Family Justice Courts Practice Directions

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Part VIIA – Electronic Filing Service under Division 68A of Part 18 of the Family Justice Rules

26A. Application

(1) The Practice Directions in this Part apply only in relation to proceedings under rule 929A of the Family Justice Rules.

(2) All applications which have been specifically provided under rule 929A of the rules must be e-filed.

(3) Any application which is not e-filed in accordance with the directions contained in this Part may be rejected.

(4) The directions in this Part must be read in conjunction with Part 18 Division 68A of the Family Justice Rules.

26B. Establishment of Electronic Filing Service and appointment of network service provider

(1) In exercise of the powers conferred by rules 929C and 929D of the Family Justice Rules, the Registrar, with the approval of the Chief Justice, hereby establishes an Electronic Filing Service known as the Integrated Family Application Management System (“IFAMS”).

(2) IFAMS is accessible at:

(a) https://ifams.gov.sg for a party who acts in person or an advocate and solicitor appointed to act on a party’s behalf.

(b) https://ifams.gov.sg/FSA for individuals designated as authorised agents by any qualifying entity as defined in Rule 929B which are authorised users of the electronic filing system.

26C. Authorised users and authorised agents

(1) Under rule 929E(1) of the Family Justice Rules, any individual may access IFAMS as an authorised user using his Singapore Personal Access (“SingPass”) ID. The identification code of an authorised user who is an individual shall be the authorised user’s SingPass ID.

(2) Under rule 929E(2) of the Family Justice Rules, the qualifying entities granted access to IFAMS as authorised users by the Registrar are as follow:

(a) Law firms and law corporations as defined in section 2 of the Legal Profession Act (Cap 161);

(b) Designated Family Service Centres (“FSCs”);

(c) Designated Divorce Support Specialist Agencies (“DSSAs”);

(d) Designated Family Violence Specialist Centres (“FVSCs”); and

(e) Such other entity as the Registrar may authorise from time to time.

(3) In the case of law firms and law corporations, only advocates and solicitors can be designated as authorised agents to access the electronic filing system.

(4) For the purpose of rule 929E of the Family Justice Rules, the identification code of an authorised user which is a qualifying entity or its authorised agent shall be the authorised user’s CorpPass ID or such other ID that may be issued by the Registrar to the authorised user.

(5) Authorised users shall be responsible for all transactions conducted and liable for all fees and charges incurred by any of their designated authorised agents in IFAMS.

26D. Electronic filing of written complaints

(1) All complaints are to be e-filed through the IFAMS portal. For the avoidance of doubt, the written complaints shall be e-filed in the following manner:

(a) Advocates and solicitors acting for complainants shall file a written complaint which complies with the requirements of rule 131B(1)(a) of the Family Justice Rules.

(b) Complainants acting in person who access the system as authorised users using their SingPass shall file a written complaint which complies with the requirements of rule 131BA(2)(a) of the Family Justice Rules.

(c) Written complaints filed by an authorised user described under paragraph 26C(2)(b) to (e) of these Practice Directions on behalf of a complainant shall comply with the requirements of rule 131BA(2)(b) of the Family Justice Rules.

26E. Documents

(1) All documents must be e-filed using the Portable Document Format (PDF).

(2) The proper document type must be selected and a clear and appropriate document description must be entered. The document description should not be abbreviated.

(3) It is not necessary for documents to have a cover page or backing sheet.

(4) Every page of a document must be paginated consecutively so that the pagination on the actual document corresponds with the pagination of the Portable Document Format (PDF) document in the electronic case file, and the page number must be inserted at the top right hand corner of the page.

(5) Under rule 929F(5) and rule 929F(6) of the Family Justice Rules, a party must file, before the commencement of the trial, an electronic reproduction of the document in IFAMS unless the Court allows the document to be tendered during the trial. For the purposes of these rules, the Mentions Court will determine whether a party should file the documents in IFAMS before the trial or otherwise.

26F. Documents which cannot be converted into electronic format

(1) If a document cannot be converted in whole or in part into an electronic format for any reason, the hard copy of the document must be tendered to the Court.

(2) A document which is not wholly converted into an electronic format without good reason may be rejected as the Court sees fit.

26G. Amendment of documents

Where a document is required to be amended, a fresh copy of the document must be produced and e-filed, regardless of the number and/or length of the amendments sought to be made.

26H. Limits on size and number of documents submitted using electronic filing service

(1) The following limits shall apply to the filing of documents:

(a) the total number of pages in a single document must not exceed 999; and

(b) the size of a single transmission must not exceed 4 mega-bytes.

(2) The resolution for scanning, unless otherwise directed by the Court, must be no more than 200 DPI.

(3) In the event that any party wishes to file documents which exceed the limits specified in sub-paragraph (1), he may make multiple submissions.

26I. Bundles of Authorities

(1) In all proceedings under this part, any party to the proceedings or his counsel shall submit their own bundle of authorities. In this regard, the following shall be complied with:

(a) The bundle of authorities to be prepared by each party should:

(i) contain all the authorities, cases, statutes, subsidiary legislation and any other materials relied on;

(ii) be properly bound with plastic ring binding or plastic spine thermal binding in accordance with the requirements set out in Paragraph 90(8)(c) of these Practice Directions;

(iii) be paginated consecutively at the top right hand corner of each page (for which purpose the pagination should commence on the first page of the first bundle and run sequentially to the last page of the last bundle); and

(iv) contain an index of the authorities in that bundle and be appropriately flagged for easy reference.

(b) Only authorities which are relevant or necessary for the trial shall be included in the bundles. No bundle of authorities is necessary in cases where parties are not relying on any authority at the trial. In cases where the Court is of the opinion that costs have been wasted by the inclusion of unnecessary authorities, the Court will have no hesitation in making a special order for costs against the relevant person.

(c) The bundle of authorities shall be submitted to the Court and served on all relevant parties at least 3 working days before trial.

(2) Bundles of authorities should not be filed electronically.

26J. Change of Solicitors

(1) A party must file through the IFAMS portal a notice of appointment of solicitor, a notice of change of solicitor, a notice of ceasing to act or a notice of intention to act in person, as the case may be.

(2) In the case of a solicitor who ceased to act for a party with that party’s consent, the solicitor must also file the party’s consent in Form 179A of Appendix A to these Practice Directions.

(3) Despite anything in Part 18 Division 69A of the Family Justice Rules or the filing of any of the applicable notices in this paragraph, parties may be directed by the Court to attend mediation or counselling at the first mention for any application under this part. Parties are therefore required to attend the first mention for any application, unless the Court otherwise directs that their presence is dispensed with.

(4) Where a solicitor files a notice of ceasing to act, he is to inform the client of the date and time of the next mention or hearing date and that the client is to attend Court for the said mention or hearing, as the case may be.

(5) The Director of Legal Aid or a solicitor assigned to act for an aided person under the Legal Aid and Advice Act (Cap. 160) need not file the notice of appointment or the notice of ceasing to act as the Grant of Aid or cancellation of Grant of Aid will be filed with the Family Justice Courts Registry.

26K. Request for Court Records

(1) An application for a copy of any part of the record of any proceedings by authorised users for a case registered in IFAMS or migrated to IFAMS must be made via the IFAMS portal under “Request for Court records”.

(2) An application for a copy of the document mentioned in paragraph (1) by an applicant who is not an authorised user must be made in Form 211 in Appendix A to these Practice Directions.

(3) The party making any of the aforementioned request shall provide the reasons for the request and documents in support of the request, where applicable. Any requests which does not comply with the directions in this part may be rejected. The approval of such requests shall be at the discretion of the Court.

(4) Upon approval of the request, parties will be notified of the outcome of the request or receive directions by the Court as the case may be, where appropriate.

(5) The applicant shall be allowed to collect the copy of the record of proceedings applied for only if the fees payable therefor, including any balance fee payable, have been fully paid by him.

26L. Other Requests

(1) The following requests relating to or in connection with proceedings under this part for a case registered via the IFAMS must be made via the IFAMS portal:

(a) Requests for permission to leave jurisdiction;

(b) Requests to cancel a warrant of arrest;

(c) Requests to change Court appointments;

(d) Requests to restore or reinstate a struck-off case; and/or

(e) Requests to withdraw an application.

(2) The party making any of the aforementioned requests should provide the reasons for the request and documents in support of the request, where applicable. Any request which does not comply with the directions in this part may be rejected. The approval of such requests shall be at the discretion of the Court.

(3) Upon consideration of the request by the Court, parties will be notified of the outcome or given directions by the Court as the case may be, where appropriate.

26M. Showing proof of payment

(1) Where an order for enforcement of maintenance arrears provides for a party to show proof of payment via the IFAMS portal, the party required to show proof of payment may do so via the IFAMS portal under “Show proof of payment of maintenance”.

(2) The Court will notify the party required to show proof of payment through either one or more of the following modes of communication - letter, electronic mail or mobile phone text message if the proof of payment is satisfactory. The notification of the Court’s acceptance of proof of payment will not be communicated orally over the telephone.

(3) If the proof of payment via IFAMS is for any reason unsatisfactory, the Court may reject the proof of payment and notify the party required to show proof of payment, by the modes of communication specified in sub-paragraph (2) above.

(4) For the avoidance of doubt, if the proof of payment via IFAMS is rejected, or if the party required to show proof of payment does not receive any notification from the Court exempting him from attending Court on the acceptance of the proof of payment, the party must attend personally at the Maintenance Mediation Chambers, Level 2 of the Family Justice Courts to show proof of payment on or before the date specified in the Order of Court.

26N. Payment in and Out of Court

Where an appeal is to be filed under Part 18 Division 59 of the rules against an order made for proceedings to which rule 929A applies, the application for payment in and out of Court of the security deposit is to be made via the IFAMS portal under “Payment of money into Court” or “Payment of money out of Court”, as the case may be.

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