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Part VI: Evidence - Witnesses, Affidavits and Exhibits

56. Witnesses

Issuance of subpoenas

(1) An application for a subpoena shall be made by way of filing a subpoena in Form 67 in Appendix A of the Rules of Court. The subpoena is deemed to be issued when it is sealed by an officer of the Registry pursuant to Order 38, Rule 14(2).

(2) The previous practice of filing a Request to issue a subpoena is discontinued.

Release of witness upon completion of evidence

(3) Every witness will be released by the Court upon completion of his evidence and it is the duty of counsel to apply to the Court if counsel desires the witness to remain.

57. Form of affidavits

(1) Affidavits shall have a blank margin not less than 35mm wide on all 4 sides of the page. They shall be printed or typed and double-spaced.

(2) When filing affidavits for use during a hearing of an interlocutory application, the number of the interlocutory application must be provided in the Electronic Filing Service in addition to the case number of the suit or matter.

(3) The textual portion of the affidavits, as opposed to the exhibits, must be printed on white paper.

(4) At the top right hand corner of the first page of every affidavit the following information shall be typed or printed in a single line:

(5) Every page of the affidavit (including separators and exhibits) shall be paginated consecutively, and the page number shall be inserted at the centre top of the page.

(6) Every affidavit which is filed in conjunction with a summons (but not those filed in conjunction with an originating summons) must have endorsed at the top left-hand corner of the first page of the affidavit the entered number of the summons.

(7) Hard copies of affidavits may be printed on one side or both sides of each page.

58. Non-documentary exhibits to affidavits

(1) Non-documentary exhibits (e.g., tapes, samples of merchandise, etc.) shall be clearly marked with the exhibit mark in such a manner that there is no likelihood of the exhibit being separated or misplaced. The affidavit should indicate that the exhibit (e.g., tapes, samples of merchandise, etc.) is a non-documentary exhibit and refer to it according to the relevant exhibit number.

(2) Where the exhibit consists of more than one item (e.g., CD-ROMs in a box) each and every such separate item of the exhibits shall similarly be separately marked with enough of the usual exhibit marks to ensure precise identification.

(3) Where it is impracticable to mark on the article itself, such article or the container thereof shall be tagged or labelled with the exhibit mark securely attached to the exhibit in such a manner that it is not easily removable.

(4) Very small non-documentary exhibits shall be enclosed or mounted in a sealed transparent container and tagged or labelled as aforesaid. An enlarged photograph showing the relevant characteristics of such exhibits shall, where applicable, be exhibited in the affidavit.

59. Documentary exhibits to affidavits

(1) Every page of every exhibit must be fully and clearly legible. Where necessary, magnified copies of the relevant pages should be inserted in appropriate places.

More than 10 documentary exhibits

(2) When there are more than 10 different documentary exhibits in an affidavit:

Pagination

(3) Every page of the exhibits, including cover pages, dividing sheets or separators between exhibits, shall be consecutively numbered at the top right hand corner of each page, following from the page numbers of the affidavit (i.e. the first page of the exhibits shall take the number following the last sheet of the affidavit’s main text). The page number of the affidavit must correspond to the page number in the Portable Document Format (PDF) version that is filed through the Electronic Filing Service.

Dividing sheets

(4) The exhibits in an affidavit shall be prefaced by a dividing sheet, marked, typed or stamped clearly with an exhibit mark as follows:

“This is the exhibit marked [letter of the alphabet or a number] referred to in the affidavit of [name of the deponent] and sworn/affirmed before me this [date on which the affidavit is sworn or affirmed].

Before me,

SGD

A Commissioner for Oaths”

Bookmarks

(5) Each exhibit in the affidavit must be separately bookmarked in the Portable Document Format (PDF) document that is filed. The names of the book-marks should follow the initials of the deponent of the affidavit, e.g., “TAK-1”, “TAK-2”.

Numbering

(6) Where a deponent deposes to more than one affidavit with exhibits in the same action, the numbering of the exhibits in all subsequent affidavits shall run consecutively throughout, and not begin again with each affidavit. For instance, where a deponent in his first affidavit has marked two exhibits as “TAK-1” and “TAK-2”, the first exhibit in his second affidavit should be marked as “TAK-3” instead of “TAK-1”.

References to exhibits in other affidavits

(7) Where a deponent wishes to refer to documents already exhibited to another deponent’s affidavit, he shall be required to exhibit them to his own affidavit pursuant to Order 41, Rule 11 of the Rules of Court, which provides as follows:

Related documents

(8) Related documents (e.g., correspondence and invoices) may be collected together and collectively exhibited as one exhibit arranged in chronological order, beginning with the earliest at the top, paginated in accordance with sub-paragraph (3) above, and the exhibit must have a front page showing the table of contents of the items in the exhibit.

60. Swearing or affirming of documents by deponents who are blind or illiterate in English

(1) Rule 8 of the Commissioners for Oaths Rules (Cap. 322, Rule 3) restricts advocates and solicitors who are appointed as commissioners for oaths to taking affidavits or statutory declarations, or administering oaths, for deponents who speak and understand English. In view of this, many deponents who are illiterate in English are brought by solicitors to Supreme Court commissioners for oaths to swear or affirm affidavits and statutory declarations. As the Supreme Court commissioners for oaths are under a duty to ensure that the deponent understands the document being deposed to, they are obliged to interpret the document to intended deponents; this is also the case in relation to blind deponents. This necessary exercise may take a considerable time and may cause long delays for other persons who wish to take affidavits or statutory declarations before the Supreme Court commissioners for oaths.

(2) Accordingly, solicitors who wish to bring illiterate or blind deponents before the Supreme Court commissioners for oaths should first estimate the time that will be taken to interpret the document or documents to be deposed to. If it is estimated that the total time required for interpretation of the documents will be more than 20 minutes, the solicitor must contact the appropriate Supreme Court Head Interpreter and arrange for a special appointment for the documents to be sworn or affirmed. The solicitor should not bring the deponent before the duty commissioner for oaths without such an appointment.

(3) If an illiterate or a blind deponent is brought before the duty Supreme Court commissioner for oaths and the interpretation of the document or documents takes more than 20 minutes, the commissioner for oaths will refer the solicitor and the deponent to the appropriate Head Interpreter for a special appointment to be made for the documents to be deposed to.

(4) The appropriate Supreme Court Head Interpreter may be contacted at the following telephone numbers:

61. Effect of non-compliance

Any affidavit or exhibit which does not comply with the directions contained in this Part will be liable to be rejected by the Court and made the subject of an order for costs.

62.Objections to the contents of affidavits of evidence-in-chief

(1) If, on an application for directions under Order 25, Rule 3 or Order 37, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court or otherwise, orders are made prescribing the time within which objection to the contents of affidavits of evidence-in-chief must be taken, the objections must be taken in accordance with the directions contained in this paragraph and not otherwise.

(2) Objections to the contents of affidavits of evidence-in-chief filed pursuant to an order of Court made under Order 25, Rule 3 or Order 37, Rule 1 or otherwise, must be taken by filing and serving a notice in Form 9 of Appendix A of these Practice Directions.

(3) The notice in Form 9 should set out all the objections to the contents of affidavits of evidence-in-chief that will be raised at the hearing of the cause or matter and all the grounds thereof.

(4) An adjudication on the material objected to in affidavits of evidence-in-chief filed pursuant to an order of Court should only be sought at the trial or hearing of the cause or matter for which the affidavits of evidence-in-chief were filed, and not before. If an adjudication is sought prior to the trial or hearing of the cause or matter, the application for the adjudication will be adjourned to be dealt with at the trial or hearing of the cause or matter, and the applicant may be ordered to pay the costs of the adjournment.

63. Order 41 of the Rules of Court

(1) For the avoidance of doubt, the provisions of Order 41 of the Rules of Court shall continue to apply.

(2) The attention of solicitors is drawn especially to Order 41, Rule 1(4):

Non-compliance with any of the requirements of Order 41, Rule 1(4) may result in an order of costs being made against the solicitor personally.

63A. Lead Counsel’s Statement on Trial Proceedings

(1) For every case proceeding to trial in the High Court, each party shall file and serve a Lead Counsel’s Statement in Form 9A of Appendix A of these Practice Directions to provide a list of issues for trial and an accurate estimation of the trial days needed after taking into account the time needed for the examination of each witness. The Lead Counsel’s Statement shall be filed and served within one week after objections to affidavits of evidence-in-chief are taken, unless the Court otherwise directs.