Written Answer by Minister for Law K Shanmugam to PQ on Provision For Summary Determination And Disposal Of Vexatious Claims Under Supreme Court (Protection From Harassment) Rules 2021
29 Nov 2022 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Murali Pillai (Member of Parliament for Bukit Batok SMC)
To ask the Minister for Law whether the Supreme Court (Protection from Harassment) Rules 2021 may be amended to provide for summary determination and disposal of frivolous and vexatious claims by claimants without the need to notify the respondents to reduce the risk of the Protection from Harassment Court being used by claimants against respondents for collateral purposes.
- Claims filed under the Protection from Harassment Act can be made through simplified or standard proceedings.
- For claims filed through simplified proceedings, which form a significant majority of cases filed in the Protection from Harassment Court (PHC), the PHC has, at any time after a claim is filed, powers to make such orders and directions as it thinks fit for the just, expeditious and economic disposal of a case. The PHC therefore may, notwithstanding that the proceedings are already simplified, deal with a case which is frivolous, vexatious or otherwise an abuse of process in an appropriate way.
- For claims filed through standard proceedings, which form a small minority of cases filed in the PHC, the normal procedures provided for in the Rules of Court, such as striking out, are available.
- Further, in making a decision to award costs and disbursements, the PHC may take into account whether the claim was dismissed for being frivolous, vexatious or otherwise an abuse of process.
- As with civil disputes in general, the PHC will usually require the Respondent’s side of the story to determine whether the claim is indeed frivolous or vexatious.
- The General Division of the High Court (GDHC) is also empowered to, on application by the Attorney-General or any party to a claim, make restraint orders against a claimant who has repeatedly commenced actions that are totally without merit, to restrain such a claimant from commencing actions or applications. This provides another avenue for preventing frivolous or vexatious claims.
Last updated on 29 November 2022