Supreme Court Practice Directions 2021

Part 10: Evidence – Witnesses, Affidavits and Exhibits

76. Witnesses

Issuance of orders to attend court

(1) A party requesting an order to attend court to be issued by the Registrar pursuant to Order 15, Rule 4(1) of the Rules of Court 2021 must file the order to attend court in the manner and form set out in Form 29 of Appendix A of these Practice Directions. An order to attend court is issued when it is sealed by an officer of the Registry.

(2) Where the issuance of an order to attend court is made under any written law for the purposes of a cause or matter that is not before the Court (e.g., before an arbitration tribunal or a disciplinary tribunal), the party must submit to the Registry 1 hard copy each of his or her Request and the order to attend court to be sealed. An order to attend court is issued when the hard copy is sealed by an officer of the Registry.

Release of witness upon completion of evidence

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

Request for Registrar to produce document or Court’s records

(4) A request to produce a document filed in Court or the Court’s records pursuant to Order 15, Rule 4(15) of the Rules of Court 2021 must be made in Form B12 of Appendix B of these Practice Directions.

(1) Any application for permission for any person outside Singapore to give evidence by live video link or live television link in any proceedings (other than proceedings in a criminal matter) must be made expeditiously and, in any case, unless the Court otherwise directs, not later than 8 weeks before the date of commencement of the hearing at which the person is to give evidence. The application may also contain a prayer for the issue of a letter of request, to the relevant authorities of a foreign jurisdiction, for permission for evidence to be given by live video or live television link by a person located in that jurisdiction, if the laws of that jurisdiction require the issue of such a letter of request.

(2) A party applying for permission for any person outside Singapore to give evidence by live video link or live television link must take note of the relevant legislation and requirements in force in the foreign country or territory where the person is giving evidence. Certain countries or territories may impose prohibitions against, restrictions on, or requirements to obtain permission for or relating to, the giving of evidence by a person in that country or territory for Court proceedings in a different country or territory. The party applying for permission must make all necessary enquiries, and take all necessary steps, to ensure that the foreign country or territory where the person is giving evidence raises no objection, to the giving of evidence in that country or territory for Court proceedings in Singapore. This may be done by any means that the party considers appropriate, including:

(3) An application for the issue of a letter of request, to the relevant authorities of a foreign jurisdiction, for permission for evidence to be given by live video link or live television link by a person located in that jurisdiction, if not contained in an application mentioned in sub- paragraph (1), must be made expeditiously and, in any case, unless the Court otherwise directs, not later than 8 weeks before the date of commencement of the hearing at which the person is to give evidence.

(4) To avoid doubt, the proceedings mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) include all civil proceedings involving the examination of any person.

78. Form of affidavits

(1) Affidavits must be in Form 31 of Appendix A of these Practice Directions. In addition to the requirements under Order 15, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court 2021, affidavits should comply with the following requirements:

  • (d) every page of the affidavit must be paginated consecutively, and the page number must be inserted at the centre top of each page of the affidavit other than the exhibits and separators. Exhibits and separators must be paginated in accordance with paragraph 80(3) below.
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    (2) When filing affidavits for use during a hearing of an interlocutory application, the summons 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) Every affidavit which is filed in conjunction with a summons must have endorsed at the top left hand corner of the first page of the affidavit the summons number.

    (4) Unless otherwise directed by the Court, hard copies of affidavits should be printed on both sides of each page.

    79. Non-documentary exhibits to affidavits

    (1) Non-documentary exhibits (e.g., CD-ROM, samples of merchandise, etc.) must 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 in question 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 exhibit must similarly be separately marked with the usual exhibit marks to ensure precise identification.

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

    (4) Very small non-documentary exhibits must be enclosed or mounted in a sealed transparent container and tagged or labelled as referred to in sub-paragraph (3) above. An enlarged photograph showing the relevant characteristics of such exhibits must, where applicable, be exhibited in the affidavit.

    80. 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, must be consecutively numbered at the top right hand corner of each page, following from the page numbers of the text of the affidavit (i.e., the first page of the exhibits must take the page number following the last sheet of the text of the affidavit). 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 must be prefaced by a dividing sheet, marked, typed or stamped clearly with an exhibit mark and including the certificate of the commissioner for oaths required under Order 15, Rule 27(5) of the Rules of Court 2021 as follows:

    “This is the exhibit marked [letter of the alphabet or a number] referred to in the affidavit of [name of the maker of the affidavit] and sworn/affirmed before me this [date on which the affidavit is 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 bookmarks should follow the initials of the maker of the affidavit, e.g., “TAK-1”, “TAK-2”.

    Numbering

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

    References to exhibits in text of affidavit

    (7) Where the text of an affidavit makes reference to a documentary exhibit, the page number(s) of the affidavit where the relevant portions of the documentary exhibit can be found should be set out alongside the number of the exhibit in question.

    References to exhibits in other affidavits

    (8) Where the maker of the affidavit wishes to refer to documents already exhibited to another person’s affidavit, he or she must exhibit them to his or her own affidavit pursuant to Order 15, Rule 27(1) to (3) of the Rules of Court 2021 which provide as follows:

    Related documents

    (9) 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 a table of contents of the items in the exhibit.

    (1) A remote communication technology mentioned in Order 15, Rule 22(1) of the Rules of Court 2021 must be capable of creating a live video link or live television link through which a commissioner for oaths is able to do all of the things mentioned in Order 15, Rule 22(3) of the Rules of Court 2021.

    (2) For the purposes of Order 15, Rule 22(2) of the Rules of Court 2021, the maker of the affidavit and the commissioner for oaths may sign the affidavit electronically by applying a security procedure that results in a secure electronic signature under section 18 of the Electronic Transactions Act 2010.

    (3) Where an affidavit is made pursuant to Order 15, Rule 22 of the Rules of Court 2021, the affidavit should be made, as far as possible, as if the maker of the affidavit were appearing before the commissioner for oaths in person, and the attestation must state that the affidavit was affirmed and signed in Singapore with the maker of the affidavit appearing before the commissioner for oaths through a live video link or live television link, or that the affidavit was signed by the maker of the affidavit and/or the commissioner for oaths electronically in Singapore, or both, as the case may be.

    82. Affirming of documents by persons who do not understand English, are illiterate or blind

    (1) Rule 8 of the Commissioners for Oaths Rules restricts solicitors who are appointed as commissioners for oaths to taking affidavits or statutory declarations, or administering oaths, for persons who speak and understand English, or, in the solicitor’s discretion, for persons who speak and understand a language or dialect other than English in which the solicitor is proficient.

    (2) As commissioners for oaths are under a duty to ensure that the maker of the affidavit understands the document being affirmed, where the maker of the affidavit is not able to understand English, is illiterate or blind, the commissioner for oaths is obliged to ensure that the following requirements under Order 15, Rule 24 of the Rules of Court 2021 are met:

    (3) Sub-paragraph (2) also applies to persons who do not understand English, are illiterate or are blind, and who are brought before a Supreme Court commissioner for oaths. In such a case, the necessary steps referred to in Order 15, Rule 24 of the Rules of Court 2021 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 commissioner for oaths.

    (4) Accordingly, solicitors who wish to bring such persons before the Supreme Court commissioner for oaths should first estimate the time that will be taken to interpret or read the documents to be affirmed. If it is estimated that the total time required for interpretation or reading of the documents will be more than 20 minutes, the solicitor must contact the appropriate Head Interpreter and arrange for a special appointment for the documents to be affirmed. The solicitor should not bring the intended maker of the affidavit before the Supreme Court commissioner for oaths without such an appointment.

    (5) If such a person is brought before the Supreme Court commissioner for oaths and the interpretation or reading of the documents takes more than 20 minutes, the commissioner for oaths will refer the solicitor and the intended maker of the affidavit to the appropriate Head Interpreter for a special appointment to be made for the documents to be affirmed.

    (6) The appropriate Head Interpreter may be contacted at the following telephone numbers:

    83. Effect of non-compliance

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

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

    (1) Objections to the contents of affidavits of evidence-in-chief under Order 15, Rule 16(6) of the Rules of Court 2021 must be taken by filing and serving a notice in Form B13 of Appendix B of these Practice Directions.

    (2) The notice in Form B13 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 of the objections.

    (3) 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.

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