State Courts Practice Directions 2021

PART XIII: ENFORCEMENT MATTERS

96. Applications for Enforcement Orders

(1) An application for an Enforcement Order (“EO”) in Form 38 of Appendix A2 to these Practice Directions to enforce one or more order(s) or judgment(s) shall be made in the following manner:

(a) In the case of orders or judgments by a District Court, Protection from Harassment Court (hearing standard proceedings) or Magistrate’s Court, the application shall be made by way of filing a summons without notice, accompanied by a supporting affidavit.

(b) In the case of orders or judgments by the Small Claims Tribunals, Employment Claims Tribunals, Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals or Protection from Harassment Court (in simplified proceedings) for the payment of money or the delivery of vacant possession of premises, the application shall be made by way of filing an originating application without notice, accompanied by a supporting affidavit.

(2) Under Order 22, Rule 2 of the Rules of Court 2021, a single application can be filed for multiple modes of enforcement, including seizure and sale of property, delivery or possession of property, and attachment of debts due to the enforcement respondent.

(3) Apart from the requirements under Order 22, Rule 2 of the Rules of Court 2021, the summons or originating application should set out all methods of enforcement that the enforcement applicant seeks in the EO. The supporting affidavit filed should also state, among other things, whether the Bailiff is to enforce the various parts of the EO in any particular sequence or whether all or some parts of the EO may be enforced simultaneously.

(4) For proceedings in the State Courts, where parties furnish the undertaking in Order 22, Rule 2(4)(m) of the Rules of Court 2021, the terms of the undertaking as set out in Order 22, Rule 2(4)(m)(i) to (iii) should be worded to refer to the “Bailiff” rather than the “Sheriff”. The requirements in Order 22, Rule 2(4)(m) of the Rules of Court 2021 shall also apply to an application for a writ of distress under Order 45, Rule 2 of the Rules of Court 2021.

(5) Pursuant to Order 22, Rule 6(2) of the Rules of Court 2021, if no sequence of enforcement is indicated in the EO, the Bailiff may carry out the terms of the EO in any order and sequentially or concurrently. In the absence of any indication of sequence in the EO or any direction by the Court, the Bailiff will carry out the terms of the EO sequentially, and shall adopt the following default sequence of enforcement (where applicable):

(a) first, attach debts which are due to the enforcement respondent;

(b) second, seize and sell properties belonging to the enforcement respondent;

(c) third, seize and deliver or give possession of properties in the possession or control of the enforcement respondent;

(d) finally, any other method(s) of enforcement specified in the EO.

If the EO provides that a method of enforcement has more than one address for enforcement or more than one financial institution or non-party, in the absence of any indication of sequence or any direction from the Court, the Bailiff will by default carry out the terms of the EO sequentially in the order of the address(es) as stated in the EO.

(6) Once an EO has been granted, the enforcement applicant should take steps to extract the EO (using the Enforcement Order electronic form available through the Electronic Filing Service) expeditiously. When extracting the EO, the enforcement applicant shall also attach the draft Notice(s) of Seizure or Attachment required for the Bailiff to effect seizure or attachment under the EO. Each draft Notice of Seizure or Attachment should pertain to one enforcement type and one enforcement address only.

Illustrations:

(a) If an enforcement applicant obtains an EO to attach debts held in three different financial institutions representing debts owing by the three financial institutions to the enforcement respondent, the enforcement applicant shall attach three draft Notice(s) of Attachment when extracting the EO.

(b) If an enforcement applicant obtains an EO to attach debts held in two different financial institutions representing debts owing by the two financial institutions to the enforcement respondent, as well as to seize and sell properties belonging to the enforcement respondent at a single address (eg, the enforcement respondent’s residential address), the enforcement applicant shall attach three draft Notice(s) of Seizure or Attachment when extracting the EO.

(7) An EO is valid in the first instance for 12 months beginning with the date of issue. If a party wishes to extend the validity of the EO for a period of 12 months at any time beginning with the day on which the EO is made, it shall make an application to the Court for extension before the day on which the EO would otherwise expire. Such application is to be made by filing a “Summons for Extension of Validity of Enforcement Order” through the Electronic Filing Service.

(8) An EO ceases to be valid:

(a) after the enforcement applicant gives written notice to the Bailiff not to take further action on the EO, by filing a “Notice Not To Take Further Action on Enforcement Order” through the Electronic Filing Service; or

(b) after any person who has satisfied a judgment debt files a consent of the judgment creditor in Form 39 of Appendix A2 to these Practice Directions to apply to the Court for the satisfaction to be recorded and the Court has ordered satisfaction to be recorded.

97. Seizure or attachment under an Enforcement Order

(1) After the enforcement applicant extracts the Enforcement Order (“EO”), the Bailiff shall fix a first appointment for enforcement, and shall issue a Letter of Appointment (including a request for deposit) to inform the enforcement applicant of the date and time of the first enforcement attempt. Enforcement may be carried out between the hours of 9.00am and 5.00pm, at the Bailiff’s discretion, unless the Bailiff or Court otherwise orders.

(1A) Where, under Order 22, Rule 6(4) of the Rules of Court 2021, an EO is carried out by the Bailiff serving:

(a) a notice of seizure on any person or entity;

(b) a notice of seizure on the Singapore Land Authority; or

(c) a notice of attachment on any financial institution or non-party;

the Bailiff may engage, or direct the enforcement applicant to engage, the services of any appropriate persons or service provider, including the enforcement applicant’s solicitors, to effect service of such notice of seizure or attachment.

(2) Upon the Bailiff’s request, the enforcement applicant or the enforcement applicant’s solicitor or other authorised representative must accompany the Bailiff when the Bailiff carries out the EO:

(a) Pursuant to Order 22, Rule 6(3) of the Rules of Court 2021, the enforcement applicant or the enforcement applicant’s solicitor or other authorised representative must be present with the Bailiff at the appointed date, time and address of any enforcement attempt, upon the Bailiff’s request.

(b) If the enforcement applicant or the enforcement applicant’s solicitor or other authorised representative is absent at the appointed date, time and address of the enforcement attempt, the appointment is deemed vacated and the Bailiff shall not proceed with the enforcement attempt.

(c) Insofar as the seizure of movable property is concerned, the Bailiff will only seize property that is identified by the enforcement applicant or the enforcement applicant’s solicitor or other authorised representative.

(3) Effecting forced entry into premises:

Where the EO authorises the Bailiff to effect seizure in respect of properties in the possession or control of the enforcement respondent, and the enforcement applicant requests the Bailiff to exercise his powers of entry into the premises of the enforcement respondent, the following conditions shall apply:

(a) save in special circumstances, entry shall only be effected on the second or subsequent enforcement attempt;

(b) the Bailiff may, in any case, refuse to effect the forced entry without assigning any reason; and

(c) the enforcement applicant shall at his expense, upon the direction of the Bailiff, engage any security personnel, locksmith or any other person or facility as the Bailiff deems appropriate to assist in effecting entry into the premises and the enforcement process.

(4) Under Order 22, Rule 6(9)(a) of the Rules of Court 2021, a non-party who is served with a Notice of Attachment must, within 14 days of service of the Notice of Attachment, inform the Bailiff of the amount owing by the non-party to the enforcement respondent that is available to be attached. The non-party must copy the enforcement applicant when providing the Bailiff with this information. If no notice of objection is filed under Order 22, Rule 10 of the Rules of Court 2021, the Bailiff will inform the non-party of the commission due to the Bailiff within 7 days of receipt of this information. The commission shall be handed or paid over to the Bailiff in priority to the money that is to be handed or paid over to the enforcement applicant.

(5) A non-party who is served with a Notice of Attachment and who has handed or paid over to the enforcement applicant the money due to the enforcement respondent must inform the Bailiff of such handing or payment within 7 days of the same.

(6) If, after the first enforcement attempt, the enforcement applicant wishes to proceed with a subsequent enforcement attempt under an enforcement method, or one or more of the remaining enforcement methods ordered in the EO, the enforcement applicant shall file a “Request to Proceed with Seizure / Enforcement” via the Electronic Filing Service.

(7) If, at any stage, the enforcement applicant does not wish to proceed with a subsequent enforcement attempt under an enforcement method, or any of the remaining enforcement methods ordered in the EO, the enforcement applicant shall file a “Notice Not to Take Further Action on Enforcement Order” via the Electronic Filing Service.

98. Claims and objections to seizure or attachment

(1) An objector (as defined in Order 22, Rule 10(1) of the Rules of Court 2021) is to give notice of the objection referred to in Order 22, Rule 10(1)(a) of the Rules of Court 2021 by filing a “Notice of Objection” (in Form 22A of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions) through the Electronic Filing Service.

(2) If the enforcement applicant disputes the grounds of objection, the enforcement applicant may file a “Notice of Dispute to Objection” (in Form 22B of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions) through the Electronic Filing Service. If the enforcement applicant accepts the grounds of objection, the enforcement applicant must give the notice referred to in Order 22, Rule 10(3) of the Rules of Court 2021 by filing a “Consent to Release” (in Form 22C of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions) through the Electronic Filing Service.

(3) If the Bailiff directs the objector to make the application referred to in Order 22, Rule 10(4) of the Rules of Court 2021, the objector must make such application by filing a “Summons for Order to Release Property / Debt” (in Form 22D of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions) through the Electronic Filing Service.

99. Sale and valuation of seized property

(1) Under Order 22, Rules 7(1) and 7(2) of the Rules of Court 2021, the Bailiff may take steps to sell seized movable property after 14 days after a copy of the Notice of Seizure has been served on the enforcement respondent, unless the movable property is perishable. Where immovable property is seized, the Bailiff may take steps to sell the seized immovable property after 30 days after the Notice of Seizure has been served on the enforcement respondent.

(2) After seizure is effected by the Bailiff and the relevant timelines in paragraph (1) above have passed, the Bailiff may take steps to sell the seized property, including requiring the enforcement applicant to furnish a written valuation report or estimated valuation of the seized property, in order for the Bailiff to decide the conditions of sale.

(3) Auctions:

(a) Sale by Bailiff

If a scheduled auction is not proceeded with, or is abandoned, due to the absence of the enforcement applicant or the enforcement applicant’s solicitor or other authorised representative, the Bailiff may at his discretion release any or all of the items seized.

(b) Sale by auctioneer

Under Order 22, Rule 7(5) and (7) of the Rules of Court 2021, where the value of the seized property is estimated by the Bailiff to be more than $20,000, or where the property in question is immovable property, the sale must be carried out by an auctioneer and by public auction. The auctioneer shall be engaged by the enforcement applicant, and the auction must be advertised by the auctioneer at least once in a printed local newspaper and at least 14 days before the date of auction. Under Order 22, Rule 7(4) of the Rules of Court 2021, where the value of the seized property is estimated by the Bailiff to be $20,000 or less, the sale may be carried out by the Bailiff and may be by private treaty or by public auction. Where the sale is by public auction, the auctioneer shall be engaged by the enforcement applicant, and the Bailiff may direct that the auction be advertised by the auctioneer at least once in a printed local newspaper and at least 14 days before the date of auction.

All costs and expenses incurred in connection with the auction shall be borne by the enforcement applicant and may be added to the judgment debt.

100. Examination of enforcement respondent

(1) The enforcement applicant may apply for the enforcement respondent to be examined orally in Court or to make an affidavit or both on the enforcement respondent’s properties, by filing an “Summons for Examination of Enforcement Respondent” (for orders or judgments by the Small Claims Tribunals, Employment Claims Tribunals, Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals or Protection from Harassment Court (in simplified proceedings) for the payment of money or the delivery of vacant possession of premises, an originating application) through the Electronic Filing Service.

(2) A questionnaire in the recommended format as set out in Form 23 or 24 of Appendix A1 to these Practice Directions (whichever is appropriate) shall be annexed to any Order for Examination when the said Order is served on the enforcement respondent. Enforcement applicants may modify the questionnaires according to the circumstances of each case.

(3) If the enforcement respondent is of the view that any question in the questionnaire is unreasonable, he is to contact the enforcement applicant to ascertain whether the issue can be resolved prior to the hearing for examination.

(4) At the hearing for examination, the answered questionnaire is to be produced to the Deputy Registrar and received as evidence upon confirmation on oath by the enforcement respondent (or if the enforcement respondent is an entity, its officer(s) to be examined) that his answers provided are true and correct. The enforcement applicant may then apply to discharge the enforcement respondent or proceed with examination by further questioning.

(5) The enforcement respondent need not attend at the examination hearing if:

(a) he has provided his answers to the questionnaire by way of an affidavit or statutory declaration; and

(b) the enforcement applicant agrees to apply for a discharge of the Order for Examination prior to or at the hearing for examination.

101. Committal proceedings

An applicant seeking to lift a suspension order under Order 23, Rule 8(3) of the Rules of Court 2021 to enforce committal orders must prepare his or her own Committal Order in accordance with Form 42 in Appendix A2 to these Practice Directions and bring the same to the hearing.

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