More in Singapore are appealing court decisions: a new High Court division now offers faster and cheaper appeals

The new system will make appeals more efficient.
The Straits Times
  • The number of appeals in Singapore has shot up by 56 per cent in 5 years, the law ministry said on Monday (Oct 7).

  • To help the Court of Appeal handle the workload, it is creating a new Apellate Division in Singapore’s High Court that will hear civil appeals.

  • The division will offer a cheaper and faster way of having cases cleared, subject to court approval.

  • To do this, both parties must be willing to have a panel of two judges consider written arguments, instead of the usual three judges and verbal arguments.

Singaporeans looking to appeal against court decisions can now do it quicker and cheaper, after the law ministry (MinLaw) announced plans on Monday (Oct 7) to change the High Court appeals system.

This will make appeals more efficient, it said.

Under a newly-tabled Bill, a new court division will be created to handle civil appeals, lightening the load for the Court of Appeal, which currently hears both civil and criminal cases.

MinLaw said the number of appeals spiked 56 per cent between 2013 and 2018, and cases were becoming more complex.

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Under the new system, the Court of Appeal will handle criminal appeals – including murder and rape cases – and civil cases involving constitutional laws, competition laws, contempt of court, patents, arbitration, fake news, personal data protection, maintenance of parents, Parliamentary and Presidential elections, and the closing down of a company.

It will also take appeals that could involve points of law of public importance, the ministry said.

All other appeals will go to the new Apellate Division, which will have its own dedicated judges.

Cases can also be transferred between the two, subject to approval.

Ministry of Law

Ministry of Law

Although filing and hearing fees will cost about the same, the Apellate Division offers a faster and cheaper option of having cases cleared if both parties are willing to have a panel of two judges consider written arguments (instead of the usual three judges and verbal arguments).

Those looking to appeal against an Apellete Division decision can submit their case again to the Court of Appeal, if the case raises points of law of public importance.

However, these cases “will be assessed keeping in view that the matter would have already been considered once on appeal,” MinLaw said.

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