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The simplified process framework

The simplified process framework applies to lower value claims.

Under Order 65 of Rules of Court 2021, a civil simplified case conference will be convened for all Magistrate’s Court cases, except non-injury motor accident claims, personal injury claims and medical negligence claims, which fall under the court dispute resolution framework. 

Parties to a District Court case who consent to apply Order 65 of Rules of Court 2021 to their proceedings can also use the simplified process framework. They can indicate their intention by filing Form 3 of Appendix A1 of the State Court Practice Directions 2021.

How will cases on the simplified process framework proceed

A civil simplified case conference (CC) will be conducted for cases on the simplified process framework.

In the CC, the court will consider with the parties all available options for resolving the case. If a resolution cannot be reached, the court will make orders or directions to move the matter to trial or an assessment of damages. 

Refer to the following for an overview of the simplified process framework:

simplified-process-framework

Before the first civil simplified CC

The following applies to a case identified for the simplified process:

  • The first civil simplified CC will be scheduled around 7 weeks from the date that the defence was filed. The parties will be informed of this through a civil simplified CC notice which will state:
    • The case has been identified for the simplified process.
    • Date of the first civil simplified CC.
    • Documents that need to be filed.
    • Steps that need to be taken.
  • The parties should do the following 7 days before the first civil simplified CC:
    • Exchange proposals in writing using Form 4 of Appendix A1 to the State Court Practice Directions 2021 on a “without prejudice save as to costs” basis for the amicable resolution of the matter.
    • File through eLitigation:
      • Form 5 of Appendix A1 to the State Courts Practice Directions 2021 stating the list of issues in the dispute and the list of witnesses the parties intend to call in support of their case.
      • Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Form (Form 6 of Appendix A1 to the State Courts Practice Directions 2021) in order to facilitate a decision on the court alternative dispute resolution (Court ADR) options. The Court ADR Form must be read and completed by each party. If there is a solicitor acting for the party, the solicitor must also complete the form.
      • Completed checklist enclosed to the civil simplified CC notice.
  • At each civil simplified CC, the Court will consider with the parties all available options in the case. The solicitor in charge of the case for that party must attend the civil simplified CC.

The first civil simplified CC

If all the parties are represented, the civil simplified CC will be conducted via video conferencing. If there is at least one party who is unrepresented, the civil simplified CC will be conducted by a physical hearing.

At the civil simplified CC, the court may manage the case by:

  • Encouraging the parties to co-operate in the proceedings.
  • Assisting the parties to identify and narrow the issues at an early stage.
  • Dealing with any interlocutory issues, including giving directions for discovery or for the parties to file the Single Application Pending Trial (SAPT).
  • Considering with the parties the benefits and costs of their proposed steps.
  • Encouraging the parties to negotiate to resolve the issues or case, to undergo Court ADR, as well as facilitating the use of the appropriate Court ADR option.
  • Helping the parties to settle the whole or part of the case.
  • Giving directions to ensure that the case progresses expeditiously (including directions for the case to proceed to trial).
  • Fixing timelines to manage and control the progress of the case.
  • Taking other action or making other direction that is appropriate in the circumstances.

The court may also fix further civil simplified CC and direct the parties to provide further status updates. This is to ensure compliance with the directions given and to give further directions where necessary.

Subsequent civil simplified CCs

Further civil simplified CCs may be convened if required by the court on the parties’ application.

Single Application Pending Trial and other applications

The court may direct the parties to file and serve the Single Application Pending Trial and/or give any directions in respect of other stand-alone applications.

A party who intends to file any application, besides those directed at a civil simplified CC, must seek the court’s approval. This can be done by filing:

  • "Request to seek Permission for Application”. This must be copied to all other parties. 

or

  • "Request for Case Conference”, if the parties wish to make the submissions in a physical or remote CC. The request should state why the request for the court’s approval to file further applications cannot or should not be dealt with outside a CC.

Directions to be given at a civil simplified CC

Parties should agree on the directions that they are seeking from the court before they attend a civil simplified CC. If they cannot agree, they must inform the court of the items they disagree with and submit their respective positions on each item at the civil simplified CC.

A party who fails to comply with the directions given and is seeking an extension of time to comply must inform the court:

  • Why the directions have not been complied with.
  • Why they are seeking an extension of time.
  • Whether the other party agrees to the extension of time.

If any party fails to provide the update on the progress of the matter, the list of directions sought, or fails to comply with the court’s directions, the court may proceed to give the necessary directions to the parties, to facilitate the progress of the case.

Setting down for trial

If the action is not disposed of by the court or settled or resolved, the court will, at an appropriate stage, set down the matter for trial. 

If the matter is set down by the date fixed by the court, a pre-trial case conference will be arranged and any outstanding civil simplified CC will be set aside. 

When the matter has been set down, the parties should seek extended timelines and/or permission to file any further applications at the civil simplified CC or from the trial judge if one has been allocated.

    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.

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    2022/04/05

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