To reduce the local transmission of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), comprehensive measures, such as safe distancing measures, have been put in place in the State Courts. Information on these measures and other applicable restrictions is available on the State Courts website at https://www.statecourts.gov.sg. The information will be updated from time to time. All court users and visitors to the State Courts are advised to refer to the State Courts website for the latest information.
2 The Honourable the Chief Justice has directed that the use of electronic means of communication to conduct hearings be enhanced. This is to ensure that court services and hearings remain available and uninterrupted as far as possible while reducing the level of person-to-person contact.
3 With immediate effect until further notice, selected hearings in the State Courts will be conducted by video conferencing or where appropriate, telephone conferencing. Litigants in person are strongly encouraged to use video conferencing or telephone conferencing, where available. Details on the use of video conferencing and telephone conferencing for the different types of hearings in the State Courts are set out in the Schedule.
4 A guide on the use of video conferencing and telephone conferencing to attend hearings can be found on the State Courts website. Unauthorised audio or visual recording of hearings is strictly prohibited and in appropriate cases, the Court may require an undertaking that no such recording will be made. Attention is drawn to section 5 of the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act 2016 (Act No. 19 of 2016) regarding contempt of court by unauthorised recordings. Where hearings are conducted by video conferencing, all court rules and practices on dress and etiquette will continue to apply. However, it will not be necessary to stand and/or bow to the Court at the start or end of the hearing or to stand when addressing the Court, when otherwise required to do so for physical attendance.
5 With effect from 1 April 2020 until further notice, where the Court determines that physical attendance before the Court is appropriate, no more than two lawyers/litigants per party may appear at the hearing. Practice trainees, interns, legal executives and other assistants should not be in attendance. If a party requires additional attendees, it should write in to the Court on its request for an exemption for the named additional attendees, no later than one working day before the hearing date. The Court may, in its discretion, grant an exemption to allow the named additional attendees to attend physically and/or by video conferencing.
6 The cooperation of all court users and visitors to the State Courts is essential for the successful implementation of these measures to safeguard the well-being of all court users and visitors.
Dated this 27th day of March 2020.