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This is the process to appeal against a decision made by a district judge or magistrate in the Family Courts. Find out more about appeals against decisions made by other Family Justice Courts officers.

Who can appeal

You should be a party in a Family Courts case, such as the:

  • Party who filed an application: plaintiff, complainant or applicant.
  • Party against whom an application is filed: defendant, respondent, co-defendant or defendant-in-counterclaim.
  • Third party.

What you can appeal against

You can appeal a judgment, order or decision made by a district judge or magistrate in the Family Courts.

The appeal will be heard by the Family Division of the High Court.

Note

Any appeal must be filed within 14 days after the date of the court decision. Otherwise, the Notice of Appeal will be rejected.

If you miss the deadline, you will have to file an Originating Summons in the Family Division of the High Court to apply for an extension of time. This must be supported by an affidavit explaining your reasons for the application. (If you have not missed the deadline but wish to ask for more time to appeal, you may file a Summons in the Family Courts.)

Before you appeal: check if security for costs is needed

In some cases, you may need to provide security for costs to file an appeal. Security for costs serves as a deposit for the other party's costs of appeal.

If you are appealing against any of the following orders, you must provide $3,000 as security for costs. (This list is from Rule 821 of the Family Justice Rules.)

Security for costs is required to appeal any of the following orders under the Women's Charter:

  • An order for ancillary relief (not being an interim order) under Chapter 4 or 5 of Part X of the Women’s Charter, pursuant to a Writ of Summons of divorce, judicial separation or nullity of marriage.
    • An order for ancillary relief may involve matters such as (but not limited to) the division of matrimonial assets, maintenance or welfare of children.
  • An order under Chapter 4 or 5 of Part X of the Women’s Charter, varying in whole or in part an order for ancillary relief (not being an interim order) pursuant to a Writ of Summons for divorce, judicial separation or nullity of marriage.
  • An order with respect to the title to or possession of the property pursuant to Section 59 of the Women’s Charter.
  • A protection order, or a variation or rescission of a protection order, pursuant to Section 65 or Section 67 of the Women’s Charter.
  • An order for the payment of any sum towards the maintenance of a wife or child pursuant to Section 69 of the Women’s Charter.
  • An order for the enforcement, variation or rescission of a maintenance order pursuant to Section 71, Section 72 or Section 81 of the Women’s Charter.
  • An order made pursuant to an application under Section 94 of the Women’s Charter.
  • An order for interim judgment under Section 95(4) of the Women’s Charter.
  • A judgment of judicial separation under Section 101 of the Women’s Charter.
  • A judgment of nullity under Section 110 of the Women’s Charter.
  • An order for financial relief pursuant to Section 121G of the Women’s Charter.

Security for costs is required to appeal the following order under the Administration of the Muslim Law Act:

  • An order for the enforcement of any order of the Syariah Court pursuant to Section 53 of the Administration of the Muslim Law Act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any adoption order made under the Adoption of Children Act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any order under the Guardianship of Infants Act relating to the custody, care and control of a child, the right of access to a child, the relocation of a child or the payment of any sum towards the maintenance of a child.

Security for costs is required to appeal any order made under Section 3 or Section 6 of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any order made under Part III (other than Section 9 or 10) of the International Child Abduction Act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any order made under Section 4 of the Legitimacy Act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any order for the enforcement of a maintenance order made under the Maintenance of Parents Act pursuant to Section 10 of that act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any provisional maintenance order made under the Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any of the following orders under the Mental Capacity Act will require security:

  • An order, a decision or a direction under Section 17 or Section 18 of the Mental Capacity Act.
  • A declaration made under Section 19 of the Mental Capacity Act.
  • An order making a decision on behalf of a person lacking capacity under Section 20 of the Mental Capacity Act.
  • An order relating to the appointment of a deputy or successor deputy (including a variation or discharge of any such order) or an order revoking any such appointment or the powers conferred on any deputy or successor deputy, pursuant to Sections 20 to 24 of the Mental Capacity Act.
  • An order of suspension under Section 36A of the Mental Capacity Act.
  • An order under Section 38 of the Mental Capacity Act granting or refusing permission for an application to the court under that Act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any of the following orders:

  • An order relating to the grant of probate of a will or letters of administration of an estate of a deceased person, or for the revocation of any such grant, or for a decree pronouncing for or against the validity of an alleged will, under the Probate and Administration Act.
  • Any order relating to the administration of an estate of a deceased person.

Security for costs is required to appeal any order made under the Status of Children (Assisted Reproduction Technology) Act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any order made under Section 17A(2) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any order made under the Voluntary Sterilization Act.

Security for costs is required to appeal any order made under Division 1, Division 2 or Division 3 of Part 2 of the Vulnerable Adults Act, or any order made under Part 4 of the Vulnerable Adults Act.

How to provide security for costs

Security for costs must be deposited with the Accountant-General's Department (AGD).

If you are represented by a lawyer for the appeal, you may consult your lawyers on the filing of an undertaking for the security for costs on your behalf.

If you are not represented for the appeal, you may follow the relevant process, depending on how your case was filed in the Family Courts.

If you have been filing documents through the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau, then your case is an eLitigation case.

If your case was concluded before 2004, your case is a manual case.

Visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau and file a Direction to Accountant-General for Payment In.

After this is accepted by the court, email a copy of the documents to VITAL_FS_Receivable@vital.gov.sg. VITAL will advise on the submission of the $3,000 security deposit. E-payments are strongly encouraged. Please expect a processing time of 1 clear working day for the security deposit submission.

Note: The appeal timeline will continue to run during any processing time. Please contact VITAL directly if the processing time is longer than expected.

You will receive a receipt for the deposit. You will need to submit this receipt when filing the appeal.

These cases are filed in the Integrated Family Application Management System (iFAMS):

If your case was filed in iFAMS, visit the Maintenance Registry in the Family Justice Courts to file a Direction to Accountant-General for Payment In. You will need to pay $20.

After this is accepted by the court, email a copy of the documents to VITAL_FS_Receivable@vital.gov.sg. VITAL will advise on the submission of the $3,000 security deposit. E-payments are strongly encouraged. Please expect a processing time of 1 working day for the security deposit submission.

You will receive a receipt for the deposit. You will need to submit this receipt when filing the Notice of Appeal.

How to file the appeal

Key facts

Refer to the key facts about filing an appeal against a decision by a Family Courts district judge or magistrate.

Who can file

A party in a Family Courts case.

When to file

Within 14 days after the date of the judgment, order or decision.

Estimated fees

Refer to this list.

How to file

Through eLitigation.

The party who files the appeal is the appellant. The other party is the respondent.

Estimated fees

The filing fees vary depending on whether the decision you are appealing against falls within the list of orders that require security for costs.

If security for costs is needed

  • File a Notice of Appeal: $600
  • File a Certificate for Security for Costs: $50
  • File a record of appeal: $20 per volume
  • File the Appellant's Case: $600

If security for costs is not needed

  • File the Notice of Appeal: $150
  • File a record of appeal: $20 per volume
  • File the appellant's submissions: No filing fee

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

How to file

Note
If your appeal requires security for costs, you must submit the security deposit before filing the appeal.

You may choose to file personally or through a lawyer. Ifyou are represented by a lawyer, the application will be filed by your lawyer.

If you are not represented by a lawyer, follow these steps to file an appeal.

Step

Result

1. File the Notice of Appeal

Your application is filed in the court's system.

2. Collect the accepted Notice of Appeal

You receive a copy of the Notice of Appeal that has been endorsed by the court.

3. Serve the Notice of Appeal

You inform the respondent of your application.

4. Collect and review the record of proceedings

You read the record of proceedings and decide if you want to continue with the appeal.

5. File and serve the record of appeal and required documents

Your appeal will proceed if you file the documents within the required timeframe.

1. File the Notice of Appeal

When: within 14 days of the court decision

Visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file the Notice of Appeal (Form 165, Family Justice Courts (FJC) Practice Directions) and pay the filing fees.

If your appeal requires security for costs

If your appeal requires security for costs, you need to file a Certificate for Security for Costs (Form 166, FJC Practice Directions) together with the Notice of Appeal. The Certificate for Security for Costs must include the receipt for the security deposit.

2. Collect the accepted Notice of Appeal

When: after you receive a notification

If the court accepts your Notice of Appeal, the Service Bureau will inform you via email or SMS. The Service Bureau will inform you to return to collect the Notice of Appeal endorsed by the court. The endorsed Notice of Appeal will bear a court seal.

3. Serve the Notice of Appeal

You must serve the endorsed copy of the Notice of Appeal on the respondent according to the timelines set out in the rules. You can give them a copy of the document in any of the following ways:

4. Collect and review the record of proceedings

When: after you receive a notification

You will receive a Notice of Collection from the court via email or post informing you to collect the record of proceedings. This is usually within 3 months of filing the Notice of Appeal.

The record of proceedings includes:

  • A certified copy of the judgment or grounds of judgment or order (if any).
  • A copy of the certified transcript of the hearing.
Tip
You should read the record of proceedings carefully and consider if you wish to continue with the appeal. You may wish to seek legal advice on the merits of your case.

5. File and serve the record of appeal and required documents

To continue with the appeal, you will need to file the following documents via eLitigation within the required timeframe. The exact documents and timeframe depend on whether the decision you are appealing against falls within the list of orders that require security for costs to appeal.

To proceed with the appeal, you need to file the following documents via eLitigation within 1 month of the date of the Notice of Collection:

  • Record of appeal.
  • Appellant's Case.
How to prepare the documents

The record of appeal should include a copy each of the:

  • Notice of Appeal.
  • Certificate of payment of security for costs.
  • Record of proceedings.
  • Affidavits of Evidence-in-Chief.
  • Documents in the nature of pleadings.
    • These may include the Statement of Claim, Defence, Reply, Counterclaim or Defence to Counterclaim.
  • Judgment or order you are appealing against.

Note: You should also include any other documents that are relevant to the matter or the nature of the appeal.

The Appellant's Case is a document that states the following points:

  • Circumstances out of which the appeal arises.
  • Issues arising in the appeal.
  • Your contentions (arguments) for the appeal and the authorities (relevant cases, statutes, subsidiary legislation and other materials) that support your arguments.
  • Reasons for the appeal.

Note: It should be formatted as numbered paragraphs and be as concise as possible.

Refer to Rules 827 and 828 of the Family Justice Rules for more information.

To proceed with the appeal, you need to file the following documents via eLitigation within 7 working days of the date of the Notice of Collection:

  • Record of appeal.
  • Appellant's submissions.
How to prepare the documents

The record of appeal should include a copy each of the:

  • Notice of Appeal.
  • Record of proceedings.
  • Affidavits of Evidence-in-Chief.
  • Documents in the nature of pleadings.
    • These may include the Statement of Claim, Defence, Reply, Counterclaim or Defence to Counterclaim.
  • Judgment or order you are appealing against.

Note: You should also include any other documents that are relevant to the matter or the nature of the appeal.

The appellant's submissions should include:

  • Circumstances out of which the appeal arises.
  • Issues arising in the appeal.
  • Your contentions (arguments) for the appeal and the authorities (relevant cases, statutes, subsidiary legislation and other materials) that support your arguments.
  • Reasons for the appeal.

Refer to Paragraph 125 of the FJC Practice Directions for more information.

How to file and serve

Visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file the record of appeal and the other prepared documents.

You will also need to serve the documents on the respondent in any of the following ways:

After you file

Before the appeal hearing, the court may schedule a pre-trial conference to give you and the respondent directions on what to do for the case to proceed to a hearing.

If the case is ready for a hearing, the court will inform you of the date and time of the hearing either during the pre-trial conference, or through a Registrar's Notice sent to you via email or post. Both you and the respondent must attend the appeal hearing.

Tip: If you are unable to attend, you must email FJCOURTS_Family_Registry@FJCourts.gov.sg immediately to request a later hearing date and state the reasons for your request. If possible, do obtain the other party's consent.

Note
Some court sessions may be conducted virtually. The court will inform you if you do not need to attend court in person. Find out more about virtual court sessions.

At your appeal hearing

The court will decide whether to allow or dismiss your appeal.

This is the general process during an appeal hearing:

  • The court will ask you (the appellant) to present your arguments for appeal.
  • The court will hear from the respondent, who may respond to your arguments and present their case.
  • The court may then ask you to reply to the respondent.

The court may issue a decision on the day of the hearing or choose to reserve judgment. If the court chooses to reserve judgment, you will receive further directions on what happens next.

Outcomes of the appeal

There are 2 possible outcomes:

If your appeal is allowed

You get some or all of the changes you asked for, either in full or in part. The court may vary or overrule the original court’s decision, or make a new order.

If your appeal is dismissed

There are no changes to the original court's decision.

After the appeal ends

Either party may extract the orders made by the court.

If you provided security for costs

If there are no cost orders made against you, the security for costs will be refunded.

You should seek an order from the hearing judge for the release of the security for costs.

Visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file a Direction to Account-General for Payment Out. You should also bring any supporting documents showing that the cost has been paid to the respondent.

When the documents are accepted by the court, email a copy to VITAL_FS_Receivable@vital.gov.sg. VITAL will advise on the refund of the security deposit.

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 the appeals information sheet (PDF, 218 KB).

Related questions

You can retrieve your security for costs by filing a request known as payment out.

For cases filed in eLitigation or manual cases (concluded before 2004):

For cases filed through iFAMS:

  • File a Direction to Accountant-General for Payment Out at the maintenance registry. You will need to make payment of $20.
  • After your documents are accepted by the court, please email a copy to VITAL_FS_Receivable@vital.gov.sg.
  • VITAL will advise on the refund of your security deposit.

If you want to withdraw your appeal, you will need to file a Notice of Withdrawal through eLitigation. The estimated filing fee is $50.

Please indicate all of the following:

  • Whether the other party consents to the withdrawal.
  • Whether cost issues have been agreed on or are outstanding.
  • Whether there are any other outstanding issues.

If the other party filed an appeal, you will receive a Notice of Appeal from them. After that, if they wish to proceed with the appeal, they will serve the record of appeal, Appellant's Case or submissions, and other documents on you.

What you need to do next depends on the type of appeal filed against you:

If you received the Appellant's Case

You will need to file the Respondent's Case to the Family Courts via eLitigation within 1 month of the service of the record of appeal and the Appellant's Case.

The Respondent's Case is a document that states the following points:

  • Circumstances out of which the appeal arises.
  • Issues arising in the appeal.
  • Your contentions (arguments) for the appeal and the authorities (relevant case laws, statutes, subsidiary legislation and other materials) that support your arguments.
  • Reasons against the appeal.

Note: It should be formatted as numbered paragraphs and be as concise as possible. Refer to Rule 828 of the Family Justice Rules for more information.

If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file the documents. The estimated fee is $300. (This does not include additional fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.)

After you file, you need to serve the documents on the appellant. This means giving them a copy of the documents in any of the following ways:

If you received the appellant's submissions

You will need to file the respondent's submissions to the Family Courts via eLitigation within 7 days of the service of the record of appeal and the Appellant's Case.

The respondent's submissions should include:

  • Circumstances out of which the appeal arises.
  • Issues arising in the appeal.
  • Your contentions (arguments) for the appeal and the authorities (relevant case laws, statutes, subsidiary legislation and other materials) that support your arguments.
  • Reasons against the appeal.

Refer to Paragraph 125 of the FJC Practice Directions for more information.

If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file the documents.

After you file, you need to serve the documents on the appellant. This means giving them a copy of the documents in any of the following ways:


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