Written Answer by Minister for Law K Shanmugam to PQ on Measures to Ensure Fair Outcomes When Individual Respondents Face Claim From Corporate Entities At Small Claims Tribunal
09 Nov 2022 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Dr Tan Wu Meng (Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC)
To ask the Minister for Law (a) whether there have been studies conducted on the education background and English literacy levels of Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) respondents who are individual natural persons; and (b) what measures exist to ensure fair and equitable outcomes when an individual respondent is subject to a SCT claim from a corporate entity whose representatives have access to legal advice and administrative resources prior to the SCT proceedings.
- We are not aware of any studies on the educational background and English literacy levels of respondents in Small Claims Tribunal (SCT) cases, who are individual natural persons.
- The SCT processes are designed to achieve a fair and just outcome for all parties, regardless of whether they have access to legal advice and resources outside of the proceedings.
- First, legal representation is not allowed, and SCT proceedings are Judge-led. The Judge will guide the parties to issues or evidence that are relevant to the claim, even if these have not been raised by either party.
- Second, in limited cases, the SCT may allow a person to represent an individual party who is unable to present his or her own case, because the party is of old age, is illiterate, or has an infirmity of mind or body. The SCT may also allow a party who is presenting his own case to seek assistance from a family member, friend, or pro bono agency, to assist in the preparation and filing of documents relevant to the proceedings, provide emotional and moral support during the proceedings, or take notes of the proceedings and directions given by the SCT.
- Third, individual claimants or respondents who require legal assistance may approach the State Courts’ Community Justice Centre for free on-site legal advice, or seek assistance from other legal clinics, such as those organised by the Law Society Pro Bono Services, or community centres. Individuals may also visit the Judiciary website which contains a page with comprehensive information on the SCT. For those with specific queries on the SCT’s processes, they can call the State Courts’ general hotline number or visit the SCT Registry located at the State Courts where there are officers and student representatives on hand to render assistance.
Last updated on 09 November 2022