Part VII – Proceedings under Part VII and VIII of Women’s Charter
23. Alternative dispute resolution
(1) Pursuant to section 26(9) of the Family Justice Act, the court may direct parties to attend mediation for maintenance matters or counseling for family violence matters to encourage and assist parties in reaching a resolution or to narrow the issues in contention.
(2) Parties must personally attend and be prepared to discuss their cases during the mediation or the counseling session. Parties in maintenance proceedings should bring the documents set out at paragraph 25 to facilitate discussion during the mediation.
(3) Mediation and counseling will be conducted on a without prejudice basis. All communications made in the course of these sessions will be treated in strict confidence and will not be admissible in any court. As such, the mediation notes will not be made available to the parties.
(4) If the dispute is not resolved at the session, the matter will be referred back to the Mentions Court before a District Judge who will give the necessary directions to enable the case to proceed to trial.
24. Pre-hearing matters
(1) The applicant and respondent in family violence and maintenance proceedings under Part VII and VIII of the Women’s Charter must inform the District Judge presiding over the Mentions Court of all relevant matters that may affect the hearing of the case including, but not limited to, the following matters:
a) Applications for discovery for maintenance cases;
b) Applications for stay of proceedings for maintenance cases;
c) Applications to strike out the whole or parts of affidavits which:-
(i) had been exchanged between the parties in the proceedings; or
(ii) where such affidavits had been used in other proceedings, are being referred to and intended to be used in the proceedings;
d) The number and identity of the witnesses that will be called to give evidence and who had agreed to give evidence for the party concerned;
e) Challenges to expert reports; and
f) Related proceedings which are pending in any Court including that of the Syariah Court.
(2) All applications under Part 5, Divisions 3 and 4 of the Family Justice Rules, other than for the main applications in family violence and maintenance proceedings and applications for discovery, shall be made via the portal of the electronic filing service known as the Integrated Family Application Management System (“IFAMS”) under “Other applications”.
(3) An application for discovery under rule 102(4) of the Family Justice Rules is to be made via the IFAMS portal under “Applications for discovery”.
(4) The applicant and respondent in family violence and maintenance proceedings are to make their own arrangements for the witnesses they intend to call to give evidence at the hearing of their application, including applying for a Summons to a Witness where necessary.
(5) An application by a party for a Summons to a Witness to give evidence must be made via the IFAMS portal under “Application for summons to give evidence”.
(6) The party applying for a Summons to a Witness to give evidence must provide the reasons for the application. Any application which does not comply with the directions in this part may be rejected. The approval of such applications shall be at the discretion of the Court.
25. Documents and affidavits in respect of maintenance proceedings under Part VIII of Women’s Charter (Cap. 353)
(1) The list of documents to be provided by each of the parties under rule 102 of the Family Justice Rules is as follows:
(a) for fresh applications for a maintenance order under section 69 or for the rescission or variation of a maintenance order under section 72 of the Women’s Charter:
(i) the party’s list of monthly expenses for himself or herself;
(ii) the party’s list of monthly expenses for the parties’ children;
(iii) documents and receipts to prove the monthly expenses;
(iv) documents to prove the parties’ respective debts;
(v) the party’s payslips and CPF statements for the last 6 months;
(vi) the party’s evidence of employment (eg. employer’s letter or employment contract);
(vii) the party’s Notice of Assessment of Income for the past 3 years;
(viii) the party’s updated bank passbooks and / or updated bank statements (including sole and joint accounts); and
(ix) the party’s bank deposit slips to show payment / non-payment of maintenance.
(b) for applications to enforce a maintenance order under section 71 of the Women’s Charter:
(i) the computation of arrears of maintenance;
(ii) the parties’ updated bank passbooks and / or updated bank statements (especially for the period when the maintenance was not paid);
(iii) the respondent’s list of monthly expenses for himself or herself;
(iv) the respondent’s list of monthly expenses for the parties’ children;
(v) the respondent’s documents and receipts to prove the monthly expenses;
(vi) the respondent’s documents to prove their respective debts;
(vii) the respondent’s payslips and CPF statements for the last 6 months;
(viii) the respondent’s evidence of employment (e.g. employer’s letter or employment contract); and
(ix) the respondent’s Notice of Assessment of Income for the past 3 years.
(2) Affidavits to be filed under rules 100 and 114 of the Family Justice Rules should contain only facts relevant to the application and shall, as far as possible, be in Form 209 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions. Parties may depart from the standard form to meet their case as necessary.
(3) The Court may, in its discretion, allow an unsworn statement prepared in accordance with the standard form, to be filed in lieu of an affidavit. Parties may depart from the standard form to meet their case as necessary.
25A. Appointment of Maintenance Record Officer
(1) In any maintenance proceedings, the Court may on its own motion, appoint a maintenance record officer pursuant to rule 114B of the Family Justice Rules.
(2) Upon the making of an order for the appointment of a maintenance record officer, unless the Court orders otherwise, the parties to the proceedings shall prepare an additional set of documents as set out in Paragraph 25 of these Practice Directions and such other documents as the Court may direct.
(3) The documents referred to in sub-paragraph (2) above shall be submitted to the Court prior to the hearing of the application and in accordance with such directions as the Court may give.
(4) Upon the appointment of the maintenance record officer, the officer shall contact the parties directly to make the necessary arrangements and appointments for the purpose of preparing a report under rule 114B(1) of the Family Justice Rules. The parties shall keep to the appointments to avoid any postponement of the hearing of the application.
(5) A request by a maintenance record officer under rule 114B(3) of the Family Justice Rules must be made in Form 209A of Appendix A of these Practice Directions and served on the party against whom production of the documents is sought and the other party.
(6) Unless the Court directs otherwise, a copy of the report under rule 114B(1) of the Family Justice Rules shall be prepared and be submitted to the Court and the parties not less than 7 working days before the hearing of the application.
(7) A party who intends to examine the maintenance record officer under rule 114B(6) of the Family Justice Rules shall give the officer and the Court a written request in Form 209B of Appendix A of these Practice Directions at least 5 working days before the date of hearing.
25B. Referral for assessment
Notwithstanding that an application under Part VIII of the Women’s Charter has not been made, an applicant may, with his consent, be referred by the Family Justice Courts Registry for an assessment to ascertain the financial circumstances of the applicant or the respondent or both prior to the making of such application.
26. Hearing of maintenance proceedings in chambers
(1) Maintenance proceedings may be adjourned to Chambers for the hearing of the application under the following conditions:
(a) Parties are legally represented;
(b) Parties consent to the application being hearing in chambers; and
(c) Parties had agreed that the matter can be heard without cross-examination of parties concerned.
(2) Notwithstanding the above, the Court may, if the Court deems it necessary, direct any party or witness to attend the hearing.
(3) Where both the applicant and respondent are unrepresented or only one is represented, the maintenance proceedings will be conducted as a trial in Court.