The State Courts are part of the court system in Singapore that upholds the law and ensures justice is accessible to all. It has judicial power to hear both criminal and civil matters.
Each year, the State Courts handle about 90 per cent of the overall caseload in Singapore and about 99 per cent of the total criminal caseload.
The State Courts are made up of the following courts and tribunals:
The courts and tribunals within the State Courts deal with the following types of cases.
(Note: Scroll within the table to see more.)
Criminal cases where the maximum imprisonment term does not exceed 10 years or which are punishable with a fine only.
Civil claims of more than $60,000 and up to $250,000 in value. (Or up to $500,000 for claims for road traffic accidents or personal injuries from industrial accidents).
Criminal cases where the maximum imprisonment term does not exceed 5 years or which are punishable with a fine only.
Civil claims not exceeding $60,000 in value.
The Coroner's Courts conduct inquiries into sudden or unnatural deaths or where the cause of death is unknown.
Small Claims Tribunals
Claims not exceeding $20,000 in value (or $30,000 if both parties consent in writing) for disputes involving any of the following:
Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals
Claims not exceeding $20,000 for disputes between neighbours involving unreasonable interferences with the enjoyment or use of places of residence.
Employment Claims Tribunals
Claims not exceeding $20,000 in value (or $30,000 for tripartite-mediated disputes) for disputes between employers and employees involving salary or wrongful dismissal.
Some of the District Courts and Magistrates' Courts are designated as specialised courts.
These include the Criminal Mentions Court, Community Criminal Court, Traffic Court, Night Courts and Protection from Harassment Court.
Accused persons are produced at the Criminal Mentions Court when the prosecution is ready to formally file charges against them. There are 2 Criminal Mentions Courts in the State Courts: one deals with District Arrest Cases and the other deals with Magistrates' Arrest Cases.
At the Criminal Mentions Court, the charge is read and explained to the accused. The judge can sentence accused persons who plead guilty to the charge. If the accused persons intend to plead guilty to certain categories of offences, the judge will transfer these cases to one of the sentencing courts.
The judge can also hear and grant appropriate applications by the prosecution or the accused. These include bail applications, applications to detain an accused person for further investigations and applications to engage defence counsel. If the accused claims trial, the judge will schedule the case for a pre-trial conference before trial dates are decided by the court.
The Community Criminal Court hears criminal cases where there may be underlying causes of criminality that need to be addressed. It employs a problem-solving approach that combines criminal justice and community resources. It is committed to the dual principles of rehabilitation and prevention, in addition to deterrence and retribution.
Examples of cases it hears include:
Refer to the Community Criminal Court brochure (PDF, 186 KB) for more information.
The Traffic Court primarily hears traffic offences. The cases it hears include:
It is both a mentions court as well as a trial court. As a mentions court, the Traffic Court hears applications for bail, remand and adjournments, and manages the cases that come before the Traffic Court.
The Night Courts deal with regulatory and traffic offences. The Night Courts' operating hours are from 6.00pm onwards on Mondays to Thursdays.
There are 2 Night Courts in State Courts, each hearing a specific profile of cases:
The Protection from Harassment Court deals with all matters under the Protection from Harassment Act. It offers victims a one-stop solution for effective and holistic relief.