A Tribunal Hearing takes place in chambers (in private) before a Tribunal. A Tribunal is presided over by a Referee, who will direct the flow and manner of the proceedings as he deems fit.

All parties to a case must attend the Hearing. Failure to attend can result in an adverse order being made against the absent party - if you are a claimant, your claim may be dismissed; if you are a respondent, a default judgment may be entered against you.

During the Hearing, both parties will have a chance to present their cases to the Referee. The Referee will decide whether or not to call witnesses to give evidence. The Referee will make a decision on the merits of the case and in accordance with the law. At the end of the Hearing, the Referee may make:

  • A Money order
  • A Work order
  • A Work order with an alternative Money Order
  • Any other order or direction as it deems fit

An order by the Referee is binding on all the parties to the claim and enforceable as an order of the Magistrate's Court. Costs are not awarded to the winning party unless the Tribunals decide that a claim was either vexatious or frivolous.

Preparing for the Hearing

Seeking Legal Advice

If you are unsure of your legal rights and legal position, you should seek your own legal advice. The Tribunals and its staff cannot render any advice to a claimant as it must remain impartial to all parties at all times. You may wish to consider approaching the following for free or subsidised legal advice:

Parties may wish seek their lawyers' advice on whether a matter should be settled or proceed for Hearing.

Submissions for Hearing (Optional)

For claims filed before 10 July 2017 (manually):

Prior to the Hearing, you may wish to prepare a chronology of events with supporting documents enclosed. Each page of the bundle should be numbered consecutively and each piece of evidence should be referenced in the chronology itself. A sample template may be found here.

Once the submissions have been prepared, you may make 3 copies – 1 for the Referee, 1 for yourself, and 1 for exchange with the opposing party. The Submissions for Hearing will only be exchanged if both parties are willing to exchange it.

For claims filed on or after 10 July 2017 (via CJTS):

Prior to the Hearing, you will have the option of completing the e-service "Submissions for Hearing" on CJTS. This online form allows you to prepare a chronology of relevant events and may assist with presenting a clear and coherent case for the Referee. The Referee will also be able to read these submissions in advance.

If both parties submit the Submissions for Hearing, the submissions will be given to the Referee and to the opposing party so each party is aware of the case against him. If only one party submits this e-service, the document will only be made available to the party who submitted the e-service as well as the Referee.

Witnesses

If you have any witness to give evidence on your behalf at the hearing, please ensure he or she attends at the Tribunals on the Hearing date and is present when asked to testify. 

You must inform the Referee at the Hearing, of your intended witnesses and request that they be allowed to give evidence.

Your witnesses must be able to give relevant details relating to the claim. They would may be required to take an oath/affirmation of truth before the Referee before testifying.

Compelling a witness to attend Court. If your witness is reluctant or refuses to attend Court, you may apply to the Tribunals for a Summons to Witness to be issued. The application must be made at the time when the Notice of Hearing is served on you. For claims filed on or after 10 July 2017 (CJTS), you may login to CJTS to file an e-service for "Summons to Witness" at the earliest opportunity. The application is subject to approval of the Tribunals.

Interpreters

If you or your witness requires interpretation services, you should inform the Tribunals at the earliest opportunity. The State Courts will provide free interpretation services for the following languages:

  • Mandarin, Hokkien and other local Chinese dialects
  • Tamil
  • Malay

For any other language(s) or special needs requiring interpretation services, please make your own arrangements at your own costs.

What should I bring?

For claims filed before 10 July 2017 (manually):

  • Identification documents.
  • ACRA Business Profile. For business entities, copies of the ACRA business profile (obtained within 1 month from the date of filing) must be furnished. Obtaining an instant information business search (business profile). The ACRA business profile can be purchased online at www.bizfile.gov.sg (> Purchase of Information > Instant Information > Business Profile) or at any ACRA-accredited service providers, such as CrimsonLogic Pte. Ltd.
    Letter of Authorisation. If you are attending the Hearing on behalf of a company or other entity, a letter of authorisation on the entity's letterhead is required for each attendance at Consultation and/or Hearing.
  • Translations. All documents not in the English language must be accompanied by a certified English translation made by a professional translator.
  • Memorandum of Consent, if any. For claims exceeding $10,000 but below $20,000, a Memorandum of Consent signed by both parties is required.
  • Evidence of service. Examples include: the registered post slip, a courier slip, or a signed statement in writing by the claimant stating the date, time and how the documents were served on the respondent.

For claims filed on or after 10 July 2017 (via CJTS):

  • Identification documents.
  • Originals of all the document(s) uploaded onto CJTS, as the Tribunals may ask for them to be produced for verification. See here for a list of the documents to be uploaded on CJTS.

Who may represent me at the Hearing?

  • Lawyers are not allowed to represent any of the parties in proceedings before the Tribunals.
  • Sole proprietors and individuals who are claimants or respondents must attend in person.
  • Companies can only be represented by one of their directors or their full time employees. A partnership can be represented by one of its partners or full time employee.
  • If an authorised representative is appointed to represent a company or partnership, the authorised representative will be taken to have been mandated and authorised with the following and is familiar with the facts of the case:
    1. Present the case to the Referee clearly, correctly and concisely and bind the one he is representing by what he says and does.
    2. Produce to the Referee all relevant documents (e.g. contracts, letters between the parties) supporting the case; and
    3. Can decide to settle the claim if solutions proposed are acceptable.
  • A person who is, in the opinion of the Tribunal, unable to present his own case by reason of old age, illiteracy or infirmity of mind or body, mind or body, may be represented by a person who is duly authorised by him in writing or who is approved by the Tribunal.
  • For claims filed before 10 July 2017 (manually): a party may fill out this application to be an authorised representative to present the case and submit it to the Registrar during the Consultation.
  • For claims filed on or after 10 July 2017 (CJTS): a party may apply for representation by logging on to CJTS and choosing the e-service "Application for Representative". The application is subject to the Tribunal's approval.

The Hearing Day

Be properly attired. No shorts or slippers are allowed in Court.

At the Tribunals' waiting area, take a Queue number for Hearing from the Queue machine. Wait for your Q number to be called and proceed to the Referee's Hearing chambers.

The Hearing will be conducted in private. During the Hearing, both parties will have a chance to present their cases to the Referee. The Referee will decide whether or not to call witnesses to give evidence.

The Referee will make a decision on the merits of the case and in accordance with the law. At the end of the Hearing, the Referee may make:

  • A Money order
  • A Work order
  • A Work order with an alternative Money Order
  • Any other order or direction as it deems fit.

The Referee may call for further Hearing dates or may give judgment at a later date.

An order by the Referee binding on the parties and enforceable as an order of the Magistrate's Court.

Costs are not awarded to the winning party, unless the Tribunals decide that a claim was either vexatious or frivolous.

For more information about attending a Hearing, please refer to:

ABCs of Hearings Before a Referee

Brochure 2: Main Stages of a Small Claims Tribunals Case

Last updated on: 10/7/2017 11:44 AM

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