What do you need to know about Legal Claims valued at $60,000 or Less

What do you need to know about Legal Claims valued at $60,000 or Less

Engaging a lawyer for court proceedings can be expensive. Whether you are suing someone or getting sued, the entire process is time-consuming and emotionally taxing as well. This is why the Singapore Courts have devised a way for cases to be managed when the claim value is under S$60,000.00. Such cases will be heard at the Magistrate’s Court in Singapore. Before going to trial, parties will need to attend a Case Management Conference.

What is a Case Management Conference (CMC)?

CMC gives parties the opportunity to resolve their matter quicker. During a CMC parties are allowed to discuss their proposals through their solicitors. This means that proposals to settle a matter are constantly being exchanged by the parties.

 

The main purpose of the CMC is to facilitate fast and easy resolution of disputes. There will also be less interlocutory applications, thus cutting down all of the time, money, and stress spent in litigation. By doing so, it steers parties away from unnecessary wasting of time and money on litigation and encourages them to consider resolving their matter without trial by using negotiations and/or alternative dispute resolutions (ADR). There are five key traits of the Magistrate Court Suit and they are as follows:

 

• Upfront disclosure of documents
• Early and robust case management by the Courts
• The use of mediation or ADR when necessary
• Simplified trial
• Curtailed interlocutory applications

Is worth negotiating at the CMC?

For example, if you are attempting to recover from someone the sum of S$50,000.00. When you attend the CMC, you can propose to the other party that you are willing to settle the matter for S$50,000.00 but over 10 installments. If the other party is agreeable, both of you can settle the matter and avoid trial. This allows you to save on any further legal costs if your matter had continued to trial.

 

We believe that sometimes it is important to keep your eye on the future, while you may walk away a longer period of time before you see full payment, you get to save on legal fees and all the emotional discomfort. You get to sleep easier knowing that your matter is finally resolved.

The Magistrate Court's procedure in Singapore

In Singapore, legal action typically begins when one person (Plaintiff) files the claim, called a Statement of Claim and a Writ of Summons. Then the other party (Defendant) would have eight days to file a Memorandum of Appearance to indicate that he or she wishes to defend his action. After Defendant files a Memorandum of Appearance, he will have fourteen days to file a defence.

 

In the 8 days after filing the Defence, the CMC date would then be made known to both the Plaintiff and the Defendant. This ensures that the matter is moved along without delay.

What happens before CMC?

Prior to the actual CMC, parties, or their lawyers, will exchange proposals on the basis to settle the matter amicably and, in the event that a settlement cannot be reached, parties will nominate their preferred mediation or ADR method. This assists the parties by making it known, at the early onset to each other, what the issues are at hand. If neither party is interested in resolving the matter, they move to the last resort, which is the simplified trial.

 

During the CMC, the Court will manage the case by encouraging both parties to cooperate in the conduct of the proceedings. It will assist parties to identify the issues at hand at an early stage. The Court will assist parties to settle the whole or part of the case (i.e. quantum, liability and costs amongst other matters). During each stage, the Judge will remind parties of the benefits of any steps proposed (interlocutory applications, directions for discovery as may be necessary) and the costs that will likely be incurred.

 

It is worth noting that the Court is not discouraging the litigant against pursuing his claim, but is constantly reminding him of the time and cost involved should the matter be pursued to trial. If the Court thinks fit, it will make orders and give directions to ensure that the case progresses expeditiously by dealing with issues such as the list of witness to be called for trial, the appointment of a single joint expert where appropriate, the exchange and filing of Affidavits of Evidence in Chief and setting the matter down for trial if the matter cannot be solved amicably.

Trials for Claims below S$60,000.00

In the case that you have to go to trial, directions will be given at the CMC for either a simplified trial or a full trial. The simplified trial is another feature of the simplified process. As of March 31st 2016, all cases coming under the simplified process have been assigned simplified trials. Simplified trials are conducted with limited time allocated for the difference stages of the trial as follows:

 

1. Evidence in Chief—10 minutes
2. Cross-examination (each witness)—60 minutes
3. Re-examination (each witness)—10 minutes
4. Closing submissions (each party)—30 minutes

 

The Court may extend the time limits where necessary. A firm approach is taken if any party seeks an extension of time and the party requesting for additional time must provide the Court with extenuating reason(s) before an extension is granted. In certain matters providing expert evidence may be necessary, to save time and cost a single expert will be appointed. The parties involved can then cross-examine the evidence provided by the expert if necessary.

 

The simplified process saves time and costs that would have been wasted should the matter have been pushed through to a full-length trial. Studies report that 83-84% of the parties involved in the CMC process agree that the CMC has facilitated in the earlier resolution of the cases. You, too, can satisfy your interests with the CMC.

How We Can Help

The mission of I.R.B. Law LLP is to offer everyone affordable means to legally settle their claims. As lawyers, we don’t want to see our clients struggling for a fair chance to prove or reclaim justice. Our oath is to direct them to the best means of achieving the best results for financial, mental, and emotional wellness.

 

We firmly believe that you need a lawyer who represents you and your interests well. Our experienced lawyers are not only well-versed in negotiation and the law but also well versed at establishing long-term relationships and trust with our clients. We will advise you on how you ought to settle your matters fairly so that you come out feeling content. We aim to resolve your matter expeditiously while keeping your costs low, we believe access to justice should not be hindered by high legal fees and jarring bill shocks.

 

Contact us at hello@irblaw.com.sg or call at +65 6589 8913 today should you require assistance.

 

The information contained in this article is provided for general information only and may not reflect current status about applicable law, cases, settlements or judgements. Nothing contained on this website or article is intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be construed as I.R.B Law LLP agreeing to provide legal services to you. You acknowledge and agree that your use of this website shall not create a lawyer-client relationship with I.R.B Law LLP.