State Courts Practice Directions 2021

PART XIX: PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMUNITY COURTS AND TRIBUNALS CLUSTER

127. Application

(1) The following apply to Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings (as defined in Practice Direction 2(3)), with the necessary modifications:

(a) Parts:

(i) I (Introduction);

(ii) II (General Matters), except Practice Direction 10 (Hearing of urgent applications during weekends and public holidays);

(iii) VI (Injunctions and Certain Other Applications) (where the Rules of Court apply to Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings);

(iv) VII (Remote Hearings);

(v) XIII (Enforcement Matters); and

(vi) XIX (Proceedings before the Community Courts and Tribunals Cluster); and

(b) Practice Directions:

(i) 25 (Identification numbers and name to be stated in cause papers); and

(ii) 26 (Citation of case numbers / new Court forum prefix);

(iii) 33 (Access to case file, inspection and taking copies of documents and conducting searches);

(iv) 46 (Adjournment or vacation of hearings);

(v) 50 (Filing of Distinct Applications in Separate Summonses);

(vi) 58 (Witnesses);

(vii) 59 (Giving of evidence by person outside Singapore through live video, live television or live audio link in any proceedings (other than proceedings in a criminal matter));

(viii) 66 (Request for Court interpreters); and

(ix) 71 (Application for Court records for civil matters).

128. Community Justice and Tribunals System

Establishment of Electronic Filing and Case Management System

(1) For the purposes of the following rules:

(a) Rule 8A of the Small Claims Tribunals Rules;

(b) Rule 3A of the Employment Claims Rules 2017;

(c) Rule 4A of the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals Rules 2015; and

(d) Rule 7 of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Protection from Harassment) Rules 2021,

the electronic filing and case management system established is the Community Justice and Tribunals System (“CJTS”) and is accessible at https://www.judiciary.gov.sg/services/CJTS.

(2) In relation to paragraph (1), for the purpose of Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings, the applicable electronic filing and case management system shall be CJTS.

(3) Despite paragraphs (1)–(2), for the purpose of the following:

(a) Appeals to the General Division of the High Court from:

(i) the Small Claims Tribunals, under Part VIII of the Small Claims Tribunals Rules;

(ii) the Employment Claims Tribunals, under rules 26–32 of the Employment Claims Rules 2017;

(iii) the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals, under rule 17 of the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals Rules 2015; and

(iv) simplified proceedings before the Protection from Harassment Court, under rules 41–47 of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Protection from Harassment) Rules 2021;

(b) Applications for a stay of execution:

(i) to the General Division of the High Court (but not the District Courts or Small Claims Tribunals), under section 42 of the Small Claims Tribunals Act 1984 and rule 28A of the Small Claims Tribunals Rules;

(ii) to the General Division of the High Court (but not the District Courts), under section 24 of the Employment Claims Act 2016 and rule 33 of the Employment Claims Rules 2017;

(iii) to the General Division of the High Court (but not the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals), under section 27 of the Community Disputes Resolution Act 2015; and

(iv) to the General Division of the High Court (but not the Protection from Harassment Court), under rule 48 of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Protection from Harassment) Rules 2021,

the applicable form shall be filed in hard copy at the Registry of the State Courts, unless otherwise directed by the Court or Registry.

(4) Despite paragraphs (1)–(2), for the purpose of:

(a) applications to transfer proceedings under:

(i) section 10 of the Small Claims Tribunals Act 1984;

(ii) section 17 of the Employment Claims Act 2016;

(iii) section 20 of the Community Disputes Resolution Act 2015; and

(iv) rules 79(1)(a), (b), (c), (e) and (g) of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Protection from Harassment) Rules 2021 read with section 16J Protection from Harassment Act 2014; and

(b) standard proceedings (as defined in the Supreme Court of Judicature (Protection from Harassment) Rules 2021) before the Protection from Harassment Court;

(c) enforcing any order:

(i) in Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings, for the payment of money; and

(ii) of the Small Claims Tribunals, for the delivery of vacant possession of premises; and

(d) any searches relating to the proceedings in paragraphs (4)–(5)(b),

the applicable electronic filing and case management system shall be eLitigation, in which case Part XII of these Practice Directions will apply.

Document format

(5) Each document filed on CJTS must be in a Portable Document Format (PDF) file.

Limit on document size

(6) The size of each document filed on CJTS must not exceed 5 mega-bytes. If a document exceeds 5 mega-bytes, it must be split up into the fewest possible number of files and filed accordingly.

Limit on scanning resolution

(7) Practice Direction 86(3) applies to documents filed on CJTS.

Pagination of documents

(8) Practice Direction 88 applies to documents filed on CJTS.

Applications and other correspondence

(9) Practice Direction 95(1)–(2) shall apply to this Part, save that references to the Electronic Filing Service are to be read as references to CJTS.

(10) Where no specific form is provided in these Practice Directions or on CJTS for an application, the application may be filed using the “General Application” Form on CJTS.

129. Forms for Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings

Location of forms

(1) The forms set out on the Internet website of the Community Justice and Tribunals System (“CJTS”) are:

(a) the appropriate Forms (as defined in rule 3 of the Small Claims Tribunals Rules);

(b) the relevant Forms (as defined in rule 1A of the Employment Claims Rules 2017);

(c) the relevant Forms (as defined in rule 2A of the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals Rules 2015); and

(d) the appropriate Forms (as defined in rule 2 of the Supreme Court of Judicature (Protection from Harassment) Rules 2021),

to be used for the purposes of proceedings (or, in the case of para (d), simplified proceedings) under the respective Rules.

Filing of application or document in Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings

(2) Unless a Tribunal/Court (including a Registrar, Deputy Registrar or Assistant Registrar) directs otherwise:

(a) An application or document for which an electronic form is provided must be filed using that electronic form.

(b) An application or document for which a form is provided in a Word document format on CJTS must be made by filing, respectively, a General Application or Supporting Document on CJTS, with the form duly completed and attached to the filing in Portable Document Format.

(c) An application that must be made by summons, or for which no specific form is provided, may be made by a General Application on CJTS.

(3) An application filed by a person who is not named as a claimant/plaintiff (as the case may be) or respondent in the claim on CJTS must, in addition to containing the application, its basis, and the grounds and documents in support thereof:

(a) identify the claim number; and

(b) contain, in the field meant to explain the application or grounds thereof:

(i) any application or order number in respect of which the application is made/document is filed (as the case may be);

(ii) the Court or Tribunal (eg, Small Claims Tribunal, Employment Claims Tribunal, Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal, Protection from Harassment Court or District Court) in which the application or document is filed;

(iii) the capacity in which the person is filing the application or document (eg, respondent, relevant party or appointed psychiatrist);

(iv) if an application is being filed, the other party/parties to the application and their capacity as such; and

(v) whether the application is with or without notice.

Filing of hearing checklist

(4) Unless a Court directs otherwise, the hearing checklist, as set out on the Internet website of CJTS, must be:

(a) completed and submitted on CJTS as a Supporting Document before the second consultation/case management conference/pre-trial conference at which all parties attend; and

(b) observed for the hearing of the matter.

Filing of witness statements

(5) Unless a Court directs otherwise, the witness statement, as set out on the Internet website of CJTS, is to be used in Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings.

(6) Practice Directions 60, 61 and 62 apply to Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings, subject to paragraph (7), and as if:

(a) a reference to an affidavit includes a reference to a witness statement;

(b) a reference to a deponent includes a reference to the maker of the witness statement; and

(c) a reference to a plaintiff or defendant means a reference to a claimant or respondent, respectively.

(7) Unless the Court permits or directs otherwise:

(a) Each witness statement must be typed, either in the form as set out on CJTS or in a form which is identical in substance thereto.

(b) In lieu of observing Practice Direction 60(2)(b), the witness statements must:

(i) have a blank margin not less than 12.7mm and not more than 38.1mm wide on each side of the page.

(ii) have line spacing that is between single-spaced and double-spaced.

(c) Parties must observe Practice Directions 62(4)–(6) where multiple supporting documents are uploaded in a single Portable Document Format file.

130. Documents which must be filed in hard copy

Documents which cannot be converted into an electronic format

(1) Practice Direction 89 applies to this Part.

(2) Any hard copy of a document must be filed at the Registry of the State Courts at least 5 days before the deadline for its submission, unless otherwise specified.

Documents filed electronically directed to be filed in hard copy

(3) Practice Direction 93 applies to this Part.

Bundling of documents filed in hard copy

(4) Where supporting documents are filed in hard copy:

(a) they must be submitted in a single bundle.

(b) in lieu of observing Practice Direction 62(2), a table of contents must be inserted at the front, enumerating every supporting document in the manner set out below:

Reference No. on CJTS (if applicable) Nature of exhibit Page No.
C01 Hard copy of [Certificate] 1
Declaration of Service 5

Audio or video recordings

(5) Where the evidence is in the form of audio or video recordings (such as recordings of phone conversations or CCTV recordings), the recordings may not be filed electronically but should instead be tendered to the Court by way of a CD-R or DVD-R. When preparing recordings:

(a) The following must either be written in permanent ink on the CD-R/DVD-R or be written on a hard-copy label affixed to the CD-R/DVD-R:

[Party’s name]-[CD-R or DVD-R number]

Eg: [John Doe]-[CD1]

(b) The recordings must be in a file format supported by Microsoft Windows 10 and, in the case of video recordings, must use a codec supported by Microsoft Windows 10. For the purpose of proceedings, the following file types are permitted:

Audio recordings .mp3, .wma, .wav
Video recordings .flv, .mp4, .mpg, .wmv

(c) Each recording must be saved under a file name in the following format:

[Date of recording in YYYY-MM-DD format]-[Actual time that recording started in HH-MM-SS (24h) format]-[Short description of what the recording is meant to show]

Eg: [2020-05-18]-[23-11-00]-[Scolding vulgarities]

(d) A transcript of the important part(s) of the audio or video recording must be prepared to state the relevant fact (ie, the action that is seen, the exact words that are used, the type(s) of sound(s) that are heard). Where the words that are used in the audio or video recording are not in English, a certified translation of the words into English must be provided.

(e) Screenshots of the important frame(s) in the video recording to support what is stated in the transcript must be provided.

(f) The above information is to be provided in the following format and filed as a supporting document in Portable Document Format on the Community Justice and Tribunals System:

DVD-R Label File name of recording Time within recording Actual Time Transcript
[HH:MM:SS] to [HH:MM:SS]
[Tan Ah Teck Joseph]-[DVD1] [05 June 2016]-[23-11-00]-[Spitting].mp4 [01:05:22] to [01:05:25] [23:11:23] to [23:11:30] Respondent spits along the common corridor
[Tan Ah Teck Joseph]-[DVD2] [10 June 2016]-[09-07-00]-[Scolding vulgarities].mp4 [00:35:21] to [00:40:23] [09:10:22] to [09:12:50]
Respondent stands outside Plaintiff’s flat and scolds Claimant/Plaintiff vulgarities (“[insert exact words]”)

(6) If the CD-R or DVD-R does not comply with the above directions, it may be rejected by the Tribunal (or Court).

(7) Unless the Court otherwise directs, a party who files a hard copy document or a CD-R/DVD-R in Court must serve, on every other party to the proceedings, a copy of the document or an identical copy of the CD-R/DVD-R (as the case may be).

131. Attendance at Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings

To facilitate any attempts at mediation, a party who is represented by a solicitor in Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings must, for the duration of any case management conference or pre-trial conference:

(a) be physically present at the State Courts with his solicitor, if the hearing is taking place in the State Courts building; or

(b) be available to join the case management conference or pre-trial conference, if the hearing is taking place by video-conference.

132. The Community Courts and Tribunals Friend Scheme

(1) In Tribunal / Simplified POHA Proceedings, the Court may, on the request of a litigant-in-person (“LIP”) who is not engaged in any business undertaking involved in the dispute before the Court, allow the LIP to be assisted in any proceedings before the Court by an individual, called a “CCT Friend”.

Eligibility

(2) A CCT Friend may be:

(a) a family member;

(b) a friend; or

(c) any other volunteer from:

(i) the Community Justice Centre; or

(ii) any other pro bono agency or entity as recognised by the Court.

(3) Despite paragraph (2), an individual may not be a CCT Friend if he —

(a) is or may be named as a witness in the proceedings by a party to a dispute;

(b) has a direct or indirect interest in the outcome of a claim in the dispute;

(c) is an advocate or solicitor or a legally qualified person from any jurisdiction; or

(d) is a housing agent of the LIP and the dispute involves a tenancy or any other housing matter in which the housing agent is acting for the LIP.

Scope of assistance by CCT Friend

(4) Subject to paragraph (5), a CCT Friend may provide administrative and emotional support to the LIP in the conduct of his case in proceedings before the Court or Registrar, such as —

(a) assisting the LIP to prepare and file documents relevant to the proceedings;

(b) providing emotional and moral support;

(c) offering practical guidance to the LIP on non-legal issues in the course of the proceedings;

(d) assisting the LIP in the proceedings, such as:

(i) taking relevant notes of the proceedings and directions given by the Court;

(ii) organising documents; and

(iii) locating the correct document for use in the proceedings;

(e) reviewing the notes taken with the LIP after the hearing;

(f) explaining (but not providing legal advice in respect of) the directions and orders made by the Court; and

(g) interpreting spoken communications in the proceedings before a Court or any document (or part thereof) filed for use and referred to in the aforesaid proceedings.

(5) A CCT Friend shall not —

(a) provide legal advice on the merits of the case and/or legal representation to the LIP;

(b) advise the LIP on how to present his case or how to respond to his opponent’s case;

(c) manage the LIP’s case outside the proceedings;

(d) act as the LIP’s agent when dealing with other parties;

(e) exercise any of the privileges extended to advocates and solicitors under the Legal Profession Act 1966, such as to address the Court, make oral submissions, conduct litigation, examine witnesses, or sign documents on the LIP’s behalf;

(f) communicate with the LIP during the proceedings in a manner that would disrupt the proceedings;

(g) divulge any information (communicated to him by the LIP for the purpose of obtaining assistance from him or acquired by him in the course of the proceedings) to any third party in relation to the proceedings in breach of his duty of confidentiality; and/or

(h) receive any remuneration or reward for his services.

Procedure

(6) An LIP may submit a request for the appointment of a CCT Friend using the relevant Form in the Community Justice and Tribunals System, with the accompanying undertaking and declaration duly signed.

(7) Any request submitted under paragraph (6) shall be considered and decided upon by the Court at the pre-trial conference or case management conference fixed after the request is submitted, or on the hearing day scheduled for the LIP’s matter.

(8) If another party objects to the presence of or assistance to be given by a CCT Friend to the LIP, he must provide reasons at the start of the pre-trial conference, case management conference or hearing (as the case may be) for the Court to consider.

(9) A Court may reject any request for the appointment of a CCT Friend if it is satisfied that it is not in the interests of justice and fairness for the LIP to receive assistance from a CCT Friend.

(10) If the request is rejected by a registrar, the LIP must carry on his own case without the assistance of a CCT Friend at the hearing before the registrar. However, he may make a fresh request before the Court on the first day of hearing of his matter.

(11) If the request is rejected by the Court (other than a Registrar), the LIP must carry on his own case without the assistance of a CCT Friend at the hearing before the Court. A decision by a Court to approve or reject the request shall be final.

(12) An LIP may have only one CCT Friend providing assistance and support at any one time during the proceedings. An LIP who wishes to change his CCT friend at any stage of the proceedings must file a fresh request to the Court, as the case may be.

(13) At any time during the proceedings, a Court may regulate the manner in which assistance is provided to the LIP, by:

(a) cautioning the CCT Friend to cease any offending behaviour;

(b) restricting or stopping the CCT Friend from assisting the LIP;

(c) directing the CCT Friend to leave the hearing room or chamber; or

(d) revoking any permission given to the party for the CCT Friend to assist him,

if it is of the opinion that the administration of justice is being impeded by the CCT Friend such as (but not limited to) where —

(i) the assistance provided by the CCT Friend is improper;

(ii) the assistance provided by the CCT Friend is unreasonable in nature or degree;

(iii) it is apparent to the Court or the opposing party that the CCT friend is not competent enough to interpret spoken communications or the relevant part(s) of the document(s) referred to in the proceedings;

(iv) the CCT Friend becomes disruptive through his words or behaviour;

(v) the CCT Friend distracts the LIP or takes over the proceedings on behalf of the LIP, or seeks or attempts to act as a lawyer for the LIP such as by speaking directly to the opposing party;

(vi) allowing the CCT Friend to remain would not be in the interests of justice and fairness or where it would obstruct the efficient administration of justice;

(vii) the CCT Friend is disqualified from being as such under paragraph (3); or

(viii) the CCT Friend breaches any prohibition in paragraph (5).

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