Service Convention to enter into force for Singapore on 1 December 2023
24 Nov 2023 Posted in Announcements
- The Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, or “Service Convention”, will enter into force for Singapore on 1 December 2023. On the same day, amendments to the Rules of Court 2021 (“ROC 2021”), the Singapore International Commercial Court Rules 2021 (“SICC Rules 2021”) and the Family Justice Rules 2014 (“FJR 2014”) will come into operation.
- The Service Convention simplifies and streamlines processes for service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil and commercial matters across borders. It provides a main channel of transmission between Contracting Parties, where documents to be served can be forwarded by a competent authority or judicial officer of the sending Contracting State to the designated central authority of the receiving Contracting State, without having to go through diplomatic or consular authorities. The Service Convention preserves flexibility to use alternative channels, to the extent permitted by the receiving Contracting State. The text of the Service Convention can be found in the Annex. Further information on the Service Convention may be found on the Hague Conference on Private International Law’s website at this link.
- Where the Service Convention applies, the options for service of Singapore documents out of Singapore, and for service of foreign documents in Singapore, are summarised below.
Applicability of the Service Convention
- The Service Convention will apply in all cases, in civil or commercial matters, where there is occasion to transmit a judicial or extrajudicial document for service abroad in a Contracting State, and where the address of the person to be served is known.
- The Service Convention will apply to all cases of service falling within its scope and arising on and after 1 December 2023, regardless of when the proceedings were instituted. For service out of Singapore in proceedings to which the revoked Rules of Court (Cap. 322, R 5) apply, the Singapore courts may direct that the relevant rules in the ROC 2021 implementing the Service Convention are to apply to those proceedings.
- Where both the Service Convention and another civil procedure convention are applicable, the relevant party may elect to use either convention.1
Service out of Singapore where the Service Convention applies
- Where the Service Convention applies, or is invoked where both the Service Convention and another civil procedure convention apply, service of judicial documents out of Singapore may be effected through one of the following channels:
(a) The main transmission channel under the Service Convention, which will, in brief, involve the following steps:
(i) The following documents must be filed, in duplicate:
(1) A request for service in Part 1 of the Model Form annexed to the Service Convention;
(2) A sealed copy of the document to be served;
(3) A summary of the document to be served, in accordance with Part 3 of the Model Form;
(4) A translation of the documents referred to in (2) and (3) above, in the official language of the foreign country (except where one of the official languages is English) with the translations certified by a person qualified to do so;
(ii) The Registrar will send the documents filed as stated above to the central authority of the Contracting State in which the documents are to be served.
- The above applies except where service is on a foreign State. Service out on a foreign State that is a Contracting State will remain governed by the relevant existing procedures; additionally, the request must be accompanied by a summary of the document to be served, in accordance with Part 3 of the Model Form. The existing rules governing payment of expenses of service by the serving party will continue to apply.
Service of foreign documents in Singapore where the Service Convention applies
- Where the Service Convention applies, or is invoked where both the Service Convention and another civil procedure convention apply, service of foreign judicial and extrajudicial documents in Singapore may be effected only through (a) the main transmission channel under the Service Convention, or (b) if there are exceptional circumstances, the indirect diplomatic channel referred to in Article 9 paragraph 2 of the Service Convention.4
- Where the main transmission channel is used, the documents required by the Service Convention must be sent by the competent authority or judicial officer of the sending Contracting State to the Ministry of Law, which is Singapore’s designated central authority under the Service Convention. In addition, where a request for service of foreign judicial documents in Singapore is made, a sum of $100 (Singapore dollars) in respect of each address for service must be paid in advance, at the same time the request is made, for purposes of paying the costs occasioned by the employment of a process server.
MINISTRY OF LAW
24 NOVEMBER 2023
1. See the Third Schedule of the ROC 2021 for a list of the applicable civil procedure conventions.↩
2. The objections made by Contracting States to transmission channels for service abroad may be found in the declarations they have made in respect of Articles 8 and 10 of the Service Convention. Information on the objections and declarations may be found in the Service Section of the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, and in particular, here, and here. ↩
3. The existing channels for service out of Singapore are as set out in Order 8, Rule 2(1)(a), (c)-(f) of the ROC 2021, and their equivalent provisions in the SICC Rules 2021 and FJR 2014.↩
4. In accordance with Article 8, paragraph 2 of the Service Convention, Singapore has declared that it is opposed to the direct service of judicial documents upon persons within its territory through foreign diplomatic or consular agents, unless the documents are to be served upon a national of the State from which the documents originate. Singapore has also declared that it objects to the service of judicial and extrajudicial documents within its territory by the methods of transmission set out in Article 10 of the Service Convention, namely: (a) postal channels; (b) direct communication between judicial officers, officials or other competent persons of the State of Origin and the State of Destination, and (c) direct communication between a person interested in a judicial proceeding and a judicial officer, official or other competent persons of the State of Destination.↩
Last updated on 24 November 2023