What makes a proceeding in the CDRT different from normal Court proceedings?

1.      A party to proceedings in the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals (CDRT) must present his or her own case.

2.      Lawyers are not allowed to represent a party to the proceedings. The only exception is when all parties to the proceedings agree for a party to be represented by a lawyer and the CDRT gives permission upon approval of the Application for Representation.

3.      A party to the proceedings may be represented by another person in only the following situations, provided that the CDRT is satisfied that the person has sufficient knowledge of the case and sufficient authority to bind the party whom he represents:


Who can represent the party?

The party is below 21 years old; and

The CDRT is of the opinion that he is unable to present his own case.

  • The party's parent;

  • The party's guardian; or

  • A person who is approved by the CDRT.

The party is not living in Singapore; and

The party is unable to remain in Singapore until the hearing of the case.

A person who is:

  • authorised in writing by the party; and

  • approved by the CDRT.

The party who, in the opinion of the CDRT, is unable to present his own case because he is:

  • old;
  • illiterate;
  • mentally ill; or
  • physically ill.

A person who is:

  • authorised in writing by the party; or
  • approved by the CDRT.

4.      All proceedings are heard in camera. This means that only the parties to the proceedings and the witnesses who have been called to give evidence in the proceedings are allowed to be present during the proceedings. Media personnel, members of the public, as well as immediate family members who are not parties to the proceedings and are not called to give evidence in the proceedings are generally not allowed to be present. However, the CDRT may permit any prescribed individual, any individual belonging to a prescribed class of individuals, or any other individual that the CDRT deems fit to observe the hearing of a claim.

5.      Unrepresented litigants-in-person may apply under the Community Justice and Tribunals Division (CJTD) Friend Scheme to be assisted in proceedings before the CDRT or the Registrar by a family member, friend, or a volunteer from the Community Justice Centre or other pro bono agency / entity. This request to be accompanied by a CJTD Friend is subject to the approval of the tribunal or the Registrar. If you wish to make an application under the CJTD Friend Scheme, you may find out more details here.

6.      At any point during the proceedings, the CDRT can order parties to the proceedings to attend mediation at the Community Mediation Centre or before any other mediator.

7.      A party who fails to comply with the order to attend mediation commits contempt of court. The court may take the following actions against the party:

  • Send the party to prison for up to 6 months;

  • Fine the party up to $2,000;

  • Send the party to prison for up to 6 months and fine him up to $2,000; or

  • Refer the party to the Public Prosecutor to bring criminal proceedings against him.

8.      The CDRT is not bound by the rules of evidence but may inform itself on any matter in such manner as it thinks fit.

9.      Documents that are used in the CDRT proceedings can be served on the other party in the following ways:

Personal service

Handing the documents to the party to be served

Leaving at the residential address

Leaving the documents at the residential address of the party to be served

Regular post to the residential address


Posting the documents to the residential address of the party to be served

As agreed between parties


In a manner that is agreed between the parties to the proceedings

As directed by the CDRT


In a manner that is directed by the CDRT

10.      Where any party to the proceedings does not attend the proceedings, the CDRT may proceed with the hearing in the absence of that party and make any orders that the CDRT thinks fit, including dismissing the Claim or entering judgment for or against either party.

11.      For a list of some of the fees payable during the course of a claim filed at the CDRT, click here.

Last updated on: 13/11/2019 2:50 PM


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