Public Consultation on Proposed Reforms to the Civil Justice System

Ministry of Law

Ministry of Law - Legal Policy Division

Consultation Period: 26 Oct 2018 - 31 Jan 2019
Status: Open
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Detailed Description

I. CIVIL JUSTICE REVIEW COMMITTEE AND CIVIL JUSTICE COMMISSION

1. Singapore’s civil justice system is highly regarded and works very well for the large majority of users and stakeholders. However, there is a need to continue reviewing and improving the system to ensure that the costs and time needed to resolve a civil dispute are proportionate to the value of the claim, and there is effective and efficient enforcement of judgments.

2. To this end, the following two announcements were made:

i. On 5 January 2015, the Chief Justice announced the establishment of the Civil Justice Commission (CJC) with the following terms of reference:

a. To transform, not merely reform, the litigation process by modernising it, enhancing efficiency and speed of adjudication and maintaining costs at reasonable levels.

b. To simplify rules, avoid outdated language without discarding established legal concepts, eliminate time-consuming or cost-wasting procedural steps, ensure fairness to all litigants, make good use of advancements in information technology and allow greater judicial control of the entire litigation process.

c. Such other aspects as the Chief Justice may direct from time to time.

The CJC also recognised the need to ensure that the Rules of Court (“Rules”) provide flexibility for the court to do right for each individual case, and ensure that parties will not be denied justice because of accidental procedural flaws

ii. On 18 May 2016, the Ministry of Law announced the establishment of the Civil Justice Review Committee (CJRC). The CJRC was tasked to make recommendations relating to:

a. Enhancing judicial control over litigation, civil procedure;

b. Professional training requirements and public education measures to support the recommendations; and

c. A review mechanism to assess the implementation of the CJRC’s recommendations two years post-implementation.

3. Over the past few years, the CJRC and CJC have engaged in wide-ranging and comprehensive discussions. Their reports (attached at Annex B and C respectively) represent the culmination of their work. The CJC also proposed a set of new Rules which are attached to the CJC report. This public consultation paper represents a consolidation of the recommendations by the CJRC and CJC.

4. Please note that this public consultation paper is not intended to be an interpretative paper in that it is not to be used to interpret or define the new Rules.

5. Further, the concepts discussed in this public consultation paper are still at the discussion stage and may change after further discussion and reflection.

II. INVITATION TO GIVE FEEDBACK

6. You are invited to share with us your views and comments on the recommendations by the CJRC and CJC.

7. Respondents are requested to observe these guidelines:

a. Indicate your name and the organisation you represent (if applicable) as well as contact details (email address and / or telephone number) to enable us to follow up and seek clarification, if necessary;

b. Focus your comments on how the recommendations can be improved or whether the changes are necessary; and

c. State clearly which specific recommendation you are giving feedback on by referring to the relevant paragraph in this public consultation paper.

8. Please send all comments and feedback by 31 January 2019 via post or email to:

Legal Policy Division
Ministry of Law
100 High Street
#08-02 The Treasury
Singapore 179434

9. Only comments and feedback that are received no later than 31 January 2019 will be considered. We seek your kind understanding on this.