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What is an entity

In the legal context, an entity is an organisation that may be recognised by the law as having legal rights and responsibilities. If so, that entity can sue and be sued.

Examples of entities that may be involved in court proceedings include:

  • A company or body corporate.
  • A variable capital company.
  • A limited liability partnership.
  • A partnership.
  • An unincorporated association.

In legal proceedings, an entity must be represented by an individual, who must have authorisation from the entity's controlling body (such as board of directors) to represent the entity.

For criminal cases, a representative in relation to an entity means a person duly appointed by such entity to represent it at court proceedings, as defined in Section 117(5) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

 

For civil cases, the individual must be an officer of the entity, as defined in Order 1, Rule 9(6) of the Rules of Court.

How to represent an entity in court

If you are not a lawyer and you wish to represent an entity in a legal proceeding, what you need to do depends on the type of case:

Criminal cases

For criminal cases, the representative must be appointed through a Letter of Authorisation.

If you are appearing on behalf of a business entity in a criminal legal case, you will need to present a Letter of Authorisation at every court session. This certifies that you are appointed and authorised to represent the entity.

The Letter of Authorisation must be printed on the entity's official letterhead. It must be signed by one of the following officers, depending on the type of entity (according to Section 117(6) of the Criminal Procedure Code):

Type of entity

Who must sign the letter

A company (body corporate) or limited liability partnership

A director, manager, secretary or officer of similar authority.

A partnership

A partner, secretary or officer of similar authority.

An unincorporated association (which is not a partnership or registered trade union)

The president, secretary, any member of the committee or officer of similar authority.

The letter should include the following information:

  • The representative's name, identification number (NRIC, passport or FIN) and designation.
  • The name, identification number (NRIC, passport or FIN) and designation of the person who signed the letter.
Note
The Letter of Authorisation must be presented at every court session, as the court needs to check that the person attending is authorised and appointed to represent the entity. The letter must not be out-of-date.

Tribunal cases

For tribunal cases heard in the Small Claims Tribunals (SCT) or Employment Claims Tribunals (ECT), the representative must be appointed through a Letter of Authorisation.

If you are appearing on behalf of a business entity in a legal case in a tribunal, you will need to present a Letter of Authorisation at every court session. This certifies that you are appointed and authorised to represent the entity.

The Letter of Authorisation must be printed on the entity's official letterhead. It must be signed by one of the following officers, depending on the type of entity:

Type of entity

Who must sign the letter

A limited liability partnership

A partner, manager or officer of similar authority.

Any other body corporate (for example, a company)

A director, chief executive, manager, secretary or officer of similar authority.

A partnership

A partner or officer of similar authority.

An unincorporated association (which is not a partnership or registered trade union)

The president, any member of the governing body or officer of similar authority.

The letter should include the following information:

  • The representative's name, identification number (NRIC, passport or FIN) and designation.
  • The name, identification number (NRIC, passport or FIN) and designation of the person who signed the letter.
  • Confirmation that the representative is a full-time employee of the entity.

Refer to this sample for more instructions (PDF, 182 KB).

The Letter of Authorisation needs to be uploaded in the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS) as a supporting document.

Note
The Letter of Authorisation must be presented at every court session, as the court needs to check that the person attending is authorised and appointed to represent the entity. The letter must not be out-of-date.

Note:

Civil or family cases

In general, an entity that is involved in a court proceeding must be represented by lawyers. This includes proceedings for civil or family cases in any of the following courts:

  • Magistrates' Courts.
  • District Courts.
  • Family Justice Courts, which includes the Family Courts and Family Division of the High Court.
  • Supreme Court, which includes the High Court (General Division and Appellate Division) and Court of Appeal.

However, the court may allow an officer of the entity to act on its behalf if the court is satisfied that it is appropriate to allow this, given the circumstances of the case. The entity must file an application for the court's leave (permission).

Who can represent an entity

Not all officers are allowed to represent an entity in civil or family proceedings. Only the following officers are allowed to apply as representatives, depending on the type of entity:

Type of entity

Who can represent

A company or variable capital company

A director, secretary or a person employed in an executive capacity by the company or variable capital company.

A limited liability partnership

A partner or manager of the limited liability partnership.

An unincorporated association (which is not a partnership or registered trade union)

The president, secretary or any member of the committee of the unincorporated association.

Apply to represent an entity (civil or family cases)

The entity will have to file a formal application to the court via eLitigation. The application must be made via a Summons (Form 60 of the Rules of Court) accompanied by a supporting affidavit.

An affidavit is a written statement of fact that must be sworn or affirmed before a Commissioner for Oaths before it is filed.

The affidavit for this application must be made by an officer of the entity who is not the officer to be appointed to represent the entity in legal proceedings.

The affidavit should include:

  • The proposed representative's position as an officer in the entity.
  • The date that the proposed representative was authorised to act for the entity.
  • How (the manner by which) the proposed representative is authorised to act on behalf of the entity in that matter or proceeding.
  • Why leave (permission) should be given for the proposed representative to act on behalf of the entity.
  • The reasons why the entity cannot hire a qualified lawyer to represent it in the proceedings.
    • These may include information about how complicated the case is, what the issues in dispute are and how weak or strong the entity’s case is.
  • Information about the proposed representative's ability to handle the case on the entity's behalf.
    • This is to satisfy the court that the proposed representative will be able to assist the court, understand any orders or directions that the court may give, and ensure compliance with the court's orders or directions.
    • Information that should be provided include the person's qualifications and language abilities, whether the person resides in Singapore and whether the person is an undischarged bankrupt.
  • A copy of the document of the entity authorising the representative to act on its behalf in that matter or proceeding.
  • Other documents that should be exhibited to support the application.
    • For instance, if the affidavit states that the entity is unable to engage a lawyer because of lack of access to financial resources, then documentary proof relating to the financial position of the entity should be exhibited.

Estimated fees

The estimated fees for filing the application depends on the type of court. Refer to Appendix B of the Rules of Court for the full list of fees.

The estimated fees include:

Item or service

Estimated fee

File a summons

$10

File an affidavit

  • (Up to 10 pages) $10
  • (More than 10 pages) $1 per page

Note: This table does not include additional fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

The estimated fees include:

Item or service

Estimated fee

File a summons

$20

File an affidavit

  • (Up to 10 pages) $10
  • (More than 10 pages) $1 per page

Note: This table does not include additional fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

For a case with a value up to $1 million, the estimated fees include:

Item or service

Estimated fee

File a summons

$100

File an affidavit

  • (Up to 25 pages) $50
  • (More than 25 pages) $2 per page

Note: This table does not include additional fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

For a case with a value exceeding $1 million, the estimated fees include:

Item or service

Estimated fee

File a summons

$200

File an affidavit

  • (Up to 25 pages) $50
  • (More than 25 pages) $2 per page

Note: This table does not include additional fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

How to apply

If you are the individual filing on behalf of the entity, you will need to follow these steps:

Step

Result

1. File the application

Your application is filed in the court.

2. Collect the endorsed documents

You receive a copy of the application documents that have been endorsed by the court.

3. Serve the application

You inform the other party of your application.

File the prepared documents via eLitigation. Parties who are not represented by a lawyer need to visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file in person.

The Service Bureau will notify you via email or SMS of whether the court accepts your application documents.

If the court accepts your application documents, you will be asked to return to the Service Bureau to collect an endorsed version of the documents. This will include the date and time of a hearing that you must attend.

You will need to serve a copy of the endorsed documents on the other parties in the case (in accordance with Order 32, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court).

This involves giving them a copy of the document in any of the following ways:

  • By leaving the document at the other party's address.
  • By post.
  • In any other manner as agreed between the parties or as directed by the court. (1)

This informs them of the application and the hearing.

After filing: attend a hearing

You must attend the scheduled hearing.

The court may grant leave (permission) for the proposed representative to represent the entity if the court is satisfied with all of the following:

  • The proposed representative has been authorised by the entity to do so.
  • It is appropriate to allow the proposed representative to act on behalf of the entity in the circumstances of the case.

The court may allow the proposed representative to represent the entity subject to certain conditions, depending on the facts of the case. These conditions may include:

  • That the proposed representative be contacted on all matters in the legal proceedings and service of court papers.
  • That the proposed representative undertake to be personally responsible for the legal costs that the court may make against the entity.
  • That the proposed representative should provide information on their assets to meet any potential costs orders which may be made against the entity.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

Resources

For civil cases, refer to the User Guide for Non-lawyers Seeking to Represent Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) or Unincorporated Associations in Legal Proceedings:


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