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Part IV: Interlocutory and other Applications

23. Distribution of applications

All applications in chambers (including summonses, summonses for directions and notices thereunder, and originating summonses) shall be filed without specifying whether the application is to be heard before a Judge in person or the Registrar.

24. Summonses

(1) All interlocutory applications must be made by way of summons.

(2) Ordinary summonses shall be endorsed “ex parte” or “by consent” and when endorsed “by consent” must bear a certificate to that effect signed by all the solicitors concerned.

(3) After the filing of any “ex parte” or “by consent” summons, the application will be examined by the Judge or Registrar as the case may be. If he is satisfied that the application is in order and all other requirements have been complied with, he may make the order(s) applied for on the day fixed for the hearing of the application without the attendance of the applicant or his solicitor.

(4) Summonses that are filed using the Electronic Filing Service will be routed to the inbox of the applicant solicitor’s Electronic Filing Service account. Where the summons is filed through the service bureau, it may be collected at the service bureau.

(5) Enquiries by telephone will not be entertained.

(6) Where a summons is filed in a matter for which a trial date has been fixed, the summons must be filed using the Electronic Filing Service with a special request informing the Civil Registry of the trial date(s).

24A. Filing of Distinct Applications in Separate Summonses

(1) A party who intends to make more than one distinct substantive application in a cause or matter must file each application in a separate summons.

(2) Distinct applications should not be combined in a single summons, unless they are inextricably or closely linked, or involve overlapping or substantially similar issues (for example, where applications for the extension or abridgment of time, the amendment of pleadings and costs are closely linked to some other more substantive application).

(3) In addition, applications should not contain alternative prayers when the alternative prayers sought in effect amount to distinct applications. For example, a party should not make an application for further and better particulars on particular issues, and in the alternative, interrogatories on different issues. In such a case, separate summonses should be filed. In contrast, the following is an example of an alternative prayer which may be permitted:

In the defendant’s summons setting out a prayer for the striking out of certain paragraphs of the Statement of Claim, the defendant also includes an alternative prayer for the plaintiff to be ordered to amend those paragraphs of the Statement of Claim.

(4) Any summons that is not in compliance with this Practice Direction may be rejected by the Civil Registry of the State Courts.

(5) The Court may also direct the party to file separate summonses before proceeding with the hearing or proceed with the hearing on the solicitor’s undertaking to file further summonses for the distinct applications.

25. Consolidated, transferred or converted cases in civil proceedings

Where leave of Court has been obtained to –

(a) consolidate cases;

(b) transfer a case from the Supreme Court to the State Courts;

(c) transfer a case from the District Court to the Magistrate’s Court;

(d) transfer a case from the Magistrate’s Court to the District Court; or

(e) an order is made in a matter commenced by originating summons to continue as if commenced by writ;

the applicant or his solicitor must inform the Civil Registry of the order for consolidation or transfer or conversion by way of an appropriate Request through the Electronic Filing Service.

26. Summonses for Directions

(1) Under Order 108 of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5) and Practice Direction 20 (Case management conference [CMC]), a case commenced by writ on or after 1st November 2014 in a Magistrate’s Court, and by consent, a case commenced by writ on or after 1st November 2014 in a District Court, will be called for a case management conference within 50 days after the Defence has been filed. The case management conference is convened to facilitate the management of the case from an early stage and to encourage parties to consider how the case may be resolved without trial, through negotiation or any Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process including mediation, neutral evaluation or arbitration. A summons for directions need not be filed in such cases, as the necessary directions will be given at the case management conference.

Cases that are not subject to the simplified process under Order 108 of the Rules of Court: Application of presumption of ADR

(2) Order 25, Rule 1(1)(b), of the Rules of Court provides that directions may be given at the Summons For Direction (SFD) hearing for the just, expeditious and economical disposal of the case. At the SFD hearing, solicitors should be ready to consider all available ADR options, including mediation and arbitration, for the most effective resolution of the case. The Court will refer cases for ADR during the SFD hearing, and/or make any other directions for the purpose of case management.

(3) The Deputy Registrar may recommend the appropriate mode of dispute resolution at the SFD hearing. To facilitate a considered decision on the ADR options, the ADR Form (Form 7 of Appendix A to these Practice Directions) must be read and completed by the solicitors for all parties and their clients when taking out or responding to an SFD application. A party who is not represented shall also complete the relevant sections of the ADR Form.

(4) When filing the SFD, the plaintiff must file the ADR Form through the Electronic Filing Service (EFS) under the document name “Incoming Correspondence – ADR Form (Plaintiff)”. The defendant must file the ADR Form not less than 7 days before the hearing date for the SFD. This Form shall be filed under the document name “Incoming Correspondence – ADR Form (Defendant)” through the EFS. No court fees will be charged for the filing of the ADR Form.

(5) This requirement does not apply to —

(a) motor accident claims;

(b) personal injury claims other than claims in medical negligence; or

(c) any case which has gone through Court Dispute Resolution before the SFD is filed.

(6) The solicitors for all the parties shall be present at the SFD hearing.

(7) All cases shall be automatically referred by the Court for the most appropriate mode of ADR during the SFD hearing, unless any or all of the parties opt out of ADR. A party who wishes to opt out of ADR should indicate his/her decision in the ADR Form. Where the Judge is of the view that ADR is suitable, and the party/parties have opted out of ADR for unsatisfactory reasons, this conduct may be taken into account by the Court when making subsequent costs orders pursuant to Order 59 Rule 5(1)(c) of the Rules of Court, which states:

“The Court in exercising its discretion as to costs shall, to such extent, if any, as may be appropriate in the circumstances, take into account the parties’ conduct in relation to any attempt at resolving the cause or matter by mediation or any other means of dispute resolution.”

(8) The Deputy Registrar hearing the SFD may make recommendations to the parties for the matter to proceed for —

(a) Mediation in the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution;

(b) Neutral Evaluation in the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution;

(c) Arbitration under the Law Society’s Arbitration Scheme; or

(d) Mediation by private mediation service providers.

27. Written Submissions for Contested Inter Partes Applications in Chambers

(1) To facilitate and expedite the hearing of contested inter partes applications before a Registrar in Chambers and Registrar’s Appeals before a District Judge in Chambers, the applicant and the respondent to the application shall file their Written Submissions no later than 3 working days prior to the hearing date fixed by the Court and shall serve a copy thereof on the other party to the application or his solicitor.

(2) The Written Submissions filed by parties shall set out as concisely as possible:

(a) the circumstances out of which the application arises;

(b) the issues arising in the application;

(c) the contentions to be urged by the party filing it and the authorities in support thereof; and

(d) the reasons for or against the application, as the case may be.

(3) This Practice Direction applies only in the following matters:

(a) Application for summary judgment under Order 14, Rule 1 and Rule 5 of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5);

(b) Application for determination of questions of law or construction of documents under Order 14, Rule 12 of the Rules of Court;

(c) Application to set aside judgment under Order 13, Rule 8 or Order 19, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court;

(d) Application to strike out pleadings and endorsements under Order 18, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court;

(e) Registrar’s Appeals under Order 55B of the Rules of Court; and

(f) Any other application as may be directed by the Court.

28. Adjournment or vacation of hearings other than trials

(1) Before parties write to the Court to request an adjournment or vacation of any hearing other than a trial, they should seek the consent of the other party or parties to the matter. Unilateral requests made without first seeking the consent or views of the other party or parties to the matter will not be entertained, except in the most exceptional circumstances.

(2) The request should be made at least 2 working days before the hearing date, setting out the reasons for the request.

(3) If the consent of all other parties to the matter is obtained, the request should state that all parties have consented to the request for the adjournment or vacation.  However, this does not mean that the request will be granted as a matter of course.  The Court will still evaluate the merits of the request before making its decision.  

(4) If the consent of one or more of the other parties is not obtained, the request should set out the reasons for the other parties’ objections, or explain why the consent of one or more of the other parties cannot be obtained. Any relevant correspondence between the parties should also be annexed. The Court will then evaluate the contents of the request and the relevant correspondence before deciding whether the request should be allowed.

29. Ex parte applications for injunctions

(1) Order 29, Rule 1, of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5) provides that an application for the grant of an injunction may be made ex parte in cases of urgency.  However, the cases of Castle Fitness Consultancy Pte Ltd v Manz [1989] SLR 896 ‘The Nagasaki Spirit(No.1) [1994] 1 SLR 434 take the position that an opponent to an ex parte application, especially where the application seeks injunctive relief, should be invited to attend at the hearing of the application.

(2) In view of this, any party applying ex parte for an injunction (including a Mareva injunction) must give notice of the application to the other concerned parties prior to the hearing.  The notice may be given by way of facsimile transmission or the use of any other electronic means (including electronic mail or Internet transmission), or, in cases of extreme urgency, orally by telephone. Except in cases of extreme urgency or with the leave of the Court, the party shall give a minimum of two hours’ notice to the other parties before the hearing. The notice should inform the other parties of the date, time and place fixed for the hearing of the application and of the nature of the relief sought.  If possible, a copy of the originating process, the ex parte summons and supporting affidavit(s) should be given to each of the other parties in draft form as soon as they are ready to be filed in Court.  At the hearing of the ex parte application, in the event that some or all of the other parties are not present or represented, the applicant’s solicitors should inform the Court of:

(a) the attempts that were made to notify the other parties or their solicitors of the making of the application;

(b) what documents were given to the other parties or their solicitors and when these documents were given; and

(c) whether the other parties or their solicitors consent to the application being heard without their presence.

(3) The Directions set out in paragraph (2) need not be followed if the giving of the notice to the other parties, or some of them, would or might defeat the purpose of the ex parte application.  However, in such cases, the reasons for not following the Directions should be clearly set out in the affidavit prepared in support of the ex parte application.

30. Mareva injunctions and search orders

(1) Applicants for Mareva injunctions and search orders are required to prepare their orders in accordance with the following Forms in Appendix A to these Practice Directions:

(a) Form 5: Search order;

(b) Form 6A: Worldwide Mareva injunction; and

(c) Form 6B: Mareva injunction limited to assets within the jurisdiction.

(2) These Forms, inevitably, are complicated, but their language and layout are intended to make it easier for persons served with these orders to understand what they mean.  These standard form orders should be used save to the extent that the Judge hearing a particular application considers there is a good reason for adopting a different Form.  Any departure from the terms of the prescribed Forms should be justified by the applicant in his supporting affidavit(s).

(3) The applicant should undertake not to inform any third party of the proceedings until after the return date.

(4) Wherever practicable, applications should be made sufficiently early so as to ensure that the Judge has sufficient time to read and consider the application in advance.

(5) On an ex parte application for a Mareva injunction or an search order, an applicant may be required, in an appropriate case, to support his cross-undertaking in damages by a payment to be made into Court, a bond to be issued by an insurance company with a place of business within Singapore, a written guarantee to be issued from a bank with a palce of business within Singapore or a payment to the applicant’s solicitor to be held by the solicitor as an officer of the Court pending further order.

Applications for search orders

(6) It was suggested in Universal Thermosensors Ltd v Hibben [1992] 3 All ER 257 at 276 that the order be served by a supervising solicitor and carried out in his presence and under his supervision.  The supervising solicitor should be an experienced solicitor who is not a member or employee of the firm acting for the applicant and who has some familiarity with the operation of search orders.  The evidence in support of the application should include the identity and experience of the proposed supervising solicitor.  These guidelines are equally applicable in the local context and the Judge in his discretion may, in appropriate cases, require a supervising solicitor.

(7) Where the premises are likely to be occupied by an unaccompanied woman, at least one of the persons attending on the service of the order should be a woman.

(8) Where the nature of the items removed under the order makes this appropriate, the applicant will be required to insure them.

31. Documents in support of ex parte applications for injunctions (including Mareva injunctions) and search orders

(1) Without prejudice to the requirements stated in Practice Directions 29 (Ex parte applications for injunctions) and 30 (Mareva injunctions and search orders), in order to assist the Court hearing ex parte applications for injunctions (including Mareva injunctions) and search orders, an applicant must include in the affidavit prepared in support of the application the following information under clearly defined headings:

(a) reason(s) the application is taken out on an ex parte basis, including whether the applicant believes that there is a risk of dissipation of assets, destruction of evidence or any other prejudicial conduct;

(b) urgency of the application (if applicable), including whether there is any particular event that may trigger the dissipation of assets, destruction of evidence or any other prejudicial conduct;

(c) factual basis for the application, including the basis of any belief that there will be dissipation of assets, destruction of evidence or any other prejudicial conduct, whether there have been any past incidents of the opponent dissipating assets, destroying evidence or engaging in any other prejudicial conduct, and whether there is any evidence of dishonesty or bad faith of the opponent;

(d) factual basis for any reasonable defences that may be relied on by the opponent;

(e) whether the applicant is aware of any issues relating to jurisdiction, forum non conveniens or service out of jurisdiction, and. if so, whether any application relating to these issues has been or will be made;

(f) an undertaking to pay for losses that may be caused to the opponent or other persons by the granting of the orders sought, stating what assets are available to meet that undertaking and to whom the assets belong; and

(g) any other material facts which the Court should be aware of.

(2) An applicant must prepare skeletal submissions on the points to be raised at the hearing of the ex parte application. At the hearing, the applicant shall give a copy of the skeletal submissions to the Court and to any opponent present. The applicant shall file the skeletal submissions by the next working day.

(3) The Court may also require the applicant to prepare a note of the hearing setting out the salient points and arguments canvassed before the Court and may order such a note to be served together with the court documents on any opponent who is not present at the hearing or within a reasonable time after the service of the court documents.

32. Applications for discovery or interrogatories against network service providers

(1) This Practice Direction applies to an application made under Order 24, Rule 6(1) or Order 26A, Rule 1(1) of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5) —

(a) by or on behalf of an owner or exclusive licensee of copyright material against a network service provider for information relating to the identity of a user of the network service provider’s primary network who is alleged to have infringed the copyright in the material in relation to an electronic copy of the material on, or accessible through, the network service provider’s primary network; or

(b) by or on behalf of the performer of a performance against a network service provider for information relating to the identity of a user of the network service provider’s primary network who is alleged to have made an unauthorised use of the performance in relation to an electronic recording of the material on, or accessible through, the network service provider’s primary network.

(2) An application referred to in paragraph (1) shall —

(a) be made in Form 4 of Appendix A to the Rules of Court; and

(b) when made in accordance with sub-paragraph (a) above, be fixed for hearing within 5 days from the date of filing of the application.

(3) The onus shall lie on the applicant to highlight the nature of the application to the Registry and to request that the application be fixed for hearing within 5 days.

(4) In paragraph (1)(a), the words “electronic copy”, “material”, “network service provider” and “primary network” have the same meanings as in section 193A(1) of the Copyright Act (Cap 63).

(5) In paragraph (1)(b), the words “electronic recording”, “network service provider”, “performance” and “primary network” have the same meanings as in section 246(1) of the Copyright Act (Cap 63).

33. Absence of parties

Where an application has been struck off by reason of any party being absent, the Registrar may direct that the matter be restored by way of summons.