UPDATE ON REVIEW OF STREAMLINED ENFORCEMENT FRAMEWORK FOR CIVIL JUDGMENTS
With the set-up of an increasing number of user-friendly tribunals such as Small Claims Tribunal, Maintenance of Parents Tribunal, Employment Claims Tribunal, Community Dispute Resolution Tribunals and Protection from Harassment Courts, lay people have much better access to justice in Singapore. In these tribunals, the procedures are made simple and there is no need for lawyers. One area of concern however is the enforceability of money judgments made against the losing party. It remains difficult for the winning party to obtain payment on a judgment from a losing party. I therefore sought an update from the Minister on his plans to make enforcement simpler and more streamlined. My PQ and Minister’s answer may be accessed below.
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Mr Murali Pillai asked the Minister for Law whether he can provide an update on the Ministry’s review of the civil enforcement framework to make enforcement of civil judgments simpler and more streamlined.
Mr K Shanmugam: My Ministry has been working on improving various aspects of the civil enforcement framework.
Most recently, the Rules of Court 2021, which came into operation on 1 April 2022, simplified the process which applies to the enforcement of civil judgments and orders. For example, where the judgment debt is not satisfied, the party seeking to enforce the order or judgment may now make a single application requesting one or more methods of enforcement. Previously, separate applications were required for different methods of enforcement.
We are currently working with the Ministry of Social and Family Development on a joint Bill to introduce enhancements to the maintenance enforcement regime. These enhancements are intended to make the enforcement of maintenance orders more efficient and effective, and to minimise repeat enforcement.
We are also working with the Courts to study possible changes to make the enforcement of civil judgments more effective, efficient, and simpler. These include the introduction of new powers to punish and deter non-compliance with Court orders in respect of both monetary and non-monetary judgments, and enhanced powers to track and trace the assets of the judgment debtor where the debtor fails to comply with the Court order.
We are engaging stakeholders, and refining our proposals based on their feedback. We will announce more details at a later date.