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A.  Scope and application  

1.  The Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021 (SupCt PD 2021)(1) are to be read with the Rules of Court 2021 (ROC 2021), and will come into operation at the same time as ROC 2021 on 1 April 2022. SupCt PD 2021 will apply on or after 1 April 2022 to (2):

(a) any cause or matter, in the General Division of the High Court (GDHC), the Appellate Division of the High Court (AD) or the Court of Appeal (CA), that is governed by ROC 2021;

(b) any criminal proceedings commenced, in the GDHC or the CA, on or after 1 April 2022.

2.  The existing Supreme Court Practice Directions will continue to apply, on or after 1 April 2022, to:

(a) any cause or matter, in the GDHC, the AD or the CA, that is governed by the existing Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5, 2014 Ed); and

(b) any criminal proceedings commenced, in the GDHC or the CA,

(c) before 1 April 2022.

 3.  Unless otherwise stated, SupCt PD 2021 apply to civil proceedings only.(3)  

B.  Overview of structure of SupCt PD 2021

4. SupCt PD 2021 comprises 22 parts and Appendices A to H. The forms specified by number in the ROC 2021 are set out in Appendix A. The forms specified by number in SupCt PD 2021 are set out in Appendix B. The forms are to be used where applicable, with such variations as the circumstances of the case may require.(4)

C.  Key provisions in SupCt PD 2021

5.  Broadly, the provisions in SupCt PD 2021 has been modernised and updated to reflect current processes (e.g., remote hearings, access to case files, inspection, taking of copies and searches) as well as to remove obsolete provisions.

6.  For ease of reference, certain key provisions in SupCt PD 2021 are highlighted in the table below. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, but is intended to provide users with a quick primer. 

ParagraphSubject
Paras 54(3) and (4)

ADR Offer and Response to ADR Offer 

Pursuant to Order 5, Rule 3 of the ROC 2021, the Court may order the parties to attempt to resolve the dispute by amicable resolution. If a party informs the Court that the party does not wish to attempt to resolve the dispute by amicable resolution, the Court may order the party to submit a sealed document setting out the party’s reasons for such refusal.(5)   

For further information, please refer to Digest 2A. 

If the Court orders a party to submit a sealed document setting out the party’s reasons for refusing to attempt ADR pursuant to Order 5, Rule 3(3) of the ROC 2021, the party is to file the sealed document through the electronic filing service into the case file under “ADR Sealed Document” within 7 days after the date of the order of court, unless the Court otherwise directs. 

The “ADR Sealed Document” does not need to be served on the other party or parties to the case.

 

The “ADR Sealed Document” will be sealed upon acceptance by the Registry. Apart from the filing party, the “ADR Sealed Document” will not be available for inspection by any other party or the trial judge, until the issue of costs of the action is to be considered.

Para 56

Documents to be filed for case conferences

To assist the parties in conceptualising the roadmap of their case, parties may have to file the following case management documents: 

 

(i) a Pre-Case Conference Questionnaire (“PCQ”) prior to the first Registrar’s Case Conference (“RCC”); 

 

(ii) an expert witness template prior to the RCC where the issue of expert evidence is to be discussed where parties wish to adduce expert evidence; 

 

(iii) List of Issues (“LOI”) to identify the principal issues in dispute and enable the Court and parties to determine matters such as the scope of production of documents and the scope of factual and expert evidence (if any) which should be adduced; and 

 

(iv) a Single Application Pending Trial (“SAPT”) Checklist if directed by the Court, after the SAPTs have been filed by the parties.

 

For further information on the above, please refer to Digests 2A and 3.

For ease of reference, further details on the above case management documents can be found at:

 

(i) paras 56(1) to (4) on the PCQ and the fixing of the first RCC;

 

(ii) paras 56(5) to (7) on LOI;  

 

(iii) paras 56(8) and (9) on the expert witness template; and 

 

(iv) paras 56(12) to (16) on the SAPT Checklist. 

Para 63 

Application for service out of Singapore of originating process or other court document

 

Pursuant to Order 8, Rule 1(2) of ROC 2021, a claimant applying for the Court’s approval to serve an originating process or other court document out of Singapore must file a supporting affidavit stating, among others, why the Court has the jurisdiction, or is the appropriate court, to hear the action. 

To show why the Court is the appropriate court to hear the action, a claimant must include in the supporting affidavit any relevant information showing that:

 

(i) there is a good arguable case that there is sufficient nexus to Singapore;

 

(ii) Singapore is the forum conveniens; and 

 

(iii) there is a serious question to be tried on the merits of the claim. 

 

A list of factors, which are non-exhaustive and may be referred to by the claimant in the supporting affidavit, are set out in para 63(3). 

For further information on the above, please refer to Digest 1.

Paras 66(4) to (10)

Filing of summonses
(Applications filed with the Court’s approval under Order 9, Rule 9(8) or (10) of ROC 2021)

 

Order 9, Rule 9(7) of ROC 2021 sets out the types of applications which may be taken out by any party at any time and without the Court’s direction or approval.

 

Order 9, Rule 9(8) and (10) of ROC 2021 further provides that:

 

(i) The Court’s approval to file further applications other than those directed at a case conference must be sought by letter setting out the essence of the intended application and the reasons why it is necessary at that stage of the proceedings. 

 

(ii) No application may be taken out during the period stating 14 days before the commencement of the trial and ending when the Court has determined the merits of the action, except in a special case and with the trial Judge’s approval. 

 

For further information on the SAPT, please refer to Digest 3. 

Where a party wishes to file further applications other than those directed at a case conference, the party must first obtain the Court’s approval by filing a Request in the manner and form prescribed in Form 9 of Appendix B. The details are set out in paras 66(4) to (8). Please also note the relevant fees where the intended application is filed subsequent to the SAPT and is one that should have been dealt with under the SAPT as set out in paras 66(9) and (10). 

Para 100 

Late filing fees 

 

Order 3, Rule 2(4)(e) of ROC 2021 provides that where there is non-compliance with the ROC 2021, any other written law, the Court’s orders or directions or any PDs, the Court may, among other things, impose a late filing fee of S$50 for each day that a document remains unfiled after the expiry of the period within which the document is required to be filed, excluding non-court days.

Para 100 provides an illustration of how the late filing fees are computed.

Paras 102(7) and (9)

Documents for use in
trials of originating claims in open court (Bundles of documents)

 

Pursuant to Order 9, Rule 25(9) of ROC 2021, the Court in an action commenced by an originating claim, must give directions to the parties to file and serve:

 

(i) their affidavits-of-evidence-in-chief or other affidavits (if such directions have not been given earlier);

 

(ii) the bundles of documents; and 

 

(iii) their opening statements (with a page limit of 25 pages) without the need for bundles of authorities. 

 

Pursuant to Order 9, Rule 25(10) of ROC 2021, the bundles of documents mentioned above must contain, among other things, the last pleading (which incorporates all the previous pleadings).

 

Paras 102(7) to (9), as well as Form 17 of Appendix B, set out how the last pleading table is to prepared where directed by the Court as well as the preparation of the trial bundle of documents. Please note that there is no requirement to file a set down bundle under ROC 2021.

D.  Changes from existing Supreme Court Practice Directions

7.  Certain provisions in the existing Supreme Court Practice Directions are no longer included under SupCt PD 2021:

(a) Part V (Discovery and Inspection of Electronically Stored Documents): This has been removed from SupCt PD 2021.

(b) Parts XIX (Matrimonial Proceedings and Matters relating to the Guardianship of Infants) and XXI (Applications under the Mental Capacity Act): There should not be fresh filings of such matters under ROC 2021 and legacy cases will be governed by the existing PDs.

(c)  Para 64 of the existing PD (Waiting time for the hearing of matters) and Appendix B (Waiting periods): These are not included as most timelines are prescribed in ROC 2021.

(d) Para 42(6) of the existing PD: As provided in Order 13, Rule 1(6) to (8) of ROC 2021, the forms for a local injunction prohibiting the disposal of assets in Singapore, a worldwide injunction prohibiting the disposal of assets worldwide and a search order are set out respectively in Forms 24 to 26, Appendix A. The provisions relating to a cross-undertaking in damages in an ex parte application for a Mareva injunction or a search order in appropriate cases are therefore no longer included. 

*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) SupCt PD 2021 can be accessed at https://www.judiciary.gov.sg/new-rules-of-court-2021.

(2) Para 1 of SupCt PD 2021.

(3) Para 6(1) of SupCt PD 2021.

(4) Para 8 of SupCt PD 2021.

(5) Order 5, Rule 3(3) of ROC 2021.


 


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