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The Small Claims Tribunals (Tribunals) are part of the State Courts of Singapore. The Tribunals were established on the 1 February 1985 to provide a quick and inexpensive forum for the resolution of small claims between consumers and suppliers.
Jurisdiction of the Small Claims Tribunals
The Tribunals have jurisdiction to hear claims not exceeding $10,000. Therefore, a claim cannot be split or divided to bring it within the Tribunals' jurisdiction. Where the Claimant and the Respondent consent in writing, the jurisdiction can be raised to $20,000 (Memorandum of Consent).
For the identification of the categories of the claims, reference can be made to the checklist.All claims must be filed at the Small Claims Tribunals within one year from the date on which the cause of action accrued.
Do not worry if your claim is discontinued. It does not mean that you have 'lost' your case. The decision to discontinue is never based on how strong or weak your claim is. In most cases, you can still sue your opponent in the civil courts. Please consult a lawyer for more advice on what claims can be brought before the civil courts.
Filing a claim in the Tribunals
The procedure for bringing a claim in the Tribunals is very simple. Lawyers are not permitted to represent any of the parties in proceedings before the Tribunals. Unless the Tribunals decide that a claim is either vexatious or frivolous, costs are not awarded to the winning party. To file a claim at the Tribunals, a party is required to pay a lodgment fee. The applicable lodgment fees are as follows:
After a claim is lodged or filed, the Tribunals will fix the claim for a consultation/mediation before the Registrar. The Tribunals will generally fix the consultation/mediation within 10 or within 14 days from the date of filing of the claim. If a claim is not settled at the consultation before the Registrar, it will generally be fixed for hearing within 7 or within 10 days from the date of consultation.
For a tourist claim, the Tribunals may fix both the consultation/mediation and the hearing within 24 hours of filing of the claim.
The Tribunals employ mediation extensively in their proceedings. At the consultation before the Registrar, the Registrar will mediate the claim, to assist parties in resolving the dispute. If the claim is fixed for Hearing before the Referee, the Referee may also explore the possibility of settlement, before adjudicating the claim.
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