In Singapore, admiralty law deals with certain claims against ships, shipowners or ship charterers that fall under the admiralty jurisdiction of the General Division of the High Court.
Refer to Section 3 of the High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act for more information.
Some examples of admiralty cases that the General Division of the High Court can hear include:
Admiralty proceedings can be against one or both of the following types of parties:
If you file the claim, you are the claimant.
If you are the party against whom the claim is filed, you are the defendant. A ship can be a defendant in admiralty proceedings.
If your case includes arresting a ship, it will also involve:
As the claimant, you need to file an Originating Claim via eLitigation and serve it on the defendant to start a claim. The form you should use depends on whether your claim is against a person (in personam) or a ship or vessel (in rem):
If you are filing against...
Form to use
A person (in personam)
|Originating Claim (Form 8 in Appendix A of the Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021)
A ship or vessel (in rem)
|Originating Claim in Action in rem (Form 48 in Appendix A of the Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021)
Note: Although an in rem Originating Claim may be issued when the ship is out of jurisdiction (outside Singapore), the in rem Originating Claim can only be served on the ship when the ship is within Singapore port limits.
The in rem Originating Claim will be valid for 12 months. To renew an in rem Originating Claim, you may file a summons.
The court will arrange for you and the other party to attend a case conference (CC). This will usually be within 8 weeks after the Originating Claim is issued.
At the CC, a registrar will usually seek an update on the status of an action. The registrar will then give the parties directions to progress with the action in a quick and fair way. For example, the registrar may direct parties to file interlocutory applications within a certain timeline.
If you are applying to arrest a ship, you will need to file additional documents and apply for a warrant of arrest.
You will be known as the arresting party and will need to appoint the following:
Note: Refer to the Admiralty court guide for the detailed requirements and process.
After the ship has been arrested, the court may order the Sheriff to sell the ship. Find out more about the arrest and sale of ships.
Refer to the Fourth Schedule to the Rules of Court 2021 for the fees related to admiralty proceedings.
Refer to the Admiralty court guide.
If you are not represented by a lawyer, you may: