15 February 2022 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Dr Tan Wu Meng (Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC)
To ask the Minister for Law from 2019 to 2021 annually (a) how many family law cases involved litigants-in-person (LIPs), broken down by gender and education level; (b) what proportion of these LIPs had previously attempted to seek legal aid; (c) what reasons have been ascertained for these individuals appearing as LIPs; and (d) whether the Ministry studies such cases to ensure that justice continues to be accessible regardless of an individual’s personal circumstances.
- We do not track the information that the member has requested.
- Individuals may have a variety of reasons for choosing to self-represent in family proceedings.
- My Ministry works closely with the Judiciary and the Ministry of Social and Family Development to regularly review family law matters and proceedings and to ensure access to justice, regardless of individuals’ personal circumstances.
Over the years, we have implemented several measures to simplify proceedings, minimise protracted and costly disputes, and increase availability and accessibility of information surrounding the legal processes. These efforts have made it easier for litigants to represent themselves in family proceedings, if they wish to do so. Some of the initiatives include:
(a) Information on how to conduct family proceedings have been made widely available online. These include:
(i) the Singapore Courts’ website which provides information about various court applications, step-by-step instructions on some court procedures, and other useful preparatory resources to help litigants.
(ii) the Legal Aid Bureau’s Intelligent Legal Assistance Bot (iLAB) chatbot which provides basic legal information on family law issues and can generate simple legal documents.
(b) The simplified divorce track: Parties who agree on the divorce and ancillary matters prior to the filing of the action can obtain a divorce on a simplified case management track, saving time and cost for parties. Parties can navigate this process on their own, without the need to engage lawyers. The majority of the divorce cases are filed on the simplified track.
(c) Simple and cost-effective online filing system: The Integrated Family Application Management System (iFAMS) is an online case application and management system, developed by the Family Justice Courts (“FJC”) with LIPs in mind. iFAMS supports individuals in preparing maintenance, family violence, and simplified deputyship court applications using template forms, without having to engage a lawyer.
- We will continue to explore, together with our stakeholders, further efforts to ensure that justice continues to be accessible for all.
Last updated on 15 February 2022