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Your rights in a civil case

You have the right to obtain legal advice, seek legal assistance or engage a lawyer to represent you in court at your civil proceedings.

You may wish to find out:

In general, an entity that is involved in a civil proceeding must be represented by lawyers. However, the court may allow an officer of the entity to act on its behalf if the court is satisfied that it is appropriate to allow this, given the circumstances of the case.

Examples of entities that may be involved in court proceedings include:

  • A body corporate.
  • A partnership.
  • A limited liability partnership (LLP).
  • An unincorporated association.

If you are not a lawyer and you wish to represent an entity in a court proceeding, you may refer to How to represent an entity in court to find out more about the requirements for representing an entity.

The courts are not in the position to provide legal advice or recommend lawyers for your case. Legal advice is when you are provided with specific information about your legal matter and guidance on the legal options available to you.

Refer to the following to find out about the legal resources, legal assistance schemes and programmes you can apply for.

Engage a lawyer

The Legal Service Regulatory Authority (LSRA) offers an online directory of the names, addresses and other useful information of all practising lawyers in Singapore.

You may also approach any of the following organisations for legal advice:

Note
The courts are not in a position to recommend lawyers for your case. Contact a law firm or organisation of your choice directly to understand their fees and the services they provide.

Apply for legal assistance schemes

If you are in need of a lawyer but unable to afford one, you may apply for the following legal assistance schemes relevant to your case.

The Legal Aid Bureau offers help to those who have difficulty affording the fees involved in court proceedings.

The Bureau offers legal advice, representation in court and drafting of legal fees.

Contact the Ministry of Law Services Centre to find out more about the services offered by the Legal Aid Bureau and how to qualify.

The community legal clinic offers free, basic legal advice for personal matters during one-to-one sessions lasting about 20 minutes.

Contact the Law Society Pro Bono Services Office to find out more information.

The on-site legal clinic (OSLAS) offers 20 minutes of basic legal advice from a volunteer lawyer for free. However, this lawyer will not be able to represent you in court.

The OSLAS only applies to parties who are seeking legal advice for the first time on a specific legal issue not relating to commercial, corporate or business matters.

Contact the CJC to find out more about OSLAS.

The Primary Justice Project (PJP) aims to provide parties with basic legal advice and facilitate the settlement of disputes at a fixed fee.

The PJP may be suitable for the following civil cases:

  • Civil claims below $60,000.
  • Harassment cases.
  • Neighbour disputes.

Contact the CJC to find out the following:

  • Who can apply for the PJP.
  • How to apply for the PJP.

Get support and information

The CJC provides self-represented parties with the following information and practical support services.

The Friends of Litigants-in-Person (FLiP) programme empowers the self-represented accused (also known as a litigant-in-person (LIP)) with the emotional support and confidence to represent themselves in court.

Under the programme, a volunteer will be assigned to you to:

  • Provide practical guidance on basic court processes and procedural matters.
  • Accompany and attend your court hearings.
  • Explain key information and instructions given by the judge.

Contact the CJC to find out the following:

  • Who can apply for the FLiP programme.
  • How to apply for the FLiP programme.

The CJC's Helping to Empower Litigants-in-Person (HELP) Centre provides directions for court procedures and processes for civil matters, evening legal clinics and referrals to appropriate partners for legal and social issues faced by self-represented parties.

Contact the CJC to find out more information.

Alternatives to trial

Going to a civil trial is not the only way to settle your dispute. The courts encourage parties to explore alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options, which are often cheaper and faster than a trial.

Find out more about the different ADR options you can pursue.

Relevant resources

You may wish to refer to the Know the law booklet to find out about commonly encountered areas of the law in layman terms.


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