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A.  General Overview 

1.  Under the Rules of Court 2021 (“ROC 2021”), the provisions relating to appeals are split into 2 chapters:

(a)  Order 18 governs appeals from applications in actions(1); and

(b)  Order 19 governs appeals from judgments and orders after trial(2) (Note: “Trial”(3) is defined to include the hearing on the merits of an originating application).

2.  The broad objectives of the appeals chapters, include, among other things:

(a)  Moving parties quickly from procedural skirmishes to the main battle on the merits of the case;

(b)  Requiring less formality for appeals against applications, and requiring more formality only for appeals on the merits after trials; and 

(c)  Saving costs and reducing prolixity by requiring only materially relevant documents to be filed with the imposition of page limits.

Appeals from Applications in Proceedings in the General Division of the High Court (Order 18)

B. Appeals against Registrar’s Decision: When to File Notice of Appeal?

3.  Where a party is dissatisfied with the decision of the Registrar made in an application, including decisions made pursuant to matters within a Single Application Pending Trial (“SAPT”), the party may file a notice of appeal.

4.  In general, the notice of appeal (in Form 35) must be filed and served on all parties who have an interest in the appeal within 14 days after the date of the Registrar’s decision.(4) However, in respect of appeals arising from matters within a SAPT, the time for the filing of an appeal does not start to run until all matters including costs have been heard and determined by the Registrar.(5) A table illustrating when time starts to run under certain common scenarios is set out below.

Nature of Application When time starts to run
Non-SAPT (e.g. an application concerning one of the matters under Order 9 r 9(7) of the ROC 2021). When the Registrar has heard and determined the application, including costs.
In a SAPT with more than one matter to be heard by a Registrar. When the Registrar has heard and determined all the matters in the SAPT, including costs.
In a SAPT with one or more matters to be heard before a Registrar and one or more matters to be heard before a Judge. When the Registrar has heard and determined all the matters (including costs) to be heard before the Registrar, even when there are matters that have not been heard and determined by the Judge.(6)

5.  Each party can file only one notice of appeal for each application unless the Court otherwise orders.(7) With respect to matters within a SAPT, the parties may seek permission of the Court, or the Registrar may direct, that a notice of  appeal be filed for a specific matter while other matters before the Registrar are still pending.

C.  Appeals against Registrar’s Decision: Documentation

6.  The appeal before the Judge will proceed by way of a rehearing on the documents filed by the parties before the Registrar.(8) Only written submissions with a page limit of 35 pages and any bundle of authorities may be filed for the appeal, unless the Judge otherwise orders.(9) 

7.  The parties to the appeal must file their written submissions in accordance with the timelines set out in Order 18 r 25(5) of the ROC 2021. The written submissions must also include submissions on the appropriate costs orders to be made in the appeal. (10)

D.  Appeals against Judge’s Decision in Applications in Actions: When to File Notice of Appeal?

8.  Where a party is dissatisfied with the decision of the Judge, an appeal may be brought to the appellate Court(11), subject to the issue of whether permission to appeal is required.(12)

9.  In general, the notice of appeal must be filed within 14 days after the Judge’s decision.(13) If a request for further arguments has been made under section 29B of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (“SCJA”), the notice of appeal must be filed within 14 days after the Judge affirms, varies or sets aside the decision after hearing the further arguments, or certifies or is deemed to have certified that no further arguments are required.(14)

10.  In the case of decisions made by a Judge arising from matters in a SAPT, the time for filing of an appeal and for filing of an application for permission to appeal does not start to run until the Judge has heard and determined all matters (15) before the Judge, including any appeal against the decision of the Registrar and costs.(16) The court may order otherwise. A table illustrating when time starts to run under certain common scenarios is set out below.

Nature of ApplicationWhen time starts to run
Non-SAPT (e.g. an application concerning one of the matters under Order 9 r 9(7) of the ROC 2021, or a Registrar’s appeal on such matter).When the Judge has heard and determined the application / appeal, including costs.
In a SAPT with one or more matters to be heard before a Registrar and one or more matters to be heard before a Judge.When the Judge has heard and determined all the matters before the Judge, including any appeal against the decision of the Registrar and costs.
In a SAPT, and request is made for the Judge to hear further arguments in respect of one or more matters in the SAPT. When the Judge affirms, varies or sets aside the decision after hearing the further arguments, or certifies or is deemed to have certified that no further arguments are required.(17)
In a SAPT with some matters requiring permission to appeal and some matters being appealable as of right.

When the Judge heard and determined all these matters, including costs.

 

For matters in the SAPT that are appealable as of right, a notice of appeal is to be filed.

 

For those matters in the SAPT that require permission to appeal, an application for such permission is to be filed in the appellate Court.

11.  In the case of a SAPT dealing with some matters requiring permission to appeal and some matters being appealable as of right, separate notices of appeal must be filed for: (a) matters which require permission to appeal where permission has been granted, and (b)  matters which are appealable as of right.(18) Further, and with respect to a SAPT, the parties may seek permission, or the Judge may direct, that an appeal be filed for a specific matter while other matters before the Registrar or the Judge are still pending.(19)

E.  Appeals against Judge’s Decision in Applications in Actions: Documentation

12.  The appellant must file a certificate for security for costs at the same time the notice of appeal is filed.(20) The appeal before the appellate Court will also proceed by way of a rehearing on the documents filed by the parties before the Judge.(21) The parties need not file an Appellant’s Case or Respondent’s Case. Only written submissions with a page limit of 35 pages(22) and any bundle of authorities may be filed for the appeal,(23) unless the appellate Court otherwise orders.(24) The parties are to include pinpoint references in the written submissions to enable the court to identify the relevant documents referred to which have been filed in the electronic casefile.(25)

13.  The parties to the appeal must file their written submissions simultaneously and in accordance with the timelines set out in Order 18 r 33(5) of the ROC 2021. The written submissions must also include submissions on the appropriate costs orders to be made in the appeal.  Skeletal arguments will not be required for the appeal.(26)

Appeals from Judgments and Orders after Trial (Order 19)

F.  Scope

14. The term “judgment” under Order 19 of the ROC 2021 means a judgment given by the lower Court:

(a) in a trial, and includes a case where judgment is given or the action is dismissed at trial because one or more parties are absent; 

(b) after damages are assessed or accounts are taken;(27)

(c) in an application for a committal order for contempt of court;

(d) in an application for a prerogative order; or

(e) in an appeal against a judgment described in paragraphs (a) to (d).(28)

G.  Appeals After Trial: When to File Notice of Appeal?

15. Subject to the issue of whether permission to appeal is required,(29) a party dissatisfied with the judgment of the Judge after trial must file a notice of appeal (in Form 35) within 28 days after the Judge’s decision.(30) The time for the filing of a notice of appeal does not start to run until the Judge has heard and determined all matters(31), including costs.(32)

H.  Appeals After Trial before Judge: Documentation

16. The appellant must file a certificate for security for costs at the same time the notice of appeal is filed(33). The parties to the appeal will be required to file the record of appeal, their Cases, core bundle of documents and bundle of authorities.(34) The applicable filing timelines and page limits(35) for these documents are set out in the table below.

S/NoTimelinesDocuments to be filed
18 weeks after the date of the Registrar’s Notification under Order 19 r 30(4) of the ROC 2021.Appellant to file:(36)
- The record of appeal;
- The appellant’s Case with a page limit of 55 pages;
- The appellant’s core bundle of documents with a page limit of 55 pages; and 
- The appellant’s bundle of authorities.
228 days after the appellant serves the documents in S/No 1 above.Respondent to file:(37)
- The respondent’s Case with a page limit of 55 pages;
- The respondent’s core bundle of documents (if necessary) with a page limit of 35 pages; and 
- The respondent’s bundle of authorities.  
314 days after the respondent serves the documents in S/No 2 above.Appellant may file:(38)
- The appellant’s Reply with a page limit of 25 pages(39);
- The second core bundle of documents (if any) with a page limit of 25 pages; and 
- The appellant’s second bundle of authorities (if any).  

17. The appellant’s Case and the respondent’s Case must contain submissions on the appropriate costs orders to be made on appeal in the concluding paragraphs.(40) As the parties’ Cases and the appellant’s Reply are meant to be comprehensive, no skeletal arguments may be filed before or at the appeal unless specifically directed by the appellate Court.(41)

18. Under ROC 2021, all core bundles are to be filed electronically. In addition, a form of record of appeal and a list of authorities need to be filed electronically. In addition, soft copies and requisite hard copies of the record of appeal, core bundles and bundle of authorities are to be tendered to court.(42)

Permission to Appeal 

I.  Permission to Appeal: When to file?

19. Where permission to appeal against a decision of the Judge is required,(43) a party must apply for such permission from the appellate Court in accordance with the following timelines:

(a) Where no request is made for the Judge to hear further arguments, within 14 days after the date of the Judge’s decision on all matters, including costs;(44) and

(b) Where a request is made for the Judge to hear further arguments pursuant to s 29B of the SCJA, within 14 days after the Judge affirms, varies or sets aside the decision after hearing the further arguments, or certifies or is deemed to have certified that no further arguments are required.(45)

20. Parties should also note that where a request for further arguments pursuant to s29B of the SCJA has been made, an application for permission to appeal may not be filed until the request for further arguments has been determined.(46)

J.  Permission to Appeal: Documentation

21. The parties to the application for permission to appeal will be required to file their written submissions, bundle of documents (if any) and bundle of authorities (if any).(47) The applicable filing timelines and page limits(48) for these documents are set out in the table below.

S/NoTimelinesDocuments to be filed
1At the time of filing the application.The party applying for permission to file:(49)
- Written submissions with a page limit of 15 pages(50);
- A bundle of documents (if any) that are relevant to the application and that were filed in the proceedings below,(51) with a page limit of 25 pages; and 
- Accompanying bundle of authorities (if any).  
214 days after the party applying for permission serves the documents in S/No 1 above.The party opposing an application for permission to file:(52)
- Written submissions with a page limit of 15 pages(53);
- A bundle of documents (if any) that are relevant to the application and that were filed in the proceedings below, with a page limit of 25 pages; and 
- Accompanying bundle of authorities (if any).  

22. If permission to appeal is granted, the notice of appeal (in Form 35) must be filed and served on all parties who have an interest in the appeal within 14 days after the date of the decision granting permission.(54)

K.  Applications

23. Under ROC 2021, all parties filing an application to the Appellate Division of the High Court and the Court of Appeal must provide security.(55)

Transitional Provisions

L.  Transitional Provisions 

24. The transitional provisions under Order 1 r 2 of the ROC 2021 apply to appeals to the appellate Court and applications for permission to appeal that are filed on or after 1 April 2022, which relate to a decision of a Judge given or made before 1 April 2022. Where the appeal arises from a Judge’s decision rendered before 1 April 2022, the timelines prescribed under the Rules of Court (2014 Ed) for the filing of the notice of appeal and any application for leave to appeal will apply.

25. In particular, where the ROC 2021 applies, the parties are to note the following: 

(a) A notice of appeal must be filed within one month, and in accordance with the applicable timeline set out in Order 1 r 2(4)(a) of the ROC 2021;

(b) An application for permission to appeal must be filed in accordance with the applicable timeline set out in Order 1 r 2(4)(c) of the ROC 2021. The applicable filing timelines and page limits for documents required in an application for permission to appeal are those set out in the table under paragraph 21 of this Digest.

(c) Where permission to appeal is granted, the notice of appeal is to be filed within: (i) one month after the date permission is granted where the application is filed before 1 April 2022, and (ii) 14 days after the date permission is granted where the application is filed on or after 1 April 2022.(56)

*This Digest highlights certain key features and points of note, which are intended to assist court users in navigating the Rules of Court 2021 (“ROC 2021”), and serves to provide general information only. Reference should always be made to the relevant provisions in the ROC 2021, any applicable written law and practice directions, and any applicable guidance that may be found in case law. This, and the other digests, do not, in any way, affect the Court’s exercise of its discretion. The Court may, based on the circumstances of each case, depart from the digests. The digests are not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice, and may be revised from time to time.

Footnotes

(1)Order 18 r 1 of the ROC 2021.

(2)Order 19 r 1 of the ROC 2021.

(3)Order 19 r 3 of the ROC 2021.

(4)Order 18 r 24 of the ROC 2021.

(5)Order 18 r 3(1) of the ROC 2021.

(6)Order 18 r 3(2)(c)(i) of the ROC 2021.

(7)Order 18 r 4(1) of the ROC 2021.

(8)Order 18 r 25(4) of the ROC 2021.

(9)Order 18 r 25(6)-(7) of the ROC 2021.Under the Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021, in lieu of electronically filing bundles of authorities, parties are to electronically file a list of authorities. The full bundle of authorities will be submitted to the Court in hard copy.

(10)Order 18 r 25(6) of the ROC 2021.

(11)The appellate Court refers to the court to which the appeal must be made, pursuant to section 29C of the SCJA, and will be either the Court of Appeal or the Appellate Division (see also the Sixth Schedule to the SCJA).

(12)Permission to appeal is dealt with in Sections I & J of this Digest.

(13)Order 18 r 27(1)(a) of the ROC 2021.

(14)Order 18 r 27(1)(b) of the ROC 2021; Section 29(B)(4)(b) of the SCJA.

(15)A direction for costs to be assessed is to be regarded as a determination on the issue of costs; Order 18 r 3(2)(a) of the ROC 2021.

(16)Order 18 r 3(1) & (2)(c)(ii) of the ROC 2021.

(17)Order 18 r 3(2)(d) of the ROC 2021.

(18)Order 18 r 4(2) of the ROC 2021.

(19)Order 18 r 3(1) of the ROC 2021.

(20)Order 18 r 30 of the ROC 2021. However, any party may apply to the appellate Court to vary or waive the amount of security for costs to be provided.

(21)Order 18 r 33(4) of the ROC 2021.

(22)Under the Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021, a cover page must be included for all documents in matters filed in the Court of Appeal and the Appellate Division of the High Court. For documents numbering 20 pages or more, a contents page should also be included. The cover page and contents page would be counted towards the prescribed page limits. The parties are to adhere to the prescribed page limits and documents filed in breach of such prescribed page limits are liable to be rejected if there is no prior permission granted for such filings.

(23)Under the Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021, in lieu of electronically filing bundles of authorities, parties are to electronically file a list of authorities. The full bundles of authorities will be submitted to the Court in hard copy and in soft copy (in a CD-ROM).

(24)Order 18 r 33(6) & (11) of the ROC 2021.

(25)This will be prescribed in the Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021.

(26)Order 18 r 33(5)-(6) of the ROC 2021.

(27)Save for an appeal from a decision made on an assessment of damages or the taking of accounts by the Registrar – such appeals are governed by Order 18 instead – see Order 18 r 1(a)(iv) of the ROC 2021.

(28)Order 19 r 3 of the ROC 2021.

(29)Permission to appeal is dealt with in Sections I & J of this Digest.

(30)Order 19 r 25(1) of the ROC 2021.

(31)A direction for costs to be assessed is to be regarded as a determination on the issue of costs; Order 18 r 3(2)(a) of the ROC 2021; Order 19 r 4(2) of the ROC 2021.

(32)Order 19 r 4(1) of the ROC 2021.

(33)Order 19 r 27 of the ROC 2021. However, any party may apply to the appellate Court to vary or waive the amount of security for costs to be provided.

(34)See Footnote 23 on the electronic filing of a list of authorities in lieu of the full bundles of authorities and the requirement to provide hard and soft copies.

(35)See Footnote 22 regarding the inclusion of a cover page and contents page (for documents numbering 20 pages or more), which would be counted towards the prescribed page limits.

(36)Order 19 rr 30(4) & 32 of the ROC 2021.

(37)Order 19 rr 30(9) & 32 of the ROC 2021.

(38)Order 19 rr 30(11) & 32 of the ROC 2021.

(39)Under ROC 2014, an appellant’s Reply could only be filed if the conditions in Order 56A r 9(7) or Order 57 r 9A(5A) were satisfied. There are no such restrictions under the ROC 2021. An appellant’ Reply may be filed in every case.

(40)Order 19 rr 31(1)(d) & 31(2)(e) of the ROC 2021.

(41)Order 19 r 30(21) of the ROC 2021.

(42)This will be prescribed in the Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021.

(43)Please see section 29A read with the Fifth Schedule to the SCJA on situations where permission to appeal from decisions of the General Division of the High Court is required.

(44)Order 18 r 3(1) & Order 18 r 29(1) of the ROC 2021; Order 19 r 4(1) & Order 19 r 26(1) of the ROC 2021.

(45)Order 18 r 29(3)(b) & Order 19 r 26(3)(b) of the ROC 2021. Where a request is made for the Judge to hear further arguments pursuant to section 29B of the SCJA in respect of any decision on a matter in a SAPT dealing with more than one matter, please see Order 18 r 3(2)(d) of the ROC 2021.

(46)Order 18 r 29(3)(a) & Order 19 r 26(3)(a) of the ROC 2021.

(47)See Footnote 23 on the electronic filing of a list of authorities in lieu of the full bundles of authorities.

(48)See Footnote 22 regarding the inclusion of a cover page and contents page (for documents numbering 20 pages or more), which would be counted towards the prescribed page limits.

(49)Order 18 rr 29(8), (10) & (11) of the ROC 2021; Order 19 r 26(8), (10) & (11) of the ROC 2021. No affidavit is to be filed in an application for permission to appeal without permission of the appellate Court and no oral arguments are to be made in the application unless the appellate Court otherwise orders (Order 18 rr 29(15) & (16); Order 19 r 26 (15) & (16)).

(50)This will be in a form prescribed in the Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021.

(51)Such as the whole or a part of the notes of evidence, pleadings and affidavits.

(52)Order 18 rr 29(8), (10) & (11) of the ROC 2021; Order 19 r 26(8), (10) & (11) of the ROC 2021.

(53)This will be in a form prescribed in the Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021.

(54)Order 18 r 29(17); Order 19 r 26(17) of the ROC 2021.

(55)Order 18 r 35(5) and Order 19 r 35(6) of ROC 2021

(56)Order 1 r 2(4)(b) of the ROC 2021.

 


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