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Part XIX: Matrimonial Proceedings and Matters Relating To The Guardianship of Infants

138. Transfer of Matrimonial, Divorce and Guardianship of Infants Proceedings

(1) The Honourable the Chief Justice has made the following orders under section 28A of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Cap. 322):

(2) To improve efficiency in the administration of justice and to provide for speedier disposal of proceedings commenced in the High Court, pursuant to the 1996 Transfer Order:

(3) The transfer of family proceedings to the District Court can result in the District Court hearing family proceedings in which the value of the matrimonial assets concerned far exceeds the normal civil jurisdictional limit of the District Court. Further, to encourage the growth of family law jurisprudence, the 2003 Transfer Order and the 2005 Transfer Order provide that proceedings under Part X of the Women’s Charter, in which there is a contested application for the division of matrimonial assets asserted by any party to the proceedings to be worth a gross value of $1.5 million or more, shall be transferred from the District Court to the High Court to be heard and determined. This “transfer back” to the High Court based on the gross value of assets applied to proceedings under Part X of the Women’s Charter commenced on or after 15 December 2003.

(4) There can however be cases where the actual net value of the assets available for matrimonial distribution is in fact much lower than $1.5 million, because of existing liabilities such as an outstanding mortgage loan on the matrimonial property. In order to ensure that the High Court’s resources are utilised to deal only with those cases where the actual value of the matrimonial assets available for distribution is sufficiently high, the 2007 Transfer Order provides that the net value instead of the gross value shall be used to determine whether the proceedings should be transferred from the District Court to the High Court.

(5) The new jurisdictional threshold based on net value takes effect from 1 January 2008 and applies to proceedings under Part X of the Women’s Charter commenced on or after 15 December 2003. However, proceedings under Part X of the Women’s Charter which have already been transferred to the High Court based on the gross value threshold, pursuant to the 2003 Transfer Order or the 2005 Transfer Order, will not be affected and will remain in the High Court.

(6) Practitioners should pay particular attention to the requirement of leave to appeal in the relevant provisions of the 2007 Transfer Order.

(7) Practitioners are responsible for identifying the correct Transfer Order applicable to their case.

(8) Pursuant to the Family Justice Act 2014 (Act No. 27 of 2014), with effect from 1 October 2014, family proceedings shall be heard and determined by the Family Justice Courts. Notwithstanding this, any family proceedings commenced in or transferred to the High Court before 1 October 2014 shall, on and after that date, be continued in and dealt with by the High Court.

139. Transfer of Section 17A(2) Supreme Court of Judicature Act Proceedings

(1) In relation to proceedings which may be heard and determined by the High Court pursuant to section 17A(2) of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (referred to in this Part as “section 17A(2) proceedings”), the Honourable the Chief Justice has made the following orders under section 28A of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act:

(2) To improve efficiency in the administration of justice and to provide for more speedy disposal of proceedings commenced in the High Court, pursuant to the 1999 Transfer Order, all section 17A(2) proceedings shall be transferred to and be heard and determined by a District Court.

(3) The transfer of section 17A(2) proceedings to the District Court can result in the District Court hearing section 17A(2) proceedings in which the value of the matrimonial assets concerned far exceeds the normal civil jurisdictional limit of the District Court. Further, to encourage the growth of family law jurisprudence, the 2004 Transfer Order provides that section 17A(2) proceedings, in which there is a contested application for the division of matrimonial assets asserted by any party to the proceedings to be worth a gross value of $1.5 million or more, shall be transferred from the District Court to the High Court to be heard and determined. This “transfer back” to the High Court based on the gross value of assets applied to section 17A(2) proceedings commenced on or after 1 November 2004.

(4) There can however be cases where the actual net value of the assets available for matrimonial distribution is in fact much lower than $1.5 million, because of existing liabilities such as an outstanding mortgage loan on the matrimonial property. In order to ensure that the High Court’s resources are utilised to deal only with those cases where the actual value of the matrimonial assets available for distribution is sufficiently high, the 2007 Transfer Order for section 17A(2) proceedings provides that the net value instead of the gross value shall be used to determine whether the proceedings should be transferred from the District Court to the High Court.

(5) The new jurisdictional threshold based on net value takes effect from 1 January 2008 and applies to section 17A(2) proceedings commenced on or after 1 November 2004. However, section 17A(2) proceedings which have already been transferred to the High Court based on the gross value threshold, pursuant to the 2004 Transfer Order, will not be affected and will remain in the High Court.

(6) Practitioners should pay particular attention to the requirement of leave to appeal in the relevant provisions of the 2007 Transfer Order for section 17A(2) proceedings.

(7) Practitioners are responsible for identifying the correct Transfer Order applicable to their case.

(8) Pursuant to the Family Justice Act 2014, with effect from 1 October 2014, section 17A(2) proceedings shall be heard and determined by the Family Justice Courts. Notwithstanding this, any section 17A(2) proceedings commenced in or transferred to the High Court before 1 October 2014 shall, on and after that date, be continued in and dealt with by the High Court.

(1) All documents relating to family proceedings and section 17A(2) proceedings which are to be heard and determined by the High Court shall be filed at the Legal Registry of the Supreme Court. These include:

(2) Save for the documents listed in sub-paragraph (1), the Legal Registry will cease to accept the filing of the processes in relation to family proceedings with effect from 1 April 1996. These processes shall be filed at the sub-registry of the Supreme Court at the Family and Juvenile Court.

(3) For the avoidance of doubt, all documents relating to family proceedings that are filed at the Legal Registry shall bear the title “In the High Court of the Republic of Singapore”.

141. Forms of orders, including Mareva injunctions and search orders

(1) The format of all orders made in applications taken out in proceedings by way of writ of summons under Part X of the Women’s Charter (Cap. 353) on or after 1 April 2006 shall comply with Form 32 of Appendix A of the Family Justice Courts Practice Directions. Orders made in proceedings commenced by way of petition under Part X of the Women’s Charter shall comply with Form 24 of the Women’s Charter (Matrimonial Proceedings) Rules 2003 (S 167/2003).

(2) Paragraphs 41 and 42 shall be applicable to an application for a Mareva injunction and a search order. The orders of Court for such applications shall contain the text set out in Forms 6, 7 and 8 of Appendix A of these Practice Directions.

142. Appeals on ancillary matters in Divorce Proceedings, Custody Matters or Section 17A(2) Supreme Court of Judicature Act Proceedings from the Family Court to the High Court

(1) Appeals against final orders made by the District Judge in chambers on ancillary matters in divorce proceedings under the Women’s Charter (Cap. 353), custody proceedings under the Guardianship of Infants Act (Cap. 122), or section 17A(2) proceedings, which are filed before 1 October 2014, shall be heard and determined by the High Court and are governed by Order 55C of the Rules of Court. In practice, the District Judges furnish grounds of decision within 8 weeks of the filing of the notice of appeal although the furnishing of grounds of decision is not a requirement under the Rules of Court.

(2) To facilitate the conduct of appeal hearings before the Judge of the High Court in Chambers, parties are required to file the following documents prior to the appeal hearing:

(3) The submissions to be filed by parties shall set out as concisely as possible:

(4) The parties shall file together with their submissions a bundle of authorities relied on by the Court below as well as other authorities to be relied on at the hearing of the appeal and serve such bundle of authorities on the other party.

(5) The record of appeal shall consist of:

(6) The core bundle shall contain a copy of:

(7) If the respondent intends to refer to documents at the appeal that are not included in the core bundle filed by the appellant, the respondent shall file a supplemental core bundle that contains a copy of the documents, together with an index of the documents which shall cross-refer each document to its location in the record of appeal.

(8) The core bundle filed by the appellant shall not exceed 100 pages and the supplemental core bundle filed by the respondent shall not exceed 50 pages. In computing the number of pages, the copy of the order appealed from, the grounds of decision and the index of documents shall be excluded. The Judge of the High Court may take into consideration any failure to comply with this direction in deciding the costs to be awarded at the hearing of the appeal.

(9) The submissions, the record of appeal, the core bundle and the respondent’s core bundle shall be filed at the Registry of the State Courts.

(10) In order to assist the Judge hearing the appeal, the appellant and the respondent are to tender one hard copy of the record of appeal, submissions and the core bundle, where applicable, as well as any bundle of authorities to be relied upon to the Legal Registry of the Supreme Court not less than 5 working days before the hearing of the appeal.