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Part VIII: Evidence – Witnesses, Affidavits and Exhibits

52. Witnesses

Issuance of subpoenas

(1) An application for a subpoena shall be made by way of filing a subpoena in Form 67 in Appendix A of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5). The subpoena is deemed to be issued when it is sealed by an officer of the Registry pursuant to Order 38, Rule 14(2) of the Rules of Court. The previous practice of filing a Request to issue a subpoena is discontinued.

Release of witness upon completion of evidence

(2) It has been brought to the attention of the Court that generally witnesses have not been told that they are free to leave the Court after they have completed their evidence. To remedy this, every witness will be released by the Court upon completion of his evidence and it is the duty of counsel to apply to the Court if counsel desires the witness to remain. This paragraph shall apply to both civil and criminal proceedings.

53. Form of affidavits

Affidavits filed electronically

(1) This paragraph shall apply to affidavits which are to be filed through the Electronic Filing Service.

(a) When filing affidavits for use during a hearing of an interlocutory application, the summons number of the interlocutory application must be provided in the Electronic Filing Service in addition to the case number of the suit or matter.

(b) Affidavits shall have a blank margin of not less than 35mm wide on all 4 sides of the page. They shall be printed or typed and must be double-spaced.

(c) The textual portion of the affidavits, as opposed to the exhibits, must be white.

(d) At the top right hand corner of the first page of every affidavit there shall be typed or printed in a single line the following:

(i) the party on whose behalf the affidavit is filed;

(ii) the name of the deponent;

(iii) the ordinal number of the affidavit in relation to the affidavits filed in the cause or matter by the deponent; and

(iv) the date the affidavit is filed.

(e) Every page of the affidavit (including separators and exhibits) shall be paginated consecutively, and the page number shall be placed at the top right hand corner of the page.

Affidavits that are not filed electronically

(2) This paragraph applies to affidavits which are not required to be filed through the Electronic Filing Service.

(a) Form of affidavits generally

(i) Affidavits shall be on A4-ISO paper of durable quality with a blank margin not less than 35 mm wide on all 4 sides of the page.

(ii) The paper used shall be white.

(iii) Affidavits shall be produced by printing, lithography or typewriting, and in any case not by carbon copying.  A document produced by a photographic or similar process giving a positive and permanent representation free from blemishes will be treated, to the extent that it contains a facsimile of matter produced by one of the above processes, as if it were so produced.  Photographic copies which are not clearly legible will be rejected.

(iv) Affidavits shall be printed or typed, double-spaced, on one side or both sides of the paper.

(b) Markings on affidavits

At the top right hand corner of the first page of every affidavit, and also on the backing sheet, there shall be typed, printed or written clearly and in a single line:

(i) the party on whose behalf it is filed;

(ii) the name of the deponent;

(iii) the number of affidavits in relation to the deponent; and

(iv) the date of filing,

for example, “2nd Deft: Tan Ah Kow: 4th: 23.08.2013”.

(c) Binding of affidavits

Affidavits of 30 pages or less (including exhibits and dividing and backing sheets) may be stapled at the top left hand corner of the paper firmly.  Any affidavit (including exhibits, dividing and backing sheets) exceeding 30 pages shall be bound with plastic ring binding or plastic spine thermal binding (the plastic rings or spines to be red for plaintiffs/appellants, and blue for defendants/respondents) with a transparent plastic cover in front and at the back.

(d) Pagination of affidavits

Every page of the affidavit shall be paginated consecutively, and the page number shall be placed at the top right hand corner of the page.

54. Exhibits to affidavits

Non-documentary exhibits

(1) Non-documentary exhibits (e.g., tapes, samples of merchandise, etc.) shall be clearly marked with the exhibit mark in such a manner that there is no likelihood of the exhibit being separated or lost.

(2) Where the exhibit consists of more than one item (e.g., cassettes in a box) each and every such separate item of the exhibits shall similarly be separately marked with enough of the usual exhibit mark to ensure precise identification.

(3) Where it is impracticable to mark on the article itself, such article or the container thereof shall be tagged or labelled with the exhibit mark securely attached to the exhibit in such a manner that it is not easily removable.

(4) Very small non-documentary exhibits shall be enclosed or mounted in a sealed transparent container, tagged or labelled as aforesaid. An enlarged photograph showing the relevant characteristics of such exhibits shall, where applicable, be exhibited in the affidavit.

Exhibits to affidavits filed electronically

(5) The directions in this paragraph shall apply to exhibits to affidavits that are filed through the Electronic Filing Service:

(a) Every page of every exhibit must be fully and clearly legible. Where necessary, magnified copies of the relevant pages should be interleaved in appropriate places.

(b) Every page of the exhibits, including dividing sheets or separators between exhibits, shall be consecutively numbered at the top right hand corner of each page, taking as its first number the number that follows the number of the last sheet of the affidavit.

(c) Each exhibit in the affidavit must be separately book-marked in the Portable Document Format (PDF) document that is filed. For this purpose —

(i) the names of the book-marks should follow the initials of the deponent of the affidavit, e.g., “TAK-1”, “TAK-2”; and

(ii) where a deponent deposes to more than one affidavit to which there are exhibits in any one action, cause or proceedings, the numbering of the exhibits in all subsequent affidavits shall run consecutively throughout, and not begin again with each affidavit.

(d) Where a deponent wishes to refer to documents already exhibited to some other deponent’s affidavit, he must exhibit them to his own affidavit pursuant to Order 41 Rule 11 of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5).

Exhibits to affidavits that are not filed electronically

(6) This paragraph applies to exhibits to affidavits that are not required to be filed through the Electronic Filing Service.

(a) Every page of every exhibit must be fully and clearly legible.  Where necessary, magnified copies of the relevant pages should be interleaved in appropriate places.

(b) All documentary exhibits in an affidavit shall be prefaced by a dividing sheet in a light colour other than white, marked, typed or stamped clearly with an exhibit mark as follows:

“This is the exhibit marked ____ [letter of the alphabet or a number] referred to in the affidavit of _____________[name of the deponent] and sworn/affirmed before me this _______ [date on which the affidavit is sworn or affirmed].

 

Before me,

SGD

A Commissioner for Oaths”

(c) When there are more than 10 different documentary exhibits in an affidavit, there shall be —

(i) a table of contents of the documentary exhibits inserted before the first of such exhibits enumerating every exhibit in the affidavit in the manner of the example set out below:

Reference in affidavit Nature of exhibit Page No.
“TAK-1” Certificate of marriage 6
“TAK-2” Certificate of birth 7

(ii) each document shall be flagged by means of a plastic tag, marked in accordance with the exhibit reference and such flags shall run vertically down the right edge of the exhibits evenly spaced out so as not to overlap one another.  The table of contents itself shall bear the top most flag, marked “TABLE”; and

(iii) exhibits shall be bound in the sequence in which references are made to them in the affidavit.

(d) Pagination

Every page of the exhibits (but not the dividing sheets mentioned in sub-paragraph (b) above) shall be consecutively numbered at the top right hand corner of each page, taking as its first number the number that follows the number of the last sheet of the affidavit.

(e) Numbering

Where a deponent deposes to more than one affidavit to which there are exhibits in any one action, cause or proceedings, the numbering of such exhibits in all subsequent affidavits shall run consecutively throughout, and not begin again with each affidavit.

(f) References to exhibits in other affidavits

Where a deponent wishes to refer to a document already exhibited in some other deponent’s affidavit, he shall not also exhibit it to his own affidavit.

(g) Related documents

Related documents (e.g., correspondence and invoices) may be collected together and collectively exhibited as one exhibit arranged in chronological order, beginning with the earliest at the top, paginated in accordance with sub-paragraph (d) above, and the exhibit must have a front page showing the table of contents of the items in the exhibit.

55. Swearing or affirming of affidavits, statutory declarations and oaths

(1) Rule 8 of the Commissioners for Oaths Rules (Cap. 322, Rule 3) was amended effective 1 September 1998 to permit an advocate and solicitor who is appointed a commissioner for oaths to take affidavits or statutory declarations, or administer oaths to a deponent in a language or dialect, other than English, spoken or understood by the deponent and in which the advocate and solicitor is proficient in. Given these amendments, advocates and solicitors are requested to encourage their clients to use the services of other advocates and solicitors who are appointed commissioners for oaths and who are proficient in the language or dialect in which the affidavits or statutory declarations are to be sworn or affirmed, or in which the oaths are to be taken. The State Courts’ commissioners for oaths will continue to take affidavits or statutory declarations and administer oaths for legally aided cases and for parties who are acting in person who need to file documents in the State Courts.

(2) If arrangements for the use of the services of advocates and solicitors who are appointed as commissioners for oaths are not possible, deponents who are blind or illiterate in English may continue to be brought by solicitors to the State Courts’ commissioners for oaths to swear or affirm affidavits and statutory declarations.  As the State Courts’ commissioners for oaths are under a duty to ensure that the deponent understands the document being deposed to, they are obliged to interpret the document to intended deponents; this is also the case in relation to blind deponents.  This necessary exercise may take a considerable time and may cause long delays for other persons who wish to take affidavits or statutory declarations before the State Courts’ commissioners for oaths.

(3) Accordingly, solicitors who wish to bring illiterate or blind deponents before the State Courts’ commissioners for oaths should first estimate the time that will be taken to interpret the document or documents to be deposed to.  If it is estimated that the total time required for interpretation of the documents will be more than 20 minutes, the solicitor must write to the Registrar and arrange for a special appointment for the documents to be sworn or affirmed; the solicitor should not bring the deponent before the duty commissioner for oaths without such an appointment.

(4) If an illiterate or a blind deponent is brought before the duty State Courts commissioner for oaths and the interpretation of the document or documents takes more than 20 minutes, the commissioner for oaths will refer the solicitor and the deponent to the Registrar for a special appointment to be made for the documents to be deposed to.

(5) Save in exceptional circumstances, the State Courts will not entertain requests from advocates and solicitors for its commissioners for oaths to swear or affirm affidavits or statutory declarations or administer oaths to a deponent outside the State Courts’ premises.  Advocates and solicitors appointed as commissioners for oaths and who are proficient in the language or dialect in which the affidavits or statutory declarations are to be sworn or affirmed, or in which oaths are to be taken, are instead encouraged to perform this function.

(6) This Practice Direction shall apply to both civil and criminal proceedings.

56. Effect of non-compliance

Any affidavit or exhibit which does not comply with the Directions contained in this Part will be liable to be rejected by the Court and made the subject of an order for costs.

57. Order 41 of the Rules of Court

(1) For avoidance of doubt, the provisions of Order 41 of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5) shall continue to apply.

(2) The attention of solicitors is especially drawn to Order 41, Rule 1(4), of the Rules of Court.  Non-compliance with any of the requirements of that Rule may result in an order of costs being made against the solicitor personally.

58. Objections to the contents of affidavits of evidence-in-chief

(1) If, on an application for directions under Order 25, Rule 3, or Order 37, Rule 1, of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5), or otherwise, orders are made prescribing the time within which objection to the contents of affidavits of evidence-in-chief must be taken, the objections must be taken in accordance with this Practice Direction, and not otherwise.

(2) Objections to the contents of affidavits of evidence-in-chief filed pursuant to an order of the Court made under Order 25, Rule 3, or Order 37, Rule 1, of the Rules of Court, or otherwise, must be taken by filing and serving a notice in Form 10 of Appendix A to these Practice Directions.

(3) The notice in Form 10 should set out all the objections to the contents of affidavits of evidence-in-chief that will be raised at the hearing of the cause or matter and all the grounds thereof.

(4) An adjudication on the material objected to in affidavits of evidence-in-chief filed pursuant to an order of the Court should only be sought at the trial or hearing of the cause or matter for which the affidavits of evidence-in-chief were filed, and not before.  If an adjudication is sought prior to the trial or hearing of the cause or matter, the application for the adjudication will be adjourned to be dealt with at the trial or hearing of the cause or matter, and the applicant may be ordered to pay the costs of the adjournment.

59. Request for court interpreters

(1) Any party requiring the services of an interpreter of the Court for any of its witnesses must inform the Registrar in writing no later than 2 working days from the date of the PTC or other proceeding at which the hearing date is fixed or 2 weeks before the day when the interpreter is required, whichever is earlier. This practice is to be followed for all fresh and adjourned hearings, whether in open Court or in chambers.

(2) Where an interpreter is required and the Registrar has not been so informed, any deployment of an interpreter will be subject to availability.

(3) The Request should contain the following information:

(a) the Case number;

(b) the parties to the suit;

(c) the names of witness(es) requiring an interpreter;

(d) the Court/Chamber number;

(e) the stage of the proceedings (e.g. fresh or adjourned hearing);

(f) the date and time of hearing (in the event the hearing is fixed for more than 1 day, the date and time on which the interpreter’s services are required);

(g) the number of days for which the interpreter’s services are required; and

(h) the language/dialect spoken by the witness(es) requiring the services of the interpreter.

(4) Where the services of the interpreter requested are no longer required prior to the start of the hearing, such as in the event of a settlement prior to the trial, the party who has requested the services of the interpreter must inform the Registrar in writing immediately.

(5) This directions in this Practice Direction shall apply to both civil and criminal proceedings, except that for civil proceedings, the requesting party must file a “Request for Hearing Administrative Support” through the Electronic Filing Service.

60. Use of Expert Witness (in cases other than Non-Injury Motor Accident Claims)

(1) Early Expert Pre-trial Conference (EPTC) under Order 34A of the Rules of Court

(a) The plaintiff or the defendant or a third party, where applicable, may, any time after appearance is entered, write to the Court to request for an EPTC.

(b) Such a request shall be made by way of a letter in Form 11 of Appendix A to these Practice Directions and copied to all other parties.

(c) Parties are encouraged to use the EPTC to apply for such necessary extensions of time to prepare their expert evidence for trial. As such, applications for extensions of time at the summons for directions stage to deal with expert issues should be avoided.

(d) The Court may also direct parties to attend an EPTC at any time before trial.

(e) Appendix H to these Practice Directions sets out the guidelines for parties requesting an EPTC.

(2) Compliance with Order 40A of the Rules of Court

(a) Parties are expected to comply with Order 40A of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5) if they intend to adduce expert evidence for court proceedings.

(b) To prevent inadvertent non-compliance with Order 40A of the Rules of Court, counsel must ensure that their respective clients furnish to their intended expert witnesses prior to any appointment a copy of Form 12 of Appendix A to these Practice Directions.

60A. Utilisation of the Concurrent Expert Evidence Procedure

(1) Parties to the following civil trials and assessment of damages (“AD”) hearings in which separate expert witnesses will be appointed by the parties, should consider using the Concurrent Expert Evidence Procedure (the “CEE procedure”) under Order 40A, Rule 6 of the Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R5) in accordance with the provisions of this Practice Direction. The aforementioned civil trials and AD hearings are:

(a) all District Court cases;

(b) all Magistrate Court cases commenced before 1st November 2014, and to which Order 108 of the Rules of Court does not apply; and

(c) all Magistrate Court cases commenced on or after 1st November 2014 in which appointment of separate expert witnesses by the parties are permitted under Order 108 of the Rules of Court.

(2) Adoption of the CEE procedure is by consent of the parties.

Factors to consider when assessing the suitability of the CEE procedure

(3) When considering whether or not to utilise the CEE procedure, parties should consider the following factors:

(a) the number, nature and complexity of the issues which are or will be the subject of expert evidence (“expert issues”);

(b) the importance of the expert issues to the case as a whole;

(c) the number of experts, their areas of expertise and their respective levels of expertise; and

(d) the extent to which the use of the CEE procedure is likely to —

(i) assist in clarifying or understanding the expert issues; and/or

(ii) save time and/or costs at the hearing.

Stage of proceedings when CEE should be considered

(4) Counsel should consider the suitability of the CEE procedure once a decision has been made to appoint separate experts for the trial or AD hearing.

(5) Counsel should, in any case, have obtained their client’s instructions on whether the CEE procedure would be adopted prior to attending —

(a) in the case of civil trials, the first pre-trial conference after set down; or

(b) in the case of AD hearings, the Assessment of Damages Court Dispute Resolution Conference (“ADCDR”) or the Pre-Assessment of Damages Conference (“PADC”) or Assessment of Damages pre-trial conference (“AD-PTC”), as applicable, after the Notice of Appointment for Assessment of Damages is filed.

(Note: the above conferences will be referred to as “PTCs”, and the respective presiding judges as “PTC Judges”.)

(6) In cases where an ADCDR is held, the customary quantum indication to facilitate settlement discussions will continue to be given. Upon it being clear that parties are unable to settle and that an AD hearing will have to be scheduled, the PTC Judge and the parties will then discuss the suitability of the CEE procedure.

(7) In every case, the CEE procedure will only be ordered by the PTC Judge if —

(a) all parties consent to the adoption of the CEE procedure; and

(b) the PTC Judge considers the case to be suitable for adopting the CEE procedure.

Procedures at Civil Trials where parties agree to use the CEE procedure

(8) The PTC Judge will fix a date (half a day, generally) for counsel to attend a Special Confirmatory PTC before an assigned trial judge (the “Trial Judge”).

(9) Counsel shall submit to the Trial Judge, in hard copy, a bundle containing the affidavits of all factual and expert witnesses that will be called at the trial (including medical reports, where relevant) no later than one week before the date of the initial Special Confirmatory PTC.

(10) At the initial Special Confirmatory PTC, the Trial Judge will discuss the following matters with counsel:

(a) the list of expert issues as contained in the expert witnesses’ affidavits and/or reports on which the experts disagree (the “List of Disputed Expert Issues”);

(b) the extent to which the List of Disputed Expert Issues may be narrowed;

(c) any further issues which the experts ought to address; and

(d) the form which the Joint Expert Report should take, so as to ensure the efficient conduct of the CEE session.

(11) At the end of the initial Special Confirmatory PTC, the Trial Judge may make one or more of the following directions:

(a) that the experts are to discuss the List of Disputed Expert Issues so as to attempt to narrow the issues in dispute (and for this purpose, the experts’ discussion may take place via face-to-face meetings, video or teleconference, or by such other means as may be expedient);

(b) that the experts are to file in court a joint expert report which should substantially be in Form 12A in Appendix A of these Practice Directions, or in such other form as may be allowed by the Trial Judge in the interest of expediency (the “Joint Expert Report”), after the experts’ discussion, and in any case the Joint Expert Report should list out the expert issues that have been agreed, those that have not been agreed, and the reasons for the areas of disagreement;

(c) that the Joint Expert Report is to be filed in court no later than 4 weeks after the date of the initial Special Confirmatory PTC; and

(d) that a second Special Confirmatory PTC is to be scheduled on or around 4 weeks after the date of the initial Special Confirmatory PTC.

(12) At the second Special Confirmatory PTC, Counsel shall report to the Trial Judge on the status of the preparation of the Joint Expert Report. The Trial Judge will then make one of the following orders:

(a) if the Joint Expert Report is ready, the Trial Judge will —

(i) discuss with the parties the sequence in which disputed expert issues will be dealt with at the CEE session; and

(ii) assign trial dates; and

(b) if the Joint Expert Report is not ready, the Trial Judge may adjourn the case for a further Special Confirmatory PTC.

Procedures in AD Hearings where parties agree to the CEE procedure

(13) For AD hearings, at the ADCDR, AD-PTC or PADC, the Court will, on a case by case basis, make one or more of the following directions, as appropriate:

(a) that counsel, the parties or the experts are to compile and file Annex 1 (List of Agreed Expert Issues) and/or Annex 2 (List of Disputed Expert Issues) of the Joint Expert Report based on the parties’ respective expert’s report(s) prior to the date of the AD hearing;

(b) that the experts are to discuss the List of Disputed Expert Issues so as to attempt to narrow the issues in dispute (for which purpose the experts’ discussion may take place via face-to-face meetings, video or teleconference, or by such other means as may be expedient);

(c) that the experts are to file a Joint Expert Report after a joint experts’ discussion prior to the date of the AD hearing, which Joint Expert Report should list out the expert issues that have been agreed, those that have not been agreed, and the reasons for the areas of disagreement; or

(d) any other directions as will ensure a cost effective and expedient conduct of the AD hearing.

(14) The Deputy Registrar hearing the AD may, on a case by case basis, where appropriate, schedule a Special Confirmatory PTC with parties prior to the date of the AD hearing.

Court’s Discretion to modify the CEE procedures

(15) Where the circumstances of any individual case warrant, the PTC Judge and/or the Trial Judge may, upon discussion with the parties, modify, simplify and/or dispense with any of the above procedures, so as to ensure that the costs of utilising the CEE procedure would not be disproportionate to the claim(s) in dispute.

CEE procedure at Trial or AD hearing

(16) The CEE procedure, including the sequence of witnesses, may be determined by the Judge hearing the Trial or AD hearing on a case by case basis. Generally, the factual witnesses will complete their evidence before the experts are asked to give their evidence concurrently.

(17) During the CEE session, the experts will be sworn in together. The disputed expert issues will be dealt with one issue at a time. Each expert will be asked to state his opinion in turn on a disputed expert issue. Each expert will then be asked to comment on the other expert’s opinion. Counsel will then be given a chance to cross-examine the other party’s expert on his opinion on the disputed expert issue, followed by a re-examination by the expert’s client’s counsel. The Judge may also ask questions of either expert at any time. At the end of each segment, each expert is to make concluding remarks on the disputed expert issue. The process will then be repeated for the next disputed expert issue until all disputed expert issues have been covered.

(18) The provisions of this Practice Direction and Form 12A shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to suitable third party and other similar proceedings.

61. Request for Digital Audio Recording and Transcription Service

(1) Digital audio recording and transcription of open court proceedings will be made available in the State Courts, to parties, through one or more designated service providers at the request of parties.

(2) The request for digital audio recording and transcription service shall be subject to the approval and/or directions of the Court hearing the proceedings, the approval of the Registrar, and the availability of the designated service provider to provide the service.

Applications for Digital Audio Recording and Transcription Service

(3) Any party who intends to use the digital audio recording and transcription service shall write to the Court hearing the proceedings for approval at least 12 working days before the commencement of the proceedings.

(4) Upon written notification of the approval by the Court hearing the proceedings, the requesting party shall submit to the designated service provider at least 8 working days before the commencement of the proceedings the application for digital audio recording and transcription service using the requisite form provided by the designated service provider. The requesting party shall also comply with any direction(s) that may be given by the Court hearing the proceedings, in respect of the party’s written request for digital audio recording and transcription service.

(5) The designated service provider shall inform the requesting party whether the application for digital audio recording and transcription service has received final approval by the Registrar.

(6) The cost of engaging the designated service provider for digital audio recording and transcription service shall be paid by the requesting party directly to the designated service provider. The engagement of and payment to the designated service provider are subject to its terms and conditions.

(7) The party or parties engaging the designated service provider shall apply for sufficient copies of the transcript to be furnished to the Court hearing the proceedings and all other parties to the proceedings.

62. Certification of transcripts

The transcript(s) of any record of hearing or notes of hearing will be certified by the Judicial Officer having conduct of the proceedings, or in the absence of the Judicial Officer, any other Judicial Officer as directed by the Registrar.

63. Application for court records for civil matters

(1) For civil proceedings which have been commenced using the Electronic Filing Service, every application for the court records in those proceedings (including notes of evidence, certified transcripts or grounds of decision) must be made by way of filing the appropriate Request in the Electronic Filing Service.

(2) On approval, copies of the court records will be made available upon payment of an appropriate fee.