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What are court records for civil or family cases

Court records refer to the case files and documents filed for court applications.

Examples of court records for civil and family cases may include:

  • Court orders.
  • Pleadings.
  • Affidavits.
  • Appeal documents.

Note: If you wish to apply for court records for a criminal case, find out how to apply.

Ways to obtain court records

There are 2 main ways to request court records for a civil or family case:

Apply to inspect court records

If your inspection request is approved, you will be able to view the documents approved for inspection. You may request to print or download the files if you need copies.

Find out more about inspecting court records.

Apply for a certified true copy or copy of a court document

You may request certified true copies or copies of court documents for the purposes stated in the request form.

Find out more about applying for certified true copies or copies.

Apply to inspect court records

Not all court documents may be inspected. Subject to the Registrar's approval and payment of the prescribed fee, documents that may be inspected include:

  • Originating processes and pleadings.
  • Summonses.
  • Affidavits.
    • Note: These can be accessed only after the underlying application has been fully heard and determined.
  • Affidavits of evidence-in-chief.
    • Note: These can be accessed only after they have been admitted as evidence in a trial.
  • Court orders.

The following documents are generally not open to inspection:

  • Sealed case files and court documents, unless there is a court order to allow inspection of these documents.
  • Affidavits and written submissions that have not been used in proceedings. These are only available after they have been used in the proceedings.
  • Certified transcripts of judges, registrar's notes or grounds of decisions.
  • Certain documents relating to family cases.
    • In general, a person who is not a party to the proceedings will not have access to the records.

Who can apply to inspect court records

You can apply to inspect court records if you fulfil one of the following criteria:

  • You are a party to the case.
  • You have valid reasons to see the court records.

Note: The Registrar may not approve your request to inspect court records if you are not a party to a case and do not have an adequate or sufficient interest in the case.

Before filing a request to inspect

You will need to know the case reference or file number to file a request to inspect a court record.

If you do not know the case reference or file number, you will need to conduct a cause book search.

How to conduct a cause book search

The steps to conduct a cause book search depend on whether your case is an electronic case file in eLitigation or not.

If the case is an electronic case file in eLitigation, you can conduct the cause book search through one of these methods:

You will need to pay the applicable fees, depending on the type of case.

The time for each search request is about 15 minutes. You will receive the search report on the same day.

Supreme Court cases

Generally, if the case was filed in court before 2002 (or earlier, depending on the case type), you need to conduct a manual search at the Legal Registry at Level 2 of the Supreme Court during the operating hours.

You will need to pay $20 per case type per year that you wish to search (according to Appendix B of the Rules of Court). Payment can be done by credit card, NETS or cash card.

State Courts cases

For cases that are not in eLitigation, you must submit requests for manual cause book search or file inspection at the Central Registry at Level 2 of the State Courts during the operating hours.

You will need to pay $10 per book or register per year that you wish to search or inspect (according to Appendix B of the Rules of Court). Payment can be done by cash, credit card, as well as NETS and NETS FlashPay.

Family Justice Courts cases

For probate and adoption cases, if the case was filed in court before 2002, you will need to conduct a manual search at the Legal Registry at Level 4 of the Family Justice Courts at Maxwell Road during the operating hours.

You will need to pay either $10 or $20 per year you wish to search, depending on whether your search is in the State Courts or High Court. Payment can be done by credit card, NETS or cash card.

How to file a request to inspect

Any request to inspect will require:

  • The name and identity card details of the person who will carry out the search or inspection.
  • A reason for the search or inspection. If this information is needed for a separate case, you must state the nature of the information you seek, and the relevance of this to the suit.

The steps to file a request for inspection depend on whether your case is an electronic case file in eLitigation or not. 

If you are an eLitigation subscriber, you can file a Request for Inspection of Case File online and receive the outcome of your application via eLitigation.

If you are not an eLitigation subscriber or represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file in person.

You will need to pay $20 for each case you wish to inspect (according to Appendix B of the Rules of Court). This does not include additional fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

The Service Bureau will notify you via email or SMS of the outcome of your application.

Note: If you are not an eLitigation subscriber but wish to conduct the inspection online, you can leave your mobile number and email address at the Service Bureau when filing the request. If your request is approved, you will receive an authentication token and link to access the documents online.

If your request is approved

You may inspect the case files after your application is approved by the Registrar.

Note
For inspection via token, you must complete your inspection within 14 days of the Registrar's approval of the request and within 72 hours of the start of the file inspection.

Follow these steps to inspect at the Service Bureau:

  1. Present a copy of the approval at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.
  2. Use the assigned personal computer to conduct the inspection. You will have 60 minutes to complete the inspection. Any additional time is chargeable.

You will be able to print or download the case files, with additional charges. View the Service Bureau's list of fees.

Cases that are not available in eLitigation include:
  • Bankruptcy petitions (before 2002).
  • Companies winding-up petitions (before 2002).
  • Divorce petitions (before 1996).
  • Originating motions (before 2002).
  • Originating petitions (before 2002).
  • Originating summons (before 2001).
  • Powers of Attorney (before 2002).
  • Suits (before 2001 for Supreme Court cases; before March 2000 for State Courts cases).
  • Family cases commenced before 2004.

If you are applying to inspect a case that was not filed in eLitigation, the steps you need to follow depend on the court your case is in.

Supreme Court

  1. Download and complete Parts 1 and 3 of the request form.
  2. Visit the Legal Registry at Level 2 of the Supreme Court during the operating hours. Bring a hard copy of the completed request form and your identification documents to file the request.

You will need to pay $20 for each case you wish to inspect (according to Appendix B of the Rules of Court).

The registry will inform you via email or phone after your request has been processed. If the Registrar approves your request, you can return to the respective registry for inspection. You will be able to view the case file and court documents at the registry.

State Courts

  1. Download and complete Parts 1 and 3 of the request form.
  2. Visit the Central Registry at Level 2 of the State Courts during the operating hours. Bring a hard copy of the completed request form and your identification documents to file the request.

You will need to pay $10 for each case you wish to inspect (according to Appendix B of the Rules of Court).

You will be informed via email or phone when you request is approved. You can return to the registry for inspection.

Family Justice Courts

For family cases, how you make the request depends on the year the proceedings were commenced.

When the proceedings were commenced

What to do

Before April 1996

Inquire and make a request at the Supreme Court Legal Registry.

From May 1996 to 2003

Email FJCOURTS_Family_Registry@FJCourts.gov.sg with the following information:

  • A scanned copy of your identification document (NRIC or passport, showing the last 4 characters).
  • Your case number.
  • The names of each of the document required.
  • The reasons for your application.

Note: For cases commenced from 2004 onwards, you can request via eLitigation.

Apply for certified true copies or copies of court documents

Some organisations may require you to submit certified true copies of court documents from civil and family cases.

The steps to apply for certified true copies or copies of court records depend on the type of case.

Note
For certain court orders made after 2 Jan 2020, you may produce an authentic court order in lieu of a certified true copy.
File a Request for Certified True Copy or copy via eLitigation. If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to file in person.

You will need to explain the intended use of the copies in your request, which is subject to the approval of the Registrar.

You will need to pay $8 per document and $5 per page (according to Appendix B of the Rules of Court for civil cases and Item 55 in the Fifth Schedule of the Family Justice Rules for family cases).

Note: This does not include additional fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

If the Registrar approves your request, you can collect the certified true copy or copy at the respective court's registry during the operating hours:

After inspection of the court records at the respective court's registry, you may inform the court officer if you wish to apply for a certified true copy or copy.

You will be asked to submit a request form for the Registrar's approval.

Supreme Court casesRequest form
State Courts casesRequest form

You will need to explain the intended use of the copies in your request.

You will need to pay the following fees, according to Appendix B of the Rules of Court:

Item or service

Fee

Request for certified true copies

$8 per document and $5 per page

Request for copies of microfilmed case files without certification

$5 per document and $0.15 per page

The registry will inform you via email or phone after your request has been processed. If the Registrar approves your request, you can return to the respective registry to collect the documents.

Authentic court orders

An authentic court order (ACO) is a court order verified to have been issued by a Singapore court.

Court orders that are included in the ACO system can be validated at https://www.courtorders.gov.sg. Currently, these include court orders that are:

Other court orders may be added in future.

If your court order is included in the ACO system:

  • Special information (such as a QR code and access code) will be printed on the court order.
  • You can show a photocopy, email, fax or a screenshot of the ACO to the organisation that requires it. The organisation can also retrieve a validated copy of the court order directly from the ACO website. This service is free of charge.

Follow this step-by-step guide to validate an ACO.

Will anyone be able to access any other person's court order?

An individual will need both of the following to retrieve a document from the ACO portal:

  • The QR Code or the access code
  • The case number.

In addition, the CAPTCHA mechanism detects bot "attacks" on the ACO portal. It is very unlikely that a person who has not been given the access code and the case number can randomly "guess" the relevant information to obtain access to a Court order.

Can parties opt out of ACO?

No. The ACO scheme will automatically add the relevant information on eligible court orders. Parties are not able to opt out of ACO.

How do we verify the authenticity of the website?

Users should always ensure that the URL of the site they are using is https://www.courtorders.gov.sg. Users should not accept any other variations of the URL.

Can certified true copies still be obtained?

Certified true copies will still be available upon application.

Why should a person go to the ACO portal if they already has a soft copy of a Court Order?

Retrieving the court order from the ACO portal can provide added confidence that the order can be obtained from the court repository, and was not authored by unauthorised persons.

Will court orders before 2 Jan 2020 be re-issued and added to the ACO?

No. The ACO portal will only have new court orders issued after the start of the system.

If the court order I receive after 2 Jan 2020 does not have a QR Code and access code, does it mean that it is a forgery?

It is possible that the court order in question has not been included in the ACO system. It may still be a genuine court order. You may wish to check with the courts about the matter, or ask for a certified true copy in such a case.

Can I still require parties to produce a certified true copy, even if their court order is an ACO?

Yes, but you should be aware that a certified true copy is less secure than an ACO. It is possible for certified true copies to be forged. When an ACO is available, it can be a better guarantee of authenticity, as you can be sure you are obtaining it directly from the court and that it has not been tampered with.

Must I be a party to a case in order to access the ACO system?

Anyone with a valid access code and corresponding case number can obtain an ACO from the ACO portal.

For more information, refer to the ACO brochure (PDF, 734 KB).

Resources

Legislation associated with this topic includes:
Refer to:

 

Related questions

If you wish to authorise a representative to inspect on your behalf, include this when filing your request to inspect. This is subject to the Registrar's approval.

If your request is approved, the representative will need to produce, together with the request, your authorisation letter appointing the authorised representative to inspect the court documents on your behalf. This should state the nature of the relationship between you and the authorised representative, and the reason for requiring inspection of the case file and court documents. The authorised representative will need to produce a copy of your identification document and their identification card for verification.

For parties involved in the case

If your case was filed via the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS), you may log in to CJTS to access the court documents for your case. If necessary, you may also file an Application for Record of Tribunal or Request for Documents in CJTS. Such applications are subject to the Registrar's approval.

For parties not involved in the case

You may file an Application for Record of Tribunal or Request for Documents in CJTS. Such applications will have to be supported with valid grounds (reasons) and are subject to the Registrar's approval.

If you are from the media, you need to complete additional steps before filing the inspection request. Refer to the guide for the media for more information.


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