Popular keywords

When to attend court for a vulnerable adult application

Parties in an application to protect a vulnerable adult (VA) must first attend a court mention.

If the parties cannot resolve the matter during the mention, the case will proceed to a hearing at a later date. This will be before a judge, who will decide the outcome of the application.

Find out about what happens:

Attendance is compulsory

Both the applicant and the respondent must attend all the court sessions.

The Family Courts will inform you of the date, time and venue of your court session in the following ways:

For the first mention

  • As the applicant, you will receive a mention slip with the details after filing your application.
  • As the respondent, you will receive a summons with the mention details.

For the hearing

  • Both parties will be informed of the details of the hearing at the previous court session.

  • As the applicant, your application may be struck out.
  • As the respondent, the judge can either make an order in your absence or issue a warrant of arrest against you.

You can make an application to change the court date through the Integrated Family Application Management System (iFAMS). You must request at least 5 working days in advance and include supporting documents.

For urgent cases, contact the Family Justice Courts (FJC) Registry at fjcourts_maintpos@fjcourts.gov.sg or 6435 5077.

If the court grants your request, a new date will be arranged. Otherwise, you are required to attend the court session as scheduled.

If the vulnerable adult is afraid to see the respondent in court

The VA may wish to have a family member or friend accompany them to the court. If no one is able to accompany them, they may discuss with the court family specialists at the Family Protection Centre for alternative arrangements, such as attending via video conference instead.

The VA may also apply for other forms of assistance. Find out where to get help.

Arriving in court for your session

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.

If you are asked to attend court physically, you should:

  • Arrive early and find your way to the venue.
  • Refer to the building directory for more information.
  • Confirm your case is heard in the venue you are about to enter. Inform the court officer before entering, if applicable.
  • Dress neatly and decently when attending court.
  • Speak and conduct yourself in a courteous manner.
  • Bring the documents that you submitted to the court.

At your court mention

At the first mention, the relevant court officer will inform the respondent of the allegations made against them in the VA application.

What happens next depends on whether the respondent consents to the application.

If the respondent admits partially or fully to the allegations and consents to the application, the court may make a protective order for the VA if the court is satisfied with both of the following:

  • The VA has experienced, is experiencing or is at risk of abuse, neglect or self-neglect
  • The order is necessary for the protection and safety of the VA.

Depending on the nature of the case, the court may also order one or both parties to attend counselling or other court-directed programmes.

If the respondent does not consent to the application, the court may refer both parties to attend a counselling session or family conference with a court family specialist.

This may be on the same day. If there are no slots available on the same day, the session will take place on another date.

If the court does not refer the parties for counselling or if there is no resolution after the counselling session, the court may arrange for subsequent mentions or case conferences to give directions to the parties to prepare the case for a hearing.

The court may direct you and the other party to exchange documents and other evidence. The court will schedule a hearing date after the court is satisfied that parties are ready for the hearing.

At your hearing

At the hearing, both parties get the chance to present their case to a judge. You (or your lawyer, if any) will need to present your case:

If you are the applicant

You and your witnesses will present your case first. Both you and your witnesses can be questioned by the respondent on what you presented.

If you are the respondent

You and your witnesses will present your case after the complainant has done so. Both you and your witnesses can be questioned by the applicant on what you presented.

The judge will make a decision after both parties have presented their respective cases.

Possible outcomes of the hearing

The court may grant a protective order if the court is satisfied with both of the following:

  • The VA has experienced, is experiencing or is at risk of abuse, neglect or self-neglect
  • The order is necessary for the protection and safety of the VA.

Depending on the nature of the case, the court may also order one or both of the parties to attend counselling or other court directed programmes.

The court may also choose to dismiss the case and not make a protective order if there are no valid grounds (reasons) for the order.

After the court makes a protective order

If the respondent does not obey the order

If the respondent does not comply with the court order, the applicant may report the matter to the police.

The breach of a protective order is a criminal offence punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, an imprisonment term of up to 12 months, or both. A subsequent offence is punishable by a fine of up to $8,000, an imprisonment term of up to 18 months, or both.

If you are not satisfied: appeal

If 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 from the date the order was made.

You must also provide security for the other party’s costs of the appeal. This will cost $3,000. Find out more about appeals.

Go to Step-by-step guide

Step-by-step guide

2021/07/23

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 vulnerable adults brochure: 

Legislation associated with this topic includes:

Related questions

During the next court session (mention or hearing), you must inform the judge of your intent to withdraw. The court will direct you on what to do.

If the vulnerable adult (VA) has the mental capacity to decide on the application, the court will invite the VA to attend.

If the VA has been assessed to lack mental capacity (such as suffering from severe dementia, in which case the application is made by another person on their behalf), then it is unlikely that the court will invite the VA to attend.


Share this page:
Facebook
Twitter
Email
Print