A Tribunal Hearing takes place in chambers (in private) before a Tribunal. A Tribunal is presided over by a Tribunal Magistrate, 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 Tribunal Magistrate. The Tribunal Magistrate will decide whether or not to call witnesses to give evidence. The Tribunal Magistrate will make a decision on the merits of the case and in accordance with the law. At the end of the Hearing, the Tribunal Magistrate may make:
A Money order
- A Work order
- A Work order with a default Money order
- A Discontinuance order
- An order dismissing the whole or part of the claim
- A Costs order
- An order for delivery of vacant possession
An order by the Tribunal Magistrate is binding on all the parties to the claim.
An order of the Tribunals made on claims filed before 1 November 2019 may be enforced as though it was an order of a Magistrate's Court, while an order of the Tribunals made on claims filed on or after 1 November 2019 may be enforced as though it was an order of a District Court.
Preparing for the Hearing
Seeking Legal Advice
If you are unsure of your legal rights and obligations, you should seek independent 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 the following avenues for free or subsidised legal advice:
Parties may wish to seek legal advice on the merits of a particular claim and the options available to them.
Submissions for Hearing (Optional)
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 Tribunal Magistrate. The Tribunal Magistrate 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 Tribunal Magistrate 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 Tribunal Magistrate.
If you wish to call 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 Tribunal Magistrate at the Hearing of your intended witnesses and request that they be allowed to give evidence.
Your witnesses must give evidence on relevant facts relating to the claim. They would be required to take an oath/affirmation of truth before the Tribunal Magistrate before testifying.
Compelling a witness to attend Court. If your witness is reluctant or refuses to attend Court, 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.
If you or your witness requires interpretation services, you should inform the Tribunals at the earliest opportunity. The State Courts provides free interpretation services for the following languages:
For any other language(s) or special needs requiring interpretation services, please make your own arrangements at your own costs.
You may also apply under the Community Justice and Tribunals Division (CJTD) Friend Scheme for your family member, friend,
or a volunteer from the Community Justice Centre or pro bono agency / entity to
interpret spoken communications and/or written documents. This request to be
accompanied by a CJTD Friend to assist in interpretation 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.
What should I bring?
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.
Any other documents you want to rely on for the case, if they have not been uploaded on CJTS. Prepare at least 3 copies of all document(s) so that they can be provided to the Tribunal Magistrate and the other party.
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 a full-time employee or a Director, Chief Executive, Manager, Secretary, or other officer of similar authority. A partnership can be represented by a full-time employee or one of the partners.
- If an authorised representative is appointed to represent a company or partnership, the authorised representative will be taken to have been mandated and authorised to do the following:
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.A party may apply to be represented by a representative by logging on to CJTS and choosing the e-service "Application for Representative". The application is subject to the Tribunal's approval.
- Present the case to the Tribunal Magistrate clearly, correctly and concisely and bind the one he is representing by what he says and does.
- Produce to the Tribunal Magistrate all relevant documents (e.g. contracts, letters between the parties) supporting the case; and
- Decide to settle the claim if solutions proposed are acceptable.
Can I be accompanied by a family member, friend or other person at the CMC or a hearing?
Unrepresented litigants-in-person may apply under the CJTD Friend Scheme to be assisted in proceedings before the tribunal or the Registrar by a family member, friend, or a volunteer from the Community Justice Centre or other pro bono agency / entity. Please note that the CJTD Friend may not provide you with legal advice, manage your case or act as your agent when dealing with other parties, or address the tribunal or the Registrar during the CMC or at a hearing.
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.
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 Tribunal Magistrate's Hearing Room.
The Hearing will be conducted in private. During the Hearing, both parties will have a chance to present their cases to the Tribunal Magistrate. The Tribunal Magistrate will decide whether or not to call witnesses to give evidence.
The Tribunal Magistrate will make a decision on the merits of the case and in accordance with the law. At the end of the Hearing, the Tribunal Magistrate may make:
A Money order
A Work order
A Work order with an default Money order
A Discontinuance order
An order dismissing the whole or part of the claim
A Costs order
An order for delivery of vacant possession
The Tribunal Magistrate may call for further Hearing dates or may give judgment at a later date.
An order of the Tribunals made on claims filed before 1 November 2019 may be enforced as though it was an order of a Magistrate’s Court, while an order of the Tribunals made on claims filed on or after 1 November 2019 may be enforced as though it was an order of a District Court.
For more information about attending a Hearing, please refer to:
ABCs of Hearings Before a Tribunal Magistrate
Brochure 2: Main Stages of a Small Claims Tribunals Case