the parties in negotiating and agreeing on a possible settlement to their dispute, with the conciliator playing an active role in suggesting an optimal solution for the parties. Parties who are legally represented will attend the conciliation hearing with their solicitors and have the opportunity to communicate with each other as well as the conciliator.

Opening statements

(2) Each party must submit to the Court Dispute Resolution Cluster (“CDRC”), and serve on all other parties, a written opening statement not less than 2 working days before the date of the first conciliation hearing.

(3) The opening statement shall be in the format prescribed in Form 8 in Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions.

(4) The opening statement shall be concise and not exceed 10 pages. It should contain the suggested solution(s) of the dispute by the party submitting the opening statement.

Attendance at conciliation

(5) All parties shall attend the conciliation hearing in person, even if represented by counsel.

(6) The solicitor who has primary conduct over the case shall be present throughout the conciliation hearing.

(7) In the case of corporations and other entities, the representative who has the authority to settle the dispute shall attend the conciliation hearing. In the event that only a board or body has authority to settle on behalf of the entity, the entity shall send the person who is the most knowledgeable about the case and who is able to recommend a settlement to the representative’s board or body.

(8) Conciliation will be conducted by a Judge of the CDRC.

Procedure at Conciliation

(9) More information on the conciliation process and relevant procedure is set out at the Singapore Courts website at https://www.judiciary.gov.sg.

44. Neutral Evaluation

(1) The procedure in this Practice Direction applies only to civil cases where parties have requested for Neutral Evaluation as a Court alternative dispute resolution modality. It does not apply to personal injury claims, motor accident claims, medical negligence claims and other claims in negligence.

(2) Neutral Evaluation involves the parties and their solicitors making presentations of their claims and defences, including the available evidence, followed by the Judge of the Court Dispute Resolution Cluster (“CDRC”) giving an assessment of the merits of the case. This process is also useful for helping parties to arrive at areas of agreement and to discuss methods of case management to save costs and time. The details of the structure and ambit of this process may be agreed between the parties at the preliminary conference referred to in paragraph (3) below.

Preliminary conference with solicitors

(3) When parties request a Neutral Evaluation, the Court will convene a preliminary conference, with only solicitors in attendance, to discuss and agree on several options regarding the process before the date for Neutral Evaluation is fixed, being —

(a) whether the outcome of the Neutral Evaluation is to be binding or non-binding;

(b) whether the witnesses are to attend and be assessed by the Court; and

(c) whether affidavits of evidence-in-chief of witnesses are to be filed and used for the neutral evaluation, with or without witnesses’ attendance.

(4) If the option referred to in sub-paragraph (3)(b) above is chosen, the Judge may order that all or some of the expert witnesses testify as a panel to adduce expert evidence. Testifying as a panel involves the concurrent hearing of all expert witnesses in the presence of one another. Each party’s expert witness would be afforded the opportunity to question, clarify or probe any contending views proffered by the other expert.

Opening Statements

(5) Each party must submit to the CDRC, and serve on all other parties, a written opening statement not less than 2 working days before the date of the Neutral Evaluation.

(6) The opening statement shall be in the format prescribed in Form 9 in Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions.

(7) The opening statement shall be concise and not exceed 10 pages.

Attendance at Neutral Evaluation

(8) All parties shall attend the Neutral Evaluation hearing in person, even if represented by counsel, unless the Court dispenses with their attendance.

(9) The solicitor who has primary conduct over the case shall be present throughout the Neutral Evaluation hearing.

Procedure in Neutral Evaluation

(10) More information on the Neutral Evaluation process and relevant procedure is set out at the Singapore Courts website at https://www.judiciary.gov.sg.

45. Assessment of Damages

Convening of Assessment of Damages Case Conference

(1)(1) Where judgment on liability is entered in any action in the State Courts, in which bifurcation was ordered, for damages to be assessed or for the taking of accounts, an Assessment of Damages Case Conference (“Assessment CC”) will be fixed around 7 weeks after the date on which judgment on liability is entered. An Assessment CC Notice will be issued to the claimant and any party against whom judgment on liability has been entered (if that party has filed a notice of intention to contest), notifying parties of the date of the Assessment CC, and directing parties to file the necessary documents and take the necessary steps within a prescribed time for directions to be given to move the matter towards settlement or an Assessment of Damages hearing.

(2) At the Assessment CC, and upon an application by the party entitled to the benefit of the judgment in accordance with Order 15, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court 2021, the Court will give such directions as are necessary including, but not limited to, directions for:

(a) the production of documents for the Assessment of Damages hearing;

(b) the filing and exchange of affidavits of evidence-in-chief for the Assessment of Damages hearing; and

(c) the filing of any notice of appointment for assessment of damages (“NOAD”).

(2A) In addition to the directions listed in sub-paragraph 2 above, directions for a Single Application Pending Trial (“SAPT”) to be filed may also be given at an Assessment CC, even if an SAPT has previously been filed in the liability phase of proceedings by a party. In both phases, in accordance with the Ideals in Order 3, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court 2021, the Court has the discretion to order a single application dealing with all matters that are necessary for the case to proceed expeditiously towards trial or assessment.

Convening of Assessment of Damages Court Dispute Resolution Conferences

(3) The Court will generally convene the first Assessment of Damages Court Dispute Resolution Conference (“ADCDR”) within 4 weeks after the filing and acceptance of the NOAD.

(4) The Court retains the discretion to reject the filing of a NOAD when any of the following requirements are not satisfied prior to the filing of said NOAD:

(a) All affidavits of evidence-in-chief and/or expert reports which parties intend to rely on at the Assessment of Damages have been duly exchanged at least 5 working days before the filing of the NOAD.

(b) The Checklist for ADCDR in Form 10 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions (“Checklist”) has been duly completed by all legally represented parties taking part in the proceedings and filed as a supporting document to the NOAD. (Please note that the claimant need not obtain the endorsement of unrepresented individuals/entities for the purposes of completing the Checklist.)

(c) The NOAD is filed within the timeline for filing as stipulated by the Court in an order or otherwise directed.

(5) If parties provide inaccurate confirmations in the Checklist filed, the Court may, at an appropriate juncture:

(a) strike off the NOAD and the Checklist; and/or

(b) vacate ADCDR(s) commenced as a result of the inaccurate confirmations provided.

Conduct of ADCDRs

(6) At ADCDRs, the Court will: —

(a) facilitate settlement between parties;

(b) provide neutral evaluations of quantum of damages; and/or

(c) conduct a final check on the status of the proceedings between the parties to ensure that they are ready for the Assessment of Damages hearing.

(7) All ADCDRs are to be conducted on a documents-only basis through the Electronic Filing Service, electronic mail or any other electronic means in accordance with Registrar’s Circular No. 13 of 2020.

(8) For the avoidance of doubt, the Court at all times retains the full discretion to direct parties to attend a physical hearing or remote hearing via video or telephone conferencing where it deems fit. Parties may make written requests to Court for hearings to be conducted via video conferencing or in person.

(9) Subject to the discretion of the Court, neutral evaluations will only be given in matters where the claimant and at least one other party is represented and will only be given for claims relating to:

(a) damages for pain and suffering arising from personal injuries suffered by a claimant;

(b) loss of future earnings and/or loss of earning capacity; and/or

(c) loss of dependency under section 20 of the Civil Law Act 1909 (“Civil Law Act”).

(10) At the first ADCDR, all parties should be in a position to assess the relative merits of their cases to facilitate a settlement with all relevant information at their disposal.

(11) For matters falling within Practice Direction 45(9), parties are to submit to the Court, before the first ADCDR, the Quantum Neutral Evaluation Form in Form 11 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions for neutral evaluation of such heads of claim in accordance with Registrar’s Circular No. 13 of 2020.

(12) Upon submission of a duly completed Quantum Neutral Evaluation Form, the Court will proceed on the hearing date to —

(a) consider the Quantum Neutral Evaluation Form submitted by the specified deadline and/or the documents referred to therein without the attendance of parties or their solicitor(s) and provide a neutral evaluation; and/or

(b) issue directions, fix the matter for a further hearing and/or fix the matter for an Assessment of Damages hearing.

(13) In the event that one party’s position is not stated within the Quantum Neutral Evaluation Form filed by the specified deadline before any hearing date, the Court will not provide a neutral evaluation. Instead, the Court may —

(a) issue directions and fix the matter for a further hearing; or

(b) vacate the ADCDR and fix the matter for an Assessment of Damages hearing.

(14) If the case is not one for which a neutral evaluation will be given, or if parties decide not to obtain a neutral evaluation from the Court, parties are to update the Court at the first ADCDR on whether there are any on-going negotiations and seek directions on the same, or inform the Court of their availability so an Assessment of Damages hearing may be fixed.

(15) After the first ADCDR, parties may generally expect 2 to 5 more ADCDR hearings before directions moving the matter towards an Assessment of Damages are given.

(16) During the ADCDR process, if there is no settlement or if the Court thinks fit, the Court may —

(a) direct that the matter should proceed for an Assessment of Damages hearing; and/or

(b) make such orders or give such directions as it thinks fit for the just, expeditious and economical disposal of the matter.

(17) If parties wish to request for an adjournment of an ADCDR, they are to do so at least 5 working days before the date of the ADCDR by way of a “Other Hearing Related Request” filed under the specific Assessment of Damages Sub-Case No. as found in the accepted copy of the NOAD.

Fixing of Assessment of Damages Hearings

(18) In all requests for Assessment of Damages hearing dates during the ADCDR process, parties should:

(a) specify whether parties require a half-day hearing slot or a shorter hearing slot (as may be suitable where, for example, no defendant or intervener is expected to attend or make contesting submissions at the Assessment of Damages hearing);

(b) provide the unavailable dates of all parties (if possible); and

(c) specify the name of the Deputy Registrar who provided a neutral evaluation (if any) in the matter or that no neutral evaluation was given.

(19) Notwithstanding any other provision of these Practice Directions, in all Assessment of Damages hearings fixed before a Registrar in Chambers, and unless otherwise directed by the Court —

(a) the claimant shall, within 3 weeks prior to the date of the Assessment of Damages hearing, serve on the defendant a draft Joint Opening Statement (referred to in sub-paragraph (b) below) with the claimant’s portions duly completed along with the Bundle(s) of Documents;

(b) the defendant shall, within 2 weeks prior to the date of the Assessment of Damages hearing, serve on the claimant the draft Joint Opening Statement with the defendant’s portions duly completed; and

(c) the claimant shall, within 1 week prior to the date of the Assessment of Damages hearing, file through the Electronic Filing Service and serve the duly completed Joint Opening Statement as well as file the Bundle(s) of Documents.

(20) The format to be used for the Joint Opening Statement shall be as follows:

(a) Joint Opening Statement for Assessment of Damages for Personal Injury Claims (including loss of dependency claims under section 20 of the Civil Law Act 1909) — Form 12 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions;

(b) Joint Opening Statement for Assessment of Damages for Non-Injury Motor Accident Claims — Form 13 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions; and

(c) Joint Opening Statement for Assessment of Damages for General Claims excluding Personal Injury and Non-Injury Motor Accident Claims — Form 14 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions.

(21) The Forms shall be modified accordingly if there are more than two parties in the proceedings.

46. Adjournment or vacation of hearings

Trials

(1) Where dates have been fixed for the trial of any cause or matter, any request for an adjournment or vacation of the trial dates shall, without prejudice to the requirements of Order 9, Rule 9(7) of the Rules of Court 2021, be made by way of summons with a supporting affidavit even in those cases where counsel for the other party or parties consent to the adjournment. A consent summons should be filed if all parties consent to the adjournment.

(2) Subject to any directions of the Court, when a case is adjourned, the Registrar will assign such days as are available for the hearing of the case, and counsel will be expected to take the dates at short notice.

(3) In the event that the hearing of a case is not concluded within the number of days allotted, the Court may direct the hearing of the case to continue beyond the allotted time rather than adjourning the case part-heard to another date. Counsel for parties in all cases should therefore be prepared to continue with the hearing of the matter notwithstanding the fact that the time originally allotted may have expired. Subject to any such directions of the Court, all part-heard cases shall be fixed for continued hearing at short notice. Applications for adjournment of such hearing dates may be granted only for good and sufficient reasons.

Hearings (other than trials) and Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings

(4) Before parties write to the Court to request an adjournment or vacation of any hearing other than a trial, they should seek the consent of the other party or parties to the matter, and the unavailable date(s) of the other party or parties to the matter. Unilateral requests made without first seeking the consent or views of the other party or parties to the matter will not be entertained, except in the most exceptional circumstances.

(5) The request should be made at the earliest possible juncture, and:

(a) at least 2 working days before the hearing date, setting out the reasons for the request;

(b) provided that in the case of Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings, at least 2 weeks before the hearing date, by way of a Request for Change of Court Date on the Community Justice and Tribunals System, setting out:

(i) the reasons for the request; and

(ii) the unavailable dates of each party (or his representative) and his witnesses (if applicable) for the 4-week period after the hearing date sought to be refixed/vacated.

(6) If the consent of all other parties to the matter is obtained, the request should state that all parties have consented to the request for the adjournment or vacation. However, this does not mean that the request will be granted as a matter of course. The Court will still evaluate the merits of the request before making its decision.

(7) If the consent of one or more of the other parties is not obtained, the request should set out the reasons for the other parties’ objections, or explain why the consent of one or more of the other parties cannot be obtained. Any relevant correspondence between the parties should also be annexed. The Court will then evaluate the contents of the request and the relevant correspondence before deciding whether the request should be allowed.

47. Absence of parties and mode of hearing

(1) Where an application has been struck off by reason of any party being absent, the Court may direct that the matter be restored by way of summons.

(2) Where any party is absent without a valid reason for any Case Conference, the Court may exercise its powers under Order 9, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court 2021 to dismiss the action or give judgment for the claimant upon proof of service of the Originating Claim or Originating Application on the defendant.

(3) In the exercise of its powers under Order 3, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court 2021, the Court may, subject to any written law, direct that Case Conferences or other hearings be carried out with parties in physical attendance or with parties attending via electronic (including through video conferencing), mechanical or any other means.

48. Applications in pending cases

(1) All applications in chambers (including summonses, summonses for directions and notices thereunder, and Originating Applications) shall be filed without specifying whether the application is to be heard before a Judge in person or the Registrar.

(2) Ordinary summonses shall be endorsed “without notice” or “by consent” and when endorsed “by consent” must bear a certificate to that effect signed by all the solicitors concerned.

(3) Summonses will be routed to the inbox of the applicant solicitor’s Electronic Filing Service account. Where the summons is filed through the service bureau, it may be collected at the service bureau.

(4) Where a summons is filed in a matter for which a trial date has been fixed, the summons must include a special request informing the Court of the trial date(s).

Request for approval to file further application

(5) No application may be taken out by any party other than as directed at the relevant Case Conference (“CC”) or with the Court’s approval, save for the applications specified in Order 9, Rule 9(7) of the Rules of Court 2021. The Court’s approval to file further applications must be sought by filing a “Request for Permission to file Application”. The request must set out the nature of the intended application, the date of intended filing if approval is granted, whether it is being made within 14 days of the commencement of the trial, and the reasons for why the intended application is necessary at the relevant stage of the proceedings or, in the case of an application to be taken out within 14 days of the commencement of the trial, pursuant to Order 9, Rule 9(10) of the Rules of Court 2021, why there is a special case. The Court will consider the request and may issue directions summarily or alternatively convene a CC. The CC may be conducted on a “documents-only” basis, by video conferencing or telephone conferencing, or with parties in attendance physically in chambers. Where parties are of the view that it would be more appropriate for submissions to be made at a physical or remote Case Conference, a “Request for Case Conference” may be filed in lieu of the “Request for Permission to file Application”. The “Request for Case Conference” should set out the reasons why the request for the Court’s approval to file further applications cannot or should not be dealt with asynchronously.

“Documents-only” hearing of specified categories of civil applications

(6) Originating Applications without notice, summonses without notice, summonses filed by consent and summonses filed under Order 15, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court 2021 will be heard on a “documents-only” basis unless the Court otherwise directs, subject to Order 15, Rule 3(3)(a) of the Rules of Court 2021. The application will be examined by the Judge or Registrar, who may make the order(s) applied for without the attendance of the parties or their counsel (if the Judge or Registrar is satisfied that the application is in order and all other requirements have been complied with) or, alternatively, issue directions and fix the matter for a further hearing.

(7) If the further hearing is fixed to be heard on a “documents-only” basis, the applicant (or parties, as may be appropriate) is to file written submissions and/or supplementary affidavit(s) supporting the orders he/she wishes to obtain and/or addressing directions issued by the Court at least 5 working days before his/her hearing date. The Court will proceed on the “paper” hearing date to consider all documents filed by the specified deadline, and proceed either to issue orders or to issue further directions and fix the application for a further “paper” hearing.

(8) In the event the applicant does not file any document or comply with any outstanding directions by the specified deadline before any “paper” hearing date, the Court retains the discretion to strike off the application.

(9) The following applications will be dealt with on a “documents-only” basis unless otherwise directed by the Court:

(a) The withdrawal of an Originating Application, a summons and/or Registrar’s Appeal (“RA”), by consent, where:

(i) all orders in respect of withdrawal, including costs, are agreed; or

(ii) all orders (save for costs) in respect of withdrawal are agreed, and parties agree that the Court may fix costs pursuant to parties’ written submissions;

(b) for an order in terms of the prayers stated in a summons and/or RA by consent, where:

(i) all orders (including costs) have been agreed for the full disposal of the relevant application after the filing of the application; or

(ii) all orders (save for costs) have been agreed for the full disposal of the relevant application after the filing of the application, and parties agree that the Court may fix costs pursuant to parties’ written submissions;

(c) the discharge, by consent, of an order made to examine an enforcement respondent or to produce documents under Order 22, Rule 11 of the Rules of Court 2021;

(d) the withdrawal of Originating Applications or summonses without notice, where the costs order sought is “no order as to costs” or where the applicant agrees that the Court may fix costs pursuant to the applicant’s written submissions;

(e) for directions to be given in CCs, where parties consent to the said directions and/or consent to the Court giving directions after considering parties’ written submissions on the same;

(f) the recording of settlement terms or consent judgments by the Deputy Registrar conducting the relevant CC, and the fixing of costs where parties agree that the Court may fix costs pursuant to parties’ written submissions; and

(g) for orders to be made on any contested interlocutory application, Originating Application or RA, where all parties are represented and agree to have all orders (including costs) for the full disposal of the relevant application determined by the Court, based solely on affidavits and written submissions.

(10) To seek any of the orders set out in sub-paragraphs (9)(a) to (d) above, parties are to file an “Other Hearing Related Request” through the Electronic Filing Service. The Request is to set out the orders sought and make clear that parties have consented to the orders being made without their attendance. Written submissions on costs, if any, are to be filed through the Electronic Filing Service, on the same day as the filing date of the Request. The Request is to be filed at least 5 working days before the next hearing date of the application or appeal.

(11) In respect of the orders set out in sub-paragraphs (9)(e) and (f) above, parties are to file an “Other Hearing Related Request” through the Electronic Filing Service to seek the necessary directions/orders from the Deputy Registrar conducting the relevant CC.

(12) After the receipt of any Request referred to in paragraphs (10) and (11) above, the papers filed will be examined by the Judge or Registrar, as the case may be, and any order(s) and/or directions may be granted without the attendance of counsel and/or parties.

(13) In respect of the orders set out in sub-paragraph (9)(g) above:

(a) The applicant’s counsel is to file an “Other Hearing Related Request” through the Electronic Filing Service to seek a hearing on a “documents-only” basis, enclosing documents showing:

(i) the consent of all parties to the mode of hearing proposed; and

(ii) all parties’ counsel’s certification that all affidavits, written submissions and bundles of authorities for the application have been filed through the Electronic Filing Service and that the application is ready for hearing.

(b) the Request is to be filed at least 5 working days before the next hearing date of the application. The Request shall be rejected in the event of non-compliance with the above conditions in sub-paragraph (13)(a).

(c) Where a Case Conference is fixed for parties to take directions in relation to any application for summary judgment, striking out or setting aside, the parties are to consider the suitability of their case for a hearing conducted on a “documents-only” basis and to obtain their respective clients’ instructions prior to attending the Case Conference, so that the Court can give the necessary directions at the Case Conference.

(d) Where a request for a hearing to be conducted on a “documents-only” basis is allowed, the Court may, upon considering the documents filed in Court:

(i) issue further directions for the fair and effective conduct of the hearing;

(ii) decide on and make orders in respect of the application without requiring the attendance of counsel; or

(iii) issue a Registrar’s Notice informing parties of the hearing for delivery of decision.

(14) In all cases where a particular judicial officer has been assigned to hear the matter, the Request shall be addressed to the respective judicial officer. In all other cases, the Request shall be addressed to the “Registrar”.

Applications to be added as party

(15) Any party (the “prospective party”) seeking to be added as a party to any proceedings pursuant to Order 9 Rule 10(2) of the Rules of Court 2021 shall file an “Other Hearing Related Request” (the “Order 9 Rule 10(2) Letter”), meeting the requirements set out in paragraph (16) below, in the action to which the prospective party seeks to be added.

(16) The Order 9, Rule 10(2) Letter must:

(a) identify the action or actions to which the prospective party seeks to be added;

(b) set out the grounds on and capacity in which the prospective party seeks to be added as a party;

(c) identify the case conference which the prospective party wishes to attend, make submissions at or be heard in, or alternatively, request that a case conference be convened to consider the prospective party’s application; and

(d) be copied to all the parties already party to the action.

49. Consolidated, transferred or converted cases in civil proceedings

(1) Where the Court has ordered that —

(a) two or more actions be consolidated;

(b) a case be transferred from the General Division of the High Court to the State Courts;

(c) a case be transferred from the District Courts to the Magistrates’ Courts;

(d) a case be transferred from the Magistrates’ Courts to the District Courts;

(e) a case be transferred from the Protection from Harassment Court to the Magistrate’s Court;

(f) a case be transferred from the Protection from Harassment Court to the District Court;

(g) a case be transferred from the Magistrate’s Court to the Protection from Harassment Court;

(h) a case be transferred from the District Court to the Protection from Harassment Court; or

(i) an Originating Application be converted into an Originating Claim,

the applicant or his solicitor must inform the Court of the order for consolidation or transfer or conversion by way of an “Other Hearing Related Request” through the Electronic Filing Service.

50. Filing of Distinct Applications in Separate Summonses

(1) This Practice Direction shall apply to all applications made in the State Courts, except for applications made as part of a Single Application Pending Trial (“SAPT”) or when the Court has directed otherwise.

(2) A party who intends to make more than one distinct substantive application in a cause or matter must file each application in a separate summons, unless the application is made as part of a SAPT or the Court has directed otherwise.

(3) Distinct applications should not be combined in a single summons, unless they are inextricably or closely linked, or involve overlapping or substantially similar issues (for example, where applications for the extension or shortening of time, the amendment of pleadings and costs are closely linked to some other more substantive application).

(4) In addition, applications should not contain alternative prayers when the alternative prayers sought in effect amount to distinct applications. In such a case, separate summonses should be filed. In contrast, the following is an example of an alternative prayer which may be permitted:

In the defendant’s summons setting out a prayer for the striking out of certain paragraphs of the Statement of Claim, the defendant also includes an alternative prayer for the plaintiff to be ordered to amend those paragraphs of the Statement of Claim.

(5) Any summons that is not in compliance with this Practice Direction may be rejected by the Registry of the State Courts.

(6) The Court may also direct the party to file separate summonses before proceeding with the hearing or proceed with the hearing on the solicitor’s undertaking to file further summonses for the distinct applications.

51.Giving of security by receiver

(1) Where the Court appoints a receiver pursuant to Order 13, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court 2021, the Court may give directions on the form and the amount of any security to be given by the receiver for the proper discharge of the receiver’s duties.

(2) Unless otherwise directed, the security must be by guarantee (in a form approved by the Court) or, if the amount for which the security is to be given does not exceed $10,000, by an undertaking in Form 15 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions. The guarantee or undertaking must be filed in the Registry.

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