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When you can appeal

Orders by the Small Claims Tribunals (SCT) are final and binding.

Either party in a small claims case may file an appeal if they are not satisfied with certain types of orders by the SCT.

Note

If you missed a court session and an order was made in your absence, you cannot file an appeal. You may apply to set aside the order instead.

Appeals can be filed at 2 stages:

  • After a consultation with a registrar.
  • After a hearing with a tribunal magistrate.
Tip

All applications must be filed through the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS). If you need access to computers, visit the Business Centre at Level 2 of the State Courts during the operating hours.

At the consultation, you may receive a discontinuance order. This means the registrar views your claim as being outside the SCT’s jurisdiction (not eligible to be heard by the SCT).

You may file an appeal within 1 month of the registrar’s discontinuance order if you do not agree with the decision.

Key facts

Refer to the key facts about filing an appeal:

When to file

Within 1 month of the date of the registrar's discontinuance order.

Filing fee

$20.

Who will hear the appeal

A tribunal magistrate.

How to file

Through the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS).

What you will need

For the application, you will need to provide your:

  • Claim number.
  • Order number.
  • Grounds of appeal (reasons for appealing).
  • Supporting documents (if any) in PDF format.

How to file

Log in to CJTS. Under the Online Applications tab, select Appeal against Order of Registrar.

Follow the instructions to fill in the required information and pay the $20 filing fee.

After you file

There will be a hearing with a tribunal magistrate, who will decide whether to allow or dismiss your appeal. Both you and the other party to the claim need to attend.

The SCT will inform you of the hearing date through CJTS. You must attend court on the stated date and time. If you are absent, your appeal may be dismissed.

Outcomes of the appeal

If your appeal is dismissed, the discontinuance order stands. The filing fees are not refundable. The claim cannot proceed at the SCT, but you may pursue your case in other courts.

If your appeal is allowed, the tribunal magistrate may proceed to hear your claim and make an order.

The tribunal magistrate's decision to allow or dismiss your appeal against the registrar's discontinuance order is final and is not subject to any further appeal.

As a party in a small claims case, you may appeal against the tribunal magistrate’s order only based on one or both of the following grounds:

  • Question of law: An enquiry into the law. This differs from a question of fact, which looks at the facts of a case.
  • Question of jurisdiction: An enquiry into whether the claim can be heard by the SCT or falls outside its jurisdiction.
    • Example: Whether the contract in question exceeded the monetary limit of the SCT.

An appeal cannot be based on a question relating to a finding of fact by the tribunal magistrate. New evidence is not allowed in an appeal.

What can be appealed against

Refer to the following to find out which orders by a tribunal magistrate can be appealed against (1):

You can appeal against...

You cannot appeal against...

  • Money orders.
  • Work orders.
  • Orders for vacant possession.
  • Consent orders.
  • Orders dismissing a claim.
  • Orders to vary a work order.
  • Any ancillary orders made to give effect to any order by the SCT.

Where will the appeal be heard

The General Division of the High Court will hear the appeal. Before you can appeal to the General Division of the High Court, you will need to apply for leave (permission) from the District Court.

Note

You can engage a lawyer to represent you when applying for leave to appeal from the District Court and for appeal hearings in the General Division of the High Court.

A corporate entity (such as a company, partnership or association) must be represented by a lawyer for appeal hearings in the General Division of the High Court, unless the court grants permission.

How to appeal against a tribunal magistrate’s decision

All applications are made through the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS).

Follow these steps:

Step

Estimated fees

When to apply

1. Apply for leave to appeal from the District Court

$100

Within 14 days of the tribunal magistrate’s order

2. File the Notice of Appeal and provide the security for costs

$600 filing fee, $500 as security for costs and other fees

Within 1 month of the District Court order granting leave to appeal

3. File the Appellant's Case

None

Within 21 days of the notification for the record of proceedings

1. Apply for leave to appeal from the District Court

When: within 14 days of the tribunal magistrate’s order

What you will need

For the application, you will need to provide your:

  • Claim number.
  • Order number.
  • Grounds of appeal (reasons for appealing, which must be based on a question of law or jurisdiction).
  • Supporting documents (if any) in PDF format.

How to file

Log in to CJTS. Under the Online Applications tab, select Application for Leave to Appeal.

Follow the instructions to fill in the required information and pay the $100 filing fee.

After you file

Follow the following steps:

  • Attend a pre-hearing conference
    • The court will inform you and the other party of a pre-hearing conference date through CJTS.
    • At the pre-hearing conference, an SCT registrar will brief you and the other party on the administrative details of the appeal before scheduling a hearing with a district judge.
  • Attend a hearing of the application for leave to appeal
    • At the hearing, a district judge will decide whether to allow or dismiss the application for leave to appeal to the General Division of the High Court.

Note: You and the other party need to attend both the pre-hearing conference and the hearing of the application for leave to appeal.

The district judge’s decision on whether to grant or deny leave is final and is not subject to any further appeal.

2. File the Notice of Appeal and provide the security for costs

When: within 1 month of the District Court order granting leave to appeal

Note
You may proceed with the appeal only if the District Court grants you leave.

File the Notice of Appeal and all related documents within 1 month of the date of the District Court order granting leave to appeal.

How to file

Log in to CJTS. Under the Online Applications tab, select Notice of Appeal.

Follow the instructions and pay the required fees. This table summarises the steps:

Step

Fee

Extract the order granting leave to appeal

$50

Obtain the documents for the Accountant-General's Department (AGD) for Security for Costs

$10

Provide the security for costs to the AGD

$500

Request the Certificate for Security for Costs

$20

File the Notice of Appeal

$600

For detailed instructions, refer to the CJTS user guide for small claims (PDF, 4448 KB).

How to provide the security for costs

You will need to deposit $500 to the Accountant-General's Department (AGD) as security for costs. This amount serves as a deposit for the respondent’s costs of appeal.

You should submit an application through CJTS. Under the Online Applications tab, submit a General Application for submission of security for costs. The SCT will give you further instructions on how to deposit the security for costs with the AGD.

After you file

After you file the Notice of Appeal, the SCT will prepare the record of proceedings related to your case. The record of proceedings include:

  • A certified copy of the grounds of the order (the reasons for the court’s decision).
  • A certified copy of the notes of proceedings (a record of the notes taken by the tribunal magistrate during the hearing).

The SCT will send the record of proceedings to you through CJTS.

Tip
You should read these documents carefully and consider if you wish to continue with the appeal. You may wish to seeklegal advice on the merits of your case.

3. File the Appellant's Case

When: within 21 days of the notification of the record of proceedings

To continue with the appeal, file the Appellant's Case in CJTS within 21 days of the date of the record of proceedings notification. If you do not file within 21 days, your appeal will be treated as withdrawn.

You will also need to serve a copy of the documents on the respondent.

How to file

Log in to CJTS. Under the Online Applications tab, select Appellant's Case. Follow the instructions and fill in the required information.

How to serve

You must serve a copy of the Appellant's Case on the respondent in one or more of the following ways:

Personal delivery

 

To an individual: Hand the documents to the respondent.

To a company: Hand the documents to the staff or slip the notice under the door of the office premises.

Registered post

 

To an individual: Send the documents by registered post to the party’s last known residential address or registered address.

To a company: Send the documents to the party’s ACRA registered address, in an envelope addressed to the respondent.

After you file

The SCT will send the documents related to your case to the General Division of the High Court. The General Division of the High Court will inform you of the date, time and venue of your appeal via post.

The outcome of your appeal depends on the decision the General Division of the High Court makes at the hearing:

Court's decision

What it means

Allow your appeal

The General Division of the High Court may set aside or vary (change) the order by the SCT.

Dismiss your appeal

There are no changes to the original SCT decision.

Order another hearing

Your case may be sent back to the same tribunal for reconsideration or to another tribunal for a rehearing.

The decision of the General Division of the High Court is final and is not subject to any further appeal.

Apply for a stay of execution

You must still comply with an order after you file an appeal against it. The other party can enforce the order if you do not comply.

If you wish for an order not to take effect while you wait for the outcome of your appeal, you need to apply for a stay of execution. The order can only be stayed (suspended) if the application is granted by the court. (4)

What you will need

For the application, you will need to provide your:

  • Claim number.
  • Order number.
  • Reasons for applying.
  • Supporting documents (if any) in PDF format.

How to file

Log in to CJTS. Under the Online Applications tab, select Application for Stay of Execution. Follow the instructions to fill in the required information, which includes your reasons for applying.

After you file

The SCT will schedule a hearing for your application and inform you of the date and time to attend court through CJTS.

If your application is allowed, the other party is not allowed to enforce the SCT order against you.

If your application is dismissed, the other party may enforce the SCT order against you.

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

Refer to A Guide to Small Claims (PDF, 716 KB).

Related questions

The party who files the appeal is the appellant. The other party is the respondent.
The SCT will inform you via CJTS if the other party is appealing. You will need to attend all the scheduled court sessions for the appeal.

If the appellant proceeds to file and serve the Appellant's Case on you, you will need to file the Respondent's Case within 14 days of the service of the Appellant's Case.

No, only discontinuance orders by the registrar can be appealed against.
Refer to the following grounds of decision by the High Court in previous appeals against SCT decisions:

Note: These cases are reproduced with permission from the Singapore Academy of Law. All rights reserved. No portion of the cases may be used or reproduced without the prior written consent of the Singapore Academy of Law.

All filing fees are non-refundable.
If you are successful in your appeal or you withdraw your appeal, the security deposit will be refunded to you.

If you are unsuccessful in your appeal, your security for costs deposit will be forfeited to pay for the costs of the appeal. You can be ordered to pay an additional sum of money if the costs of the appeal are higher than the amount of the security for costs.

2021/07/23

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