It has been said that courts are like a beehive, in they are a place of constant activity and everyone is busy running around doing something important.
A small claims tribunal is no different and the small claims tribunal Singapore deals with many cases each and every day.
The Small Claims Tribunals (“Tribunals”) are part of the State Courts of Singapore. The Tribunals were established on the 1st of February 1985, to provide a quick and inexpensive forum for the resolution of small claims between consumers and suppliers.
Jurisdiction of the Small Claims Tribunal
The Tribunals have jurisdiction to hear claims not exceeding $10,000. Therefore if a claim is split or divided so as to bring it within the Tribunals’ jurisdiction, this is not allowed by The Small Claims Tribunals Act (SCTA).
Where the Claimant and the Respondent consent in writing, the jurisdiction can be raised to $20,000. All claims must be lodged or filed at the Small Claims Tribunals within one year from the date on which the cause of action accrued.
What work does the Tribunal do?
The small court tribunal Singapore deals with claims not exceeding $50,000. Although the Tribunal is a court, the rules and procedures are less strict than in most other courts, and no legal representation is allowed.
What is a “small claim?”
A “small claim” is a claim for money involving $50,000 or less.
The main types of claims handled by the Tribunal are:
debtsservice chargesdamage to propertygoods soldconsumer claims
The Tribunal does not handle:
wagespossession of landalimonylibel and slander
If your claim exceeds $50,000, you are not allowed to subdivide it to bring it within the small court tribunal jurisdiction; however, you can abandon that part of your claim above $50,000 in order to bring a claim in the Tribunal.
The small courts tribunal staff can provide assistance on procedural matters only. They will not give you legal advice, e.g. they cannot tell you if you have a good claim or whom you should sue. If you wish to have legal advice, you should consult your own lawyer; however, legal costs incurred in small claim cases will not be recoverable even if you win the case.
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If the cause of action happened more than a year ago, the SCT will not hear the claim. For example, if you purchased a $4999 LCD TV and found it to be defective, but the retailer refused to refund your fees, you may claim at the SCT.
However, if the purchase occurred more than a year ago, the SCT will not hear the claim.
What if my claim does not fall within the jurisdiction of the SCT?
It does not mean that you have no remedy. You can still sue in the other civil courts, just not the small courts tribunal Singapore.
Dealing with a small claims tribunal and small claims anywhere is not a complicated matter and you can even download the necessary forms from the internet these days.