COVID-19 Pandemic: Status of Court Proceedings

In view of the circuit breaker measures in place, what would happen to any disputes that are currently on going in court?

In General

Every matter scheduled for a hearing from 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020 (“the Circuit Breaker Period”) in the Court of Appeal, High Court, Family Justice Courts, and State Courts will be postponed to a later date, unless the matter is considered an “essential and urgent matter”.

The Syariah Court has released a statement that in general, ALL matters in the Syariah Court will be adjourned.

However, the High and State Courts have released Registrar’s Circulars (“RC”) which set out that for matters that deal with “essential and urgent” matters, the Court may hear the matter with certain conditions in place such as compliance with social distancing measures.

What would be considered “essential” and /or “urgent”?

Civil Matters

For matters in the High Court and State Courts, per RC No. 4 of 2020 for High Court and RC No. 8 of 2020 for State Courts, matters that would be considered “essential and urgent” are;

  1. Urgent injunctions or search order;
  2. Urgent applications to set aside injunctions or search order;
  3. Applications for interim payments, where payment is urgently needed;
  4. Urgent application for stay of execution of a civil judgment; and
  5. Etc.

    Criminal Matters

    State Courts

    In the State Courts, per RC No. 8 of 2020, matters that would be considered “essential and urgent”, are as follows:

    1. If you or someone you know has been arrested and would need to be presented in court for bail matters and/or investigation matters;
    2. Pre-Trial Conferences (“PTC”), trials, and Plead Guilty (“PG”) mentions for remanded persons or where the proceedings that need to be move forward in the interest of justice; and
    3. Etc.

    High Court

    In the High Court, per RC No. 5 of 2020, matters would be considered “essential and urgent” if:

    1. It is an appeal from the Magistrate’s Court involving (1) jail sentences that would be completed within or shortly after the Circuit Breaker Period and (2) caning for persons approaching the age of 50;
    2. It is an application concerning bail or review of bail offer;
    3. It is an application for stay of judicial execution;
    4. Etc.

    Family Matters

    For any matters in the Family Justice Courts (“FJC”), per FJC RC No. 2 of 2020 a matter would be considered “essential and urgent” if the matter is an application for:

    1. Access to emergency funds under the Mental Capacity Act;
    2. Urgent orders for matters pertaining to Child Abductions and/or where the safety of the child is at risk;
    3. PPO and/or protections under the Vulnerable Adults Act, where there is a higher risk of imminent danger;
    4. Maintenance, where an urgent hearing is necessary due to immediate financial need of parties; and
    5. Etc.

    My matter is not stated as “urgent and essential”. Is there any way that I am able to get my matter to be heard in court?

    For matters in the Supreme Court, Family Justice Courts or State Courts that are not listed above, a request can be sent which must set out reasons explaining why the matter is essential and urgent. The request would need to convince the Courts that the matter is time sensitive and/or that there is a legal requirement for the matter to be heard urgently. The request would also need to convince the Court that there will not be any breaches of social distancing measures in the preparation, presentation, and conduct of the requested hearing.

Syariah Court matters

I have a divorce hearing before the matter before the Syariah Court. Will my matter be heard or postponed?

Divorce proceedings at the Syariah Court during the Circuit Breaker Period will be adjourned to a later date.

I need to apply for an Inheritance Certificate from the Syariah Court. Will I be able to obtain it during the Circuit Breaker Period?

The issuance of Inheritance Certificates will be deferred.

I have been given deadlines to file my documents for my Syariah Court divorce. Can I still do so?

The Syariah Court is closed during the Circuit Breaker Period. As such, all filings into the Syariah Court has stopped.

My matter is considered to be essential and urgent. Does that mean that I will have to physically attend Court for my matter during the Circuit Breaker Period?

All urgent and essential hearings during the Circuit Breaker Period will be conducted through electronic means. However, the above excludes criminal trials and PG Mentions in the State Courts, where all parties involved will have to attend court physically, unless the Court has informed them otherwise. In addition, if you are on bail and your PG Mention is still scheduled to be held during the Circuit Breaker Period, you are to attend physically in court, unless otherwise informed.

I have a serious legal problem and need legal advice urgently. Will ARLC be open for business?

As legal services have not been identified to be an “essential service” or a “key economic sector”, kindly note that the firm’s premises are closed during the Circuit Breaker Period. However, our operations and appointments continue to operate in this period and we are ever-ready to be at your service. Please do not hesitate to contact our legal experts by booking an appointment through ask@arlc.com.sg or contact us at +65 6240 6901.

Disclaimer: Kindly note that the opinion rendered above only serves as a general advise and the circumstances for each case differs. Should you require any further advice or clarification on the above, please do not hesitate to contact any of our legal experts by booking an appointment through ask@arlc.com.sg or contact us at +65 6240 6901.

error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
Need Help ?