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A Guide to Singapore Courts

A Guide to Singapore Courts

Updated on Thursday 31st March 2022

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A-Guide-to-Singapore-CourtsThe judicial system in Singapore

The Singapore judicial system is based on the common law system and the full judicial power lies within the Supreme Court and the subordinate courts, according to the Constitution of the city-state. The judicial system has undergone various changes during the years. In 1969, Singapore abolished jury trials, while in 1992 the Criminal Procedure Code added an amendment allowing capital offences trials to be heard before one judge. In 2006, Singapore subordinate courts began a pilot scheme under which specialists judges are appointed to the Benches.

For more information about the changes brought to the legal system you can ask our Singapore lawyers.

The court system in Singapore

The court system in Singapore comprises the following courts:

  • - the Supreme Court that comprises the Court of Appeal and the High Court,
  • - the Subordinate Courts.

The Singapore Court of Appeal is the highest court and it hears both criminal and civil appeals coming from the High Court and the Subordinate Courts. The High Court in Singapore also hears both civil and criminal matters, but also acts as an appellate body and tries cases from the Subordinate Courts. Recently, to special courts were added to the High Courtthe Admiralty and the Intellectual Property Court, both specialized in arbitration matters. In these courts one can also hear personal injury cases

The Constitutional Tribunal in Singapore is part of the Supreme Court and hears matters referred by the Elected President only.

Subordinate Courts in Singapore

The Subordinate Courts in Singapore comprise the following:

  • - the District Courts,
  • - the Magistrate’s Courts,
  • - the Juvenile Courts,
  • - the Coroners Courts,
  • - the Small Claims Tribunals.

The District and Magistrates’ Courts hear matters related to contractual claims for debts, demands or damages in cases of accidents in Singapore. They are also imposed monetary limitations ranging from 60,000 S$ to 250,000 S$.

The Small Claims Tribunals provide swifter, cheaper and more informal procedures and have a monetary limit of 20,000 S$.

The Family or Juvenile Courts are specialized in custody, adoption, maintenance and divorce procedures in Singapore.

Other courts in Singapore

The Singapore judicial system is quite complex, few other small courts trying different violations such as the two night courts that try regulatory cases. One of the night courts deals with notices issued by the Housing Development Board and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, while the second night court deals with traffic violations. The Community Court deals with issues related to young offenders with ages between 16 to 18, family violence cases and neighborhood conflicts.  

You can contact our Singapore law firm for assistance in litigation matters.