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At your case conference

The court will schedule the date for the first court session known as a case conference immediately after it accepts an application under the International Child Abduction Act (ICAA).

A case conference is conducted by a Family Courts judge and is closed to the public. Only those directly involved in the matter can attend.

You do not have to attend the case conference yourself if you have a lawyer. Similarly, if the other party has a lawyer, their lawyer will attend the case conference.

If you are representing yourself, on the day of your case conference, you should:

  • Arrive early and find their way to the venue.
  • Confirm their case is heard in the venue they are about to enter. Inform the court officer before entering, if applicable.
  • Dress neatly and decently when attending court.
  • Speak and conduct themselves in a courteous manner.
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.

What to expect in a case conference

At the case conference, the court will give directions for the conduct of the proceedings. Depending on the nature of the case, parties may have to attend 2 or more case conferences.

If parties are able to resolve their dispute during the case conference, the court will record a consent order. The recording of the consent order will formally end the court proceedings.

If there is no agreement, the court may proceed to give directions to schedule a hearing date once it is satisfied that the case is ready for a hearing.

At your application hearing

If there is a possibility for resolution, the court may direct parties to attend private mediation.

Private mediation can either be conducted at the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC), the Law Society Mediation Scheme (LSMS) or an agreed private mediator chosen by the parties.

For these cases, the court may give directions on:

  • The payment of mediation fees.
  • The dates after the mediation for parties and their lawyers to return to court.
    • Parties or their lawyers will have to update the court on the outcome of the mediation during future court sessions.

If a resolution is not possible

If parties are not able to resolve the matter at the mediation sessions, the court may schedule a date for a hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court may proceed to make an order based on the affidavits that have been filed in court, and after hearing submissions from the parties or their lawyers (if applicable).

After an order is made

If you are the party who is granted the order, you must forward a copy of the order to the Central Authority of Singapore within 7 days from the date the order was made.

If you are the party against whom the order is made and you are not satisfied with the court's decision, you may appeal to the Family Division of the High Court by filing a Notice of Appeal.

You need to file and serve the notice within 14 days after the date the order was made. Find out about the appeal process.

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 Paragraph 44 of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions for proceedings under the International Child Abduction Act.

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