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The State Courts recognise that a seamless civil justice system is the cornerstone of an effective and efficient civil justice process. The aim of this system is to monitor and ensure the smooth and timely flow of cases between the Civil Registry, the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution and the Civil Trial Courts towards achieving better case management and speedier disposal of civil cases. This ensures litigation cost savings for the parties and optimises the deployment of the State Courts resources.
Civil Trial Courts are presided over by District Judges and Magistrates who hear the evidence in open court. After hearing the evidence and submissions presented by the parties or their lawyers, the District Judge or Magistrate will proceed to pronounce Judgment on the matter for the parties' compliance.
A District Judge is a judicial officer who presides in a District Court. He/she is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Chief Justice. For civil claims, a District Court has jurisdiction to hear and try an action for the recovery of a sum or sums not exceeding S$250,000 or, in the case of road traffic accident claims or claims for personal injuries arising out of industrial accidents, up to $500,000. For specific details regarding the powers and jurisdiction of a District Court, please refer to the State Courts Act.
A District Judge will hear and try a civil action in open court, unless otherwise ordered. At the conclusion of the trial, the District Judge will pronounce judgment and such judgment shall (subject to appeal to the High Court) be final and conclusive between the parties. The District Judge is also concurrently appointed as a Magistrate. When presiding in a Magistrate's Court, a District Judge only has the powers and jurisdiction of a Magistrate.
A Magistrate is a judicial officer who presides in a Magistrate's Court. He/she is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Chief Justice. For civil claims, a Magistrate's Court has jurisdiction to hear and try an action for the recovery of a sum or sums not exceeding S$60,000. For specific details regarding the powers and jurisdiction of a Magistrate's Court, please refer to the State Courts Act.
A Magistrate will hear and try a civil action in open court, unless otherwise ordered. At the conclusion of the trial, the Magistrate will pronounce judgment and such judgment shall (subject to appeal to the High Court) be final and conclusive between the parties.
The Civil Registry handles all administrative matters relating to the operations of the Civil Justice Division.All interlocutory applications (i.e. applications that are filed and heard before the trial) are heard by Deputy Registrars (who are Judicial Officers) at the Civil Registry. The Civil Registry is also tasked with the management of the caseload heard at the Civil Justice Division. The Civil Registry ensures the smooth and efficient running of the seamless Civil Justice Division and oversees the history of the case or matter from the commencement of filing of the Writ of Summons or Originating Summons to the final resolution of the matter.
A Deputy Registrar is a judicial officer appointed by the Chief Justice. Deputy Registrars assist the Registrar in the smooth running of the Civil Registry in the State Courts. Besides their administrative duties, Deputy Registrars also have judicial functions. Deputy Registrars hear all interlocutory matters (hearings before trial) in Chambers and have the same jurisdiction and powers conferred on a District Court by the State Courts Act and the Rules of Court.
The Bailiffs Section handles the enforcement proceedings commenced by parties in respect of Judgments and Orders of cases that come under the jurisdiction of the State Courts. The bailiffs are empowered under Sections 15 & 16 of the State Courts Act (Chapter 321) to handle enforcement proceedings.
The bailiffs may, under the authority given to them under Section 16 of the State Courts Act (Chapter 321), enter the house of the judgment debtor or premises of a third party to execute and carry into effect all Writs of Execution and Court Orders. The usual enforcement filed by parties includes a Writ of Seizure and Sale.
In carrying out enforcement proceedings, each bailiff of the State Courts is issued distinctive vests and authority passes to aid in identifying them as Court officials in the course of their work.
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