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Contents  

Long Title

Part I PRELIMINARY

Part II THE SUPREME COURT

Part III THE HIGH COURT

General

Original Jurisdiction

Appellate Jurisdiction of the High Court

Supervisory and Revisionary Jurisdiction

Allocation of Proceedings

Further Arguments

Part IV THE COURT OF APPEAL

Part IVA CIVIL JURISDICTION OF COURT OF APPEAL

Part V

[42. to 60. Repealed by Act 15/2010 wef 02/01/2011]

Part VI OFFICERS AND OFFICES

Registrar

Sheriff

Accountant

Subordinate officers

Offices

Part VII MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

List of Touts

Disabilities of Registrar and other officers

Protection of Registrar and other officers

Rules of Court

Council of Judges

Supplemental

FIRST SCHEDULE Additional Powers of the High Court

SECOND SCHEDULE

THIRD SCHEDULE Orders Made by District Court or Magistrate’s Court That Are Non-appealable

FOURTH SCHEDULE Orders Made by Judge That Are Non-appealable

FIFTH SCHEDULE Orders Made by Judge That Are Appealable Only With Leave

Legislative History

Comparative Table

 
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Supreme Court of Judicature Act
(CHAPTER 322)

(Original Enactment: Act 24 of 1969)

REVISED EDITION 2007
(31st July 2007)
An Act relating to the constitution and powers of the superior courts of judicature.
[9th January 1970]
PART I
PRELIMINARY
Short title
1.  This Act may be cited as the Supreme Court of Judicature Act.
Interpretation
2.  In this Act, unless there is something repugnant in the subject matter or context —
“court” means a court established by this Act;
“Judge” means a Judge of the High Court and includes the Chief Justice and any person appointed to exercise the powers of a Judge;
“Judge of Appeal” includes the Chief Justice and a Judge of the High Court sitting as a judge of the Court of Appeal under section 29(3);
“Public Prosecutor” includes a Deputy Public Prosecutor;
“Registrar” means the Registrar of the Supreme Court and includes the Deputy Registrar and the Assistant Registrars;
“Rules of Court” means Rules of Court made under this Act and includes forms;
“seal” includes stamp;
“subordinate court” means a court constituted under the Subordinate Courts Act (Cap. 321) and any other court, tribunal or judicial or quasi-judicial body from the decisions of which under any written law there is a right of appeal to the Supreme Court.
[58/73; 16/93; 3/96]
PART II
THE SUPREME COURT
Divisions and jurisdiction of Supreme Court
3.  The Supreme Court shall be a superior court of record and shall consist of —
(a)
the High Court, which shall exercise original and appellate civil and criminal jurisdiction; and
(b)
the Court of Appeal, which shall exercise appellate civil and criminal jurisdiction.
[16/93]
Precedence
4.  The Judges of the Supreme Court shall take precedence in the following order:
(a)
the Chief Justice;
(b)
the vice-presidents of the Court of Appeal, who among themselves shall rank according to the priority of their respective appointments as vice-presidents;
(c)
the Judges of Appeal (other than vice-presidents), who among themselves shall rank according to the priority of their respective appointments; and
(d)
the Judges of the High Court, who among themselves shall rank according to the priority of their respective appointments.
[16/93]
Acting appointment
5.
—(1)  Whenever during any period, owing to illness or absence from Singapore or any other cause, the Chief Justice is unable to exercise the powers or perform the duties of his office, such powers shall be had and may be exercised and such duties shall be performed by the Judge having precedence next after the Chief Justice who is present in Singapore and able to act during that period.
(2)  For the purposes of this section, temporary absence in any part of Malaysia shall not be deemed to be absence from Singapore.
Seal
6.  The Supreme Court shall have and use as occasion may require a seal of such nature and pattern as the Chief Justice may, by notification in the Gazette1, prescribe.
1  Cap. 322, N 1 (1990 Ed.)
Contempt
7.
—(1)  The High Court and the Court of Appeal shall have power to punish for contempt of court.
[16/93]
(2)  Wilful disposal by a garnishee, otherwise than in accordance with law or by leave of the court, of any property attached in his hands or under his control by a notice of court, shall be deemed to be contempt.
(3)  Wilful disobedience by a corporation to any order punishable by attachment may be punished by attachment of the directors or other officers of the corporation who are responsible for, or are knowingly a party to, such wilful disobedience.
Sittings in camera
8.
—(1)  The place in which any court is held for the purpose of trying any cause or matter, civil or criminal, shall be deemed an open and public court to which the public generally may have access.
(2)  The court shall have power to hear any matter or proceedings or any part thereof in camera if the court is satisfied that it is expedient in the interests of justice, public safety, public security or propriety, or for other sufficient reason to do so.
(2A)  A court may, in any matter or proceeding or any part thereof tried or held or to be tried or held before it, if satisfied that it is expedient in the interests of justice, public safety, public security or propriety, or for other sufficient reason to do so, order that —
(a)
the name, address or photograph of any witness; or
(b)
any evidence or any other thing likely to lead to the identification of such witness by a person other than the party to that matter or proceeding,
which is contained in any court document intended to be produced before the court, be removed or be sufficiently redacted.
(3)  A court may at any time order that no person shall —
(a)
publish the name, address or photograph of any witness in any matter or proceeding or any part thereof tried or held or to be tried or held before it, or any evidence or any other thing likely to lead to the identification of any such witness; or
(b)
do any other act which is likely to lead to the identification of such a witness.
(4)  Any person who acts in contravention of any order under subsection (2A) or (3) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.
PART III
THE HIGH COURT
General
Constitution of High Court
9.  The High Court shall consist of —
(a)
the Chief Justice; and
(b)
the Judges of the High Court.
[16/93]
Proceedings in High Court to be disposed of by single Judge
10.
—(1)  Every proceeding in the High Court and all business arising thereout shall, except as otherwise provided by any written law for the time being in force, be heard and disposed of before a single Judge.
(2)  A Judge may, subject to Rules of Court, exercise in court or in chambers all or any part of the jurisdiction vested in the High Court, in all such causes and matters and in all such proceedings in any causes or matters as might immediately before 9th January 1970 have been heard in court or in chambers respectively by a single Judge, or as may be directed or authorised to be so heard by Rules of Court for the time being in force.
(3)  A Judge of Appeal may sit in the High Court and act as a Judge thereof whenever the business of the High Court so requires, in which case he shall have all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of such a Judge.
[16/93]
(4)  If a Judge reserves judgment in any proceedings and his appointment as a Judge expires or is terminated before his judgment is delivered, he shall have power to deliver judgment in respect of those proceedings, notwithstanding that his appointment as a Judge has expired or has been terminated.
[3/96]
Assessors to assist High Court
10A.
—(1)  In any proceedings before the High Court, the Court may, if it thinks fit on the application of any party, or on its own motion, summon to its assistance, in such manner as may be prescribed by Rules of Court, one or more persons of skill and experience in the matter to which the proceedings relate who may be willing to sit with the Court and act as assessors.
[16/93]
(2)  Subject to subsection (3), the remuneration of assessors for sitting under this section shall be at such rate as may be prescribed by Rules of Court and shall be costs in the proceedings unless otherwise ordered by the High Court.
[16/93]
(3)  Where one or more assessors are summoned for the purposes of this section otherwise than on the application of a party to the proceedings, the remuneration of any such assessor shall be payable out of moneys provided by Parliament.
[16/93]
(4)  Where any person is proposed to be summoned as an assessor, objection to him, either personally or in respect of his qualification, may be taken by any party in the prescribed manner.
[16/93]
When High Court is open
10B.
—(1)  Subject to subsection (2), the High Court shall sit on every day of the year except on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
[8/98; 2/2007]
(2)  Notwithstanding subsection (1), a Judge may lawfully sit on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday or during a vacation prescribed under section 12 if —
(a)
the Chief Justice has directed the Judge to sit on that day or during that vacation; or
(b)
in the opinion of the Judge, the business to be despatched is extremely urgent.
[8/98; 2/2007]
Sittings of High Court and distribution of business
11.
—(1)  The High Court shall sit at such times and at such places as the Chief Justice shall from time to time appoint.
(2)  The distribution of business among the several Judges shall be made in accordance with such directions, which may be of a general or a particular nature, as may be given by the Chief Justice.
Vacations
12.  The Chief Justice may make such regulations as he thinks fit as to vacations of the Supreme Court not exceeding 2 months in any calendar year.
Writs of execution
13.  A judgment of the High Court for the payment of money to any person or into court may be enforced by a writ, to be called a writ of seizure and sale, under which all the property, movable or immovable, of whatever description, of a judgment debtor may be seized, except —
(a)
the wearing apparel and bedding of the judgment debtor or his family, and the tools and implements of his trade, when the value of such apparel, bedding, tools and implements does not exceed $1,000;
(b)
tools of artisans, and, where the judgment debtor is an agriculturist, his implements of husbandry and such animals and seed-grain or produce as may in the opinion of the court be necessary to enable him to earn his livelihood as such;
(c)
the wages or salary of the judgment debtor;
(d)
any pension, gratuity or allowance granted by the Government; and
(e)
the share of the judgment debtor in a partnership, as to which the judgment creditor is entitled to proceed to obtain a charge under any provision of any written law relating to partnership.
[16/93]
Execution of deed or indorsement of negotiable instrument
14.
—(1)  If a judgment or order is for the execution of a deed, or signing of a document, or for the indorsement of a negotiable instrument, and the party ordered to execute, sign or indorse such instrument is absent, or neglects or refuses to do so, any party interested in having the same executed, signed or indorsed, may prepare a deed, or document, or indorsement of the instrument in accordance with the terms of the judgment or order, and tender the same to the court for execution upon the proper stamp, if any is required by law, and the signature thereof by the Registrar, by order of the court, shall have the same effect as the execution, signing or indorsement thereof by the party ordered to execute.
(2)  Nothing in this section shall be held to abridge the powers of the court to proceed by attachment against any person neglecting or refusing to execute, sign or indorse any such instrument.
Original Jurisdiction
Criminal jurisdiction
15.
—(1)  The High Court shall have jurisdiction to try all offences committed —
(a)
within Singapore;
(b)
on board any ship or aircraft registered in Singapore;
(c)
by any person who is a citizen of Singapore on the high seas or on any aircraft;
(d)
by any person on the high seas where the offence is piracy by the law of nations;
(e)
by any person within or outside Singapore where the offence is punishable under and by virtue of the provisions of the Hijacking of Aircraft and Protection of Aircraft and International Airports Act (Cap. 124) or the Maritime Offences Act (Cap. 170B); and
(f)
in any place or by any person if it is provided in any written law that the offence is triable in Singapore.
[10/78; 16/93; 26/2003]
(2)  The High Court may pass any sentence allowed by law.
Civil jurisdiction — general
16.
—(1)  The High Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and try any action in personam where —
(a)
the defendant is served with a writ of summons or any other originating process —
(i)
in Singapore in the manner prescribed by Rules of Court; or
(ii)
outside Singapore in the circumstances authorised by and in the manner prescribed by Rules of Court; or
(b)
the defendant submits to the jurisdiction of the High Court.
[16/93]
(2)  Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the High Court shall have such jurisdiction as is vested in it by any other written law.
[16/93]
Civil jurisdiction — specific
17.  Without prejudice to the generality of section 16, the civil jurisdiction of the High Court shall include —
(a)
jurisdiction under any written law relating to divorce and matrimonial causes;
(b)
jurisdiction under any written law relating to matters of admiralty;
(c)
jurisdiction under any written law relating to bankruptcy or to companies;
(d)
jurisdiction to appoint and control guardians of infants and generally over the persons and property of infants;
(e)
jurisdiction to appoint and control guardians and keepers of the persons and estates of idiots, mentally disordered persons and persons of unsound mind; and
(f)
jurisdiction to grant probates of wills and testaments, letters of administration of the estates of deceased persons and to alter or revoke such grants.
[16/93]
Civil jurisdiction — concurrent jurisdiction with Syariah Court in certain matters
17A.
—(1)  Notwithstanding sections 16 and 17, the High Court shall have no jurisdiction to hear and try any civil proceedings involving matters which come within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court under section 35(2)(a), (b) or (c) of the Administration of Muslim Law Act (Cap. 3) in which all the parties are Muslims or where the parties were married under the provisions of the Muslim law.
[20/99]
(2)  Notwithstanding that such matters come within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court under section 35(2)(d) or (e), 51 or 52(3)(c) or (d) of the Administration of Muslim Law Act, the High Court shall have jurisdiction as is vested in it by any written law to hear and try any civil proceedings involving matters relating to —
(a)
maintenance for any wife or child;
(b)
custody of any child; and
(c)
disposition or division of property on divorce.
[20/99]
(3)  Where civil proceedings involving any matter referred to in subsection (2)(b) or (c) and involving parties who are Muslims or were married under the provisions of the Muslim law are commenced in the High Court, the High Court shall stay the civil proceedings —
(a)
involving any matter referred to in subsection (2)(b) or (c), if the civil proceedings are commenced on or after the commencement of proceedings for divorce in the Syariah Court or after the making of a decree or order for divorce by the Syariah Court or on or after the registration of any divorce under section 102 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act (Cap. 3) between the same parties, unless a Syariah Court commencement certificate in respect of the civil proceedings has been filed with the High Court;
(b)
involving any matter referred to in subsection (2)(b), if proceedings for divorce are commenced in the Syariah Court or a decree or order for divorce is made by the Syariah Court or a divorce is registered under section 102 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act between the same parties after the commencement of the civil proceedings, unless a Syariah Court continuation certificate in respect of the civil proceedings has been filed with the High Court.
[20/99]
(3A)  For the purposes of subsection (3), any reference to the registration of any divorce, or to a divorce that is registered, under section 102 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act shall be construed as a reference to the registration of a divorce or to a divorce that is registered under that section before the date of commencement of section 24 of the Administration of Muslim Law (Amendment) Act 2008.
(4)  For the purposes of subsection (3), where the proceedings in the Syariah Court are commenced on the same day as the civil proceedings in the High Court, the proceedings in the Syariah Court shall be deemed to have been commenced before the civil proceedings.
[20/99]
(5)  Subsection (3)(a) shall not apply if the civil proceedings referred to therein are commenced in the High Court by the consent of the parties to the proceedings and the certificates of attendance of the parties issued under section 35A(7) of the Administration of Muslim Law Act have been filed in accordance with Rules of Court.
[20/99]
(6)  Subsection (3)(b) shall not apply if the civil proceedings referred to therein are continued by the consent of the parties to the proceedings and the certificates of attendance of the parties issued under section 35A(7) of the Administration of Muslim Law Act (Cap. 3) have been filed in accordance with Rules of Court.
[20/99]
(7)  For the avoidance of any doubt, the High Court, in exercising its jurisdiction or powers under subsection (2), shall apply the civil law.
[20/99]
(8)  Notwithstanding section 3(2) of the Women’s Charter (Cap. 353), section 112 of that Act shall apply to the High Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction or powers under subsection (2)(c).
[20/99]
(9)  In this section —
“Syariah Court” means the Syariah Court constituted under the Administration of Muslim Law Act;
“Syariah Court commencement certificate” means a commencement certificate issued by the Syariah Court under section 35A(4) of the Administration of Muslim Law Act;
“Syariah Court continuation certificate” means a continuation certificate issued by the Syariah Court under section 35A(4) of the Administration of Muslim Law Act.
[20/99]
Powers of High Court
18.