State Courts Practice Directions 2021

PART IX: DOCUMENTS AND AUTHORITIES FOR USE IN COURT

72. Electronic filing of documents and authorities for use in Court

Documents for use in Court must be filed through the Electronic Filing Service

(1) Subject to any Practice Directions in this Part to the contrary, all bundles and documents for use at any hearing must be filed through the Electronic Filing Service. These documents include written submissions, skeletal arguments, bundles of documents, bundles of pleadings, bundles of affidavits, core bundles and all opening statements. Cover pages are mandatory for all documents with a prescribed page limit. A table of contents is mandatory for all documents for which the prescribed page limit is 20 pages or higher. The cover page and table of contents are to be included in the page count for the purposes of determining whether a document is within the prescribed page limit (if any).

(2) In the event that it is not possible to file the documents in advance of the hearing, counsel may apply to the Judge or Registrar conducting the hearing for permission to use paper documents during the hearing. The paper documents may be printed on one side or both sides of each paper. The solicitor must explain why it was not possible to file the documents in advance of the hearing, and must give an undertaking to file using the Electronic Filing Service all the documents used at the hearing by the next working day after the hearing. Any document not filed using the Electronic Filing Service will not be included in the Court’s case file.

(3) Subject to the directions of the Court, solicitors may appear before the District Judge, Magistrate or Registrar with paper documents for an urgent hearing. The solicitors so appearing must give an undertaking to file all the documents used at the hearing using the Electronic Filing Service by the next working day after the hearing. Any document not filed using the Electronic Filing Service will not be included in the Court’s case file.

(4) Notwithstanding anything else in this Practice Direction, in the event that a party uses bundles of authorities in paper form for a hearing, the following directions in this paragraph shall apply:

(a) The party shall still comply with paragraph (7) and file an electronic copy of the bundle of authorities through the Electronic Filing Service.

(b) The party using the paper copy of the bundle of authorities shall bear the onus of producing the bundle at every hearing at which it is required. The Court will neither retain nor undertake to produce for hearings the paper copy of the bundle.

(c) The judicial officer may, if he so chooses, retain the paper copy of the bundle of authorities for his own reference. The paper copy so retained will not however form part of the Court’s record in respect of the proceedings in which it was used.

Directions for electronic creation and filing of submissions, bundles of documents, bundles of authorities

(5) Written submissions or statements should be prepared in a text-searchable Portable Document Format (“PDF”) file and filed through the Electronic Filing Service, and adhere to the following format:

(a) All pages shall be paginated, with the first page (including the cover page) numbered as “Page 1” so that the page numbers of the hard copy correspond to the page numbers in the PDF version.

(b) The minimum font size to be used is Times New Roman 12 or its equivalent.

(c) The print of every page shall be double spaced.

(d) Every page shall have a margin on all four sides, each of at least 35mm in width.

(e) Where submissions are lengthy, appropriate headings and a table of contents should be included.

(6) The following directions shall apply to the preparation and filing of bundles of documents, save that in the case of filing the bundle of documents for trial in open Court, the requirements set out in Practice Direction 73(4) below will additionally apply:

(a) Index pages must be prepared. For documents that involve multiple volumes, a table of contents for all volumes must be placed at the beginning of Volume I, and each volume must contain its own table of contents.

(b) Bookmarks should be created in a PDF file for each such reference in the index. There should be as many bookmarks in that PDF file as there are references in the index to documents in that PDF file.

(c) The name given to each bookmark should be the same as the corresponding reference in the index.

(d) The various documents in the bundle should be arranged chronologically or in some logical order.

(e) The page number of each bundle must correspond to the page number in the PDF version of that bundle.

(7) The following directions apply to the preparation and filing of bundles of authorities:

(a) Bundles of authorities shall be filed through the Electronic Filing Service.

(b) The bundle of authorities shall have a table of contents immediately after the first title page. Where the bundle of authorities consists of more than one volume, each volume shall have a table of contents clearly indicating the authorities that are contained in that volume. The first volume shall contain a complete table of contents of all volumes of the bundle.

(c) The items in the table of contents shall be numbered sequentially, and arranged in the following order – statutes in alphabetical order of the title, subsidiary legislation in alphabetical order of the title, cases in alphabetical order of the case name, secondary materials (such as textbooks and articles) in alphabetical order of the last name of the author, and any other materials in alphabetical order of the title or last name of the author as is appropriate.

(d) The table of contents shall contain a concise statement of the relevance of each authority to the specific issues before the Court. The relevance of each authority shall be succinctly expressed and comprise no more than three sentences. The statement shall be set out immediately after the name of the case. For example:

Cartier International BV v Lee Hock Lee and another application [1992] 3 SLR 340

Relevance: Where the Court is asked to punish an alleged contemnor by incarceration, the charge against him must be proved to the high standard required in a criminal charge.

Rickshaw Investments Ltd and another v Nicolai Baron von Uexkull [2007] 1 SLR(R) 377

Relevance: Choice of law considerations are relevant even when determining the natural forum to hear a dispute.

(e) A bookmark should be created in the PDF file for each authority in the bundle. The name given to each bookmark should be the same as the table of contents.

(f) The page number of each bundle must correspond to the page number in the PDF version of that bundle.

(8) For proceedings using the Electronic Filing Service, a bundle of documents may be created online and filed through the Electronic Filing Service. The electronic bundle must be created in PDF. The electronic bundle may contain the following:

(a) documents in the electronic case file; and

(b) documents that have been uploaded into the electronic case file by solicitors or other persons given access to the shared folder in the electronic case file.

73. Documents for use in trials in open Court

(1) This Practice Direction shall apply to trials in open Court.

(2) Order 9, Rule 25(9)-(10) of the Rules of Court 2021 requires the parties to be directed to file and serve their affidavits of the evidence-in-chief (“AEICs”) of all witnesses, a bundle of documents and an opening statement. This Practice Direction prescribes the contents and the format of these documents.

Bundle of AEICs

(3) The claimant is to prepare a bundle of AEICs of all witnesses. Where the AEICs have all been individually filed through the Electronic Filing Service, the bundle of AEICs need not be re-filed but shall be tendered to the Registry in hard copy.

Bundle of Documents pursuant to Order 9, Rule 25(10)

(4) The claimant is to prepare the Bundle of Documents referred to in Order 9, Rule 25(10) of the Rules of Court 2021 in the following format.

(a) Volume I – the last pleading (which incorporates all the previous pleadings), which should also include any further and better particulars to the relevant pleading. The earlier versions of the pleading should not be included. Any particulars to the pleading should be arranged directly below the relevant pleading. The orders of Court given at the Case Conferences which are relevant for the trial should be included at the end. Where directed by the Court, the plaintiff’s solicitors are to prepare a table in the manner and form set out in Form 20 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions. The table seeks to provide an overview of the parties’ positions reflected in the last pleading (which incorporates all the previous pleadings).

For example:

Index to Volume I of the Bundle of Documents

S/n Document Date filed
1 Statement of Claim (Amendment No. 2) 19/1/2020
2 Further and Better Particulars to the Statement of Claim 10/12/2019
3 Defence (Amendment No. 1) 2/2/2021
4 Further and Better Particulars to the Defence 15/12/2019
5 Order of Court No. DC/ORC 123/2021 12/2/2021

(b) Volume II – the documents which the parties are relying on at the trial for which authenticity is not in dispute. A table of contents in the manner and form set out in Form 21 in Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions must also be furnished. It is the responsibility of solicitors for all parties to agree and prepare an agreed bundle as soon as possible.

(c) Volume III – the documents which the parties are relying on at the trial for which authenticity is in dispute. A table of contents in the manner and form set out in Form 22 in Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions must also be furnished.

(5) The Bundle of Documents shall be created in compliance with Practice Direction 72(6) and be filed and served through the Electronic Filing Service. A hard copy is to be tendered to the Registry by the date directed by the Court, or, in the absence of any direction, no later than 5 working days before the trial date.

(6) The hard copy Bundle of Documents should —

(a) be firmly secured together with plastic ring binding or plastic spine thermal binding, and such rings or spines should be red for claimants and blue for defendants with a transparent plastic cover in front and at the back;

(b) have flags to mark out documents to which repeated references will be made in the course of hearing, and such flags shall —

(i) bear the appropriate indicium by which the document is indicated in the index of contents; and

(ii) be spaced out evenly along the right side of the bundle so that as far as possible they do not overlap one another; and

(c) be legible (for which purpose clear legible photo-copies of original documents may be exhibited instead of the originals provided the originals are made available for inspection by the other parties before the hearing and by the Judge at the hearing).

(7) Where originals and copies of documents are included in one bundle, it should be stated in the index which documents are originals and which are copies.

(8) Only documents which are relevant or necessary for the trial shall be included in the bundles. In cases where costs have been wasted by the inclusion of unnecessary documents, the Court may make a special order for costs against the relevant person.

(9) Additional documents tendered in Court that are not part of the Bundle of Documents must be filed using the Electronic Filing Service in accordance with Practice Direction 72(2).

Bundle of authorities

(10) The bundle of authorities to be prepared by each party should be prepared in accordance with Practice Direction 72(4) and filed and served on all relevant parties at least 3 working days before trial.

(11) Only authorities which are relevant or necessary for the trial shall be included in the bundles. No bundle of authorities is necessary in cases where parties are not relying on any authority at the trial. In cases where the Court is of the opinion that costs have been wasted by the inclusion of unnecessary authorities, the Court may make an order for costs against the relevant person.

Opening statements and closing submissions

(12) The opening statement shall be subject to any page limit provided for in the Rules of Court 2021 and shall comply with Practice Direction 72(5).

(a) The claimant’s statement as provided for in sub-paragraph (c) below, should be filed and served on all other relevant parties not less than 3 working days before the commencement of the trial or as otherwise directed.

(b) The other counsel should each similarly not later than 2 working days before the start of the trial or as otherwise directed provide to the Court (with copies at the same time to their opponents) a statement which should concisely state the nature of their case on each of the issues to be tried and summarise the propositions of law to be advanced with references to the main authorities to be relied on. The character and length of this document will depend on the circumstances and whether there is any counterclaim or third party proceedings.

(c) The following format must be adhered to when preparing opening statements:

(i) all pages must be paginated, with the first page numbered as “Page 1” so that the page numbers of the hard copy correspond to the page numbers in the Portable Document Format (PDF) version;

(ii) the minimum font size to be used is Times New Roman 12 or its equivalent;

(iii) the print of every page must be double spaced;

(iv) each page may be printed on one side or both sides; and

(v) every page must have a margin on all four sides, each of at least 35mm in width.

(d) In the case of the claimant, the statement must include the following:

(i) a summary of essential facts indicating which, if any, are agreed;

(ii) an indication of how these facts are to be proved, identifying relevant witnesses and documents;

(iii) a summary of the issues involved with cross-references as appropriate to the pleadings;

(iv) a summary of the claimant’s case in relation to each of the issues with references to the key documents relied upon, and a summary of the propositions of law to be advanced with references to the main authorities to be relied on; and

(v) an explanation of the reliefs claimed (if these are unusual or complicated).

(e) Counsel will be at liberty to amend their statements at the trial but in such event will be expected to explain the reasons for the amendments.

(13) Where parties are directed to file and serve written closing submissions, Practice Direction 72(5) should be complied with. Where parties have already filed and served a bundle of authorities pursuant to paragraph (10) above, the closing submissions should refer to that bundle. Any supplemental bundle of authorities should contain only any additional authorities.

Core bundle of documents

(14) In addition to the bundles of documents required to be filed and served under Order 9, Rule 25(9) of the Rules of Court 2021, parties should endeavour to file a core bundle of documents for trial, unless one is clearly unnecessary. This core bundle should comprise only the most important documents that are relevant to the hearing in question, or which will be repeatedly referred to in the course of the hearing.

(15) The documents in the core bundle of documents should not only be paginated but should also be cross-referenced to copies of the documents included in the main bundles. The core bundle of documents must be prepared in an electronic format and tendered to the Court in a loose-leaf file which can easily have further documents added to it if required.

Failure to tender documents in the proper manner and time

(16) At the trial of the cause or matter, an adjournment may be ordered if:

(a) the above documents or any of them were not filed and served within the prescribed time or in the prescribed manner or at all; or

(b) one party seeks to tender any of the above documents or supplements thereto except for supplements to the opening statement at the trial of the cause or matter.

(17) If an adjournment is ordered for any of the reasons set out in paragraph (16) above, the party who has failed to file or serve his documents within the prescribed time or at all or who seeks to tender a document or supplement thereto except for supplements to the opening statement may be ordered by the Court to bear the costs of the adjournment.

74. Hearing in Chambers

(1) In all hearings in chambers before a Judge or Registrar, counsel shall submit their written submissions, bundles of documents and their own bundle of authorities as appropriate for the hearing. The requirements of Practice Directions 72 and 73 shall, with the necessary modifications, be complied with in this regard, save that any bundles to be relied on at the hearing shall be filed and served no later than 3 working days in advance of the hearing and hard copies of any bundles may (if necessary) be submitted at the hearing itself before the Judge or Registrar, as the case may be.

(2) The written submissions filed by parties shall, subject to such page limits as may be provided for in the Rules of Court 2021, set out as concisely as possible:

(a) the circumstances out of which the application arises;

(b) the issues arising in the application;

(c) the contentions to be urged by the party filing it and the authorities in support thereof; and

(d) the reasons for or against the application, as the case may be.

75. Citation of judgments

(1) Counsel who wish to cite a judgment as authority in support of their oral or written submissions shall adhere to the following directions. These directions are intended to provide guidance to advocates and solicitors as to (a) the extent to which it is necessary to deploy both local and foreign judgments in support of their case; and (b) the practice of citing such judgments.

Use of judgments as authorities in submissions

(2) Counsel who cite a judgment must state the proposition of law that the judgment establishes and the parts of the judgment that support that proposition. Such statements should not excessively add to the length of the submissions but should be sufficient to demonstrate the relevance of that judgment to the argument made. Where counsel wish to cite more than two judgments as authority for a given proposition, there must be a compelling reason to do so, and this reason must be provided by counsel in the submissions.

(3) The Court will also pay particular attention to any indication in the cited judgment that the judgment (a) only applied decided law to the facts of the particular case; or (b) did not extend or add to the existing law.

Use of judgments from foreign jurisdictions

(4) Judgments from other jurisdictions can, if judiciously used, provide valuable assistance to the Court. However, where there are in existence local judgments which are directly relevant to the issue, such judgments should be cited in precedence to foreign judgments. Relevant local judgments will be accorded greater weight than judgments from foreign jurisdictions. This will ensure that the Courts are not unnecessarily burdened with judgments made in jurisdictions with differing legal, social or economic contexts.

(5) In addition, counsel who cite a foreign judgment must:

(a) draw the attention of the Court to any local judgment that may be relevant to whether the Court should accept the proposition that the foreign judgment is said to establish; and

(b) ensure that such citation will be of assistance to the development of local jurisprudence on the particular issue in question.

Citation practice

(6) Counsel who cite a judgment must use the official series of the law report(s) or, if the official series is not available, any other law report series in which the judgment was published. Counsel should refrain from referring to (or including in the bundle of authorities) copies of judgments which are printed out from electronic databases, unless (a) such judgments are not available in any law report series; or (b) the print-outs are the exact copies of the judgments in the law report series.

The following are examples of law reports that should be used for citation:


Jurisdiction

Law Reports (in order of preference)

(a) Singapore

1. Singapore Law Reports (2010 - ) (SLR current series)

2. Singapore Law Reports (Reissue) (SLR(R))

3. Singapore Law Reports (1965-2009) (SLR 1965-2009)

4. Malayan Law Journal (MLJ)

(b) Malaysia

Malayan Law Journal (MLJ)

(c) England & Wales

1. Law Reports published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (eg, Queen’s Bench (QB), Appeal Cases (AC), Chancery (Ch), Family (Fam), Probate (P))

2. Weekly Law Reports (WLR)

3. All England Law Reports (All ER)

(d) Australia

1. Commonwealth Law Reports (CLR)

2. Australian Law Reports (ALR)

(e) Canada

1. Supreme Court Reports (SCR)

2. Federal Court Reports (FC)

3. Dominion Law Reports (DLR)

(f) New Zealand

New Zealand Law Reports (NZLR)

Counsel should, where possible, make specific citations by referring to the paragraph number of the judgment, and not to the page number of the judgment or report. For consistency, square brackets ([xx]) should be used to denote paragraph numbers. The paragraph mark (¶) should no longer be used.

The neutral citation system for local judgments

(7) A neutral citation is a Court-approved system of citation which is independent of the series of law reports or other publication, and unique to each written judgment. Each written judgment from a particular level of Court is assigned a sequential number, starting from 1 at the beginning of each calendar year. The application of the system is as follows:

(a) Cases reported in the Singapore Law Reports shall be cited using their Singapore Law Reports citations, in priority to their neutral citations.

(b) Unreported decisions shall be cited using their neutral citations

COURT DESIGNATORS

Court Neutral citation
Singapore Court of Appeal SGCA
Singapore High Court (Appellate Division) SGHC(A)
Singapore High Court (before 2 January 2021) or Singapore High Court (General Division) (on or after 2 January 2021) SGHC
Singapore High Court Registrar (before 2 January 2021) or Singapore High Court (General Division) Registrar (on or after 2 January 2021) SGHCR
District Court SGDC
Magistrate’s Court SGMC

EXAMPLE AND EXPLANATION

ABC Co Pte Ltd v XYZ Co Ltd [2021] SGDC 25, at [3], [8].

Year of the decision           [2021]

Level of Court                    SGDC (Singapore District Court)

Sequential Number            25 (twenty-fifth written judgment rendered by the District Courts in 2003)

Paragraph Number(s)        Paragraphs 3 and 8 of the judgment

Ancillary provisions

(8) The Court in exercising its discretion as to costs may, where appropriate in the circumstances, take into account the extent to which counsel has complied with this Practice Direction in the citation of judgments before the Court.

(9) It will remain the duty of counsel to draw the attention of the Court to any judgment, not cited by an opponent, that is adverse to the case being advanced.

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