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Syariah Court orders and the Family Justice Courts

Under the Administration of Muslim Law Act, the Syariah Court administers a large part of the Muslim law in Singapore and can make orders related to the following:

  • Divorce.
  • Ancillary matters regarding assets and children.
  • Payment of emas kahwin and marriage expenses.
  • Payment of maintenance of a wife or children, nafkah iddah and consolatory gifts (mutaah).

How to enforce a Syariah Court order

If a party (the respondent) fails to comply with (breaches) a Syariah Court order, the other party (the complainant) may apply for the order to be enforced at the Family Justice Courts (FJC). The type of enforcement will depend on the type of order that is breached.

If the respondent breaches an order for payment of maintenance (such as nafkah iddah or mutaah), the complainant may enforce the order by an application under Section 53 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act.

Refer to Maintenance to find out more about the process.

If the respondent breaches an order regarding one of the following, the complainant may enforce the order under Section 52 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act:

  • Payment of emas kahwin and marriage expenses.
  • Custody and access to a child.
  • Disposition or division of property.

A breach of these Syariah Court orders:

Key facts

Refer to the following on how you can file a Magistrate's Complaint for a breach of a Syariah Court order.

How to apply

Family Registry, Level 1 of the FJC.

Fees

Free of charge.

Note

You do not need a lawyer to file a Magistrate's Complaint at the FJC. However, you may choose to engage one if you need independent legal advice on the merits of your case.

The courts are not able to provide legal advice or recommend lawyers. Find out where to get help.

What you will need

You will need to provide the following documents when filing your application:

  • Your identity card or passport for identification
  • A copy of the Syariah Court order that was breached.

Where to file

You may visit the Family Registry to file your Magistrate's Complaint during the operating hours.

The Family Registry is located at Level 1 of the FJC at Havelock Square.

How to file

You will need to follow these steps to file and serve your Magistrate's Complaint.

Step

Result

1. File your Magistrate's Complaint

 

Your Magistrate's Complaint is filed in the FJC.

2. Meet with the duty judge

The court accepts or rejects your application.

You must come personally to the FJC to file your Magistrate’s Complaint. The court officers will assist you in completing the complaint form in the Integrated Family Application Management System (iFAMS).

After you have completed and submitted your Magistrate’s Complaint, you will have to appear before a duty judge where you will confirm the truth of the contents in your application. Attendance before a judge can be in person or by video conference.

The judge may ask questions to clarify the information in your Magistrate's Complaint. You will then have to swear or affirm that the contents of your application and your answers to the judge are true and correct.

It is a serious offence to include statements that you know to be untrue or incorrect in a sworn or affirmed application.

If your Magistrate's Complaint is accepted

If your application is in order, the judge will accept your application and direct for a notice to be issued to the respondent. This notice is a court document directing the respondent to attend mediation before a court-appointed mediator at a scheduled time and date.

You will also be issued an appointment slip containing the date and time for you to attend the mediation 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.

At your mediation session

You and the respondent must attend the mediation session on the scheduled date and time. The aim of the mediation session is to provide a platform for parties to explore options to resolve the matter.

Depending on the nature of your case, you may be required to attend more than 1 mediation session.

Refer to Attend maintenance mediation to find out more about mediation at the Maintenance Mediation Chambers (MMC).

Attendance is compulsory

If you are the complainant and you are absent from the mediation session, the court may strike out your application. This means that the case is concluded and if you still wish to, you will need to file another Magistrate’s Complaint.

If the respondent does not attend the mediation session and if you wish to proceed with the complaint, the case will be referred to the police for investigations and transferred to the State Courts.

If you are unable to attend the mediation session on the stated date, you may request a change of date via email at fjcourts_maintpos@fjcourts.gov.sg at least 5 working days in advance.

Your email should contain your reasons for changing the mediation session date accompanied by supporting documents. You should also state that you have informed the other party and whether they agree to the change of date.

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

What to expect

If you and the respondent manage to reach an agreement on your dispute, the agreement will be recorded as a private agreement. You will then be allowed to withdraw the complaint.

Note

The FJC cannot issue a court order or vary (change) the terms of the Syariah Court order for these private agreements. If you wish to have the terms of your Syariah Court order varied, you must make your application in the Syariah Court.

If the mediation proceeds and no agreement is reached at mediation, and you insist on proceeding further, the court will direct the police to investigate the matter and refer your complaint to the State Courts.

This is because the FJC does not conduct proceedings involving criminal offences.

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

Legislation associated with this topic includes:


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