SIGNIFICANT DECISIONS OF THE COURT OF APPEAL AND THE COURT OF 3 JUDGES | ELECTRONIC PRACTICE DIRECTIONS AND ELECTRONIC RULES OF COURT | NEW AMENDMENTS TO THE PRACTICE DIRECTIONS AND RULES OF COURT
NEW AMENDMENTS TO THE PRACTICE DIRECTIONS AND RULES OF COURT
In 2010, three amendments to the Supreme Court Practice Directions (“the Practice Directions”) and a number of significant amendments to the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5, 2006 Rev Ed) were made.
Practice Directions Amendment No. 1 of 2010 introduced the strict prohibition of video and image recording devices in all hearings in open court and chambers from 15 May 2010. It also prohibited any communication with external parties during a hearing and the audio recording of a hearing without the prior approval of the Judge or Registrar presiding over the matter. This was followed, on 7 July 2010, by Practice Directions Amendment No. 2 of 2010, which introduced an improved ‘Request for Record of Hearing’ form to provide clarity as to the information that is required for requests for
records of hearings. Practice Directions Amendment No. 3 of 2010, which took effect on 23 July 2010, added applications to the High Court under provisions of the Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158, 2009 Rev Ed) to the list of applications made by originating summons that should be heard in open court rather than in chambers.
Amendments made to the Rules of Court were gazetted on 22 January 2010, 9 July 2010, 9 September 2010 and 26 November 2010. Some of the amendments were necessitated by amendments to the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap 322, 2007 Rev Ed) and the Subordinate Courts Act (Cap 321, 2007 Rev Ed).
The amendments resulted in four new Orders being enacted. Three of these – the new Orders 98, 99 and 100 – provided the relevant procedures for making an application to the High Court under the Income Tax Act (Cap 134, 2008 Rev Ed), the Mental Capacity Act (Cap 177A, 2010 Rev Ed) and the Land Titles (Strata) Act (Cap 158, 2009 Rev Ed).
The fourth – the new Order 101 – set out the procedure for the Singapore courts to refer questions of foreign law to the New South Wales courts and vice versa. This was to give effect to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Supreme Courts of Singapore and New South Wales on dealing expeditiously with issues relating to foreign law.
Other significant amendments would include the amendments to Orders 14 and 91. Order 14 now allows the court to make an order for costs to the defendant within the existing costs scale if unconditional leave to defend an action is granted in a summary judgment application or if the summary judgment application is dismissed, while Order 91 now allows the Registrar to exempt parties from paying fees and to furnish security for costs in civil cases where the cause or matter relates to criminal proceedings affecting the life or liberty of a party.
Since the introduction of the e-PD and the e-ROC, the Supreme Court has been capturing all amendments to the Practice Directions and the Rules of Court online and in real time.