New end-to-end paperless system at Family Justice Courts Singapore for protection and maintenance order cases

Last month, a new comprehensive end-to-end IT system was introduced at the Family Justices Courts (FJC) in Singapore for dealing with applications for family protection and maintenance order cases.  

Initially announced at the FJC’s work plan seminar in February 2017, the Integrated Family Application Management System (iFAMS) aims to bring together all whose work falls within the ambit of family justice on a single platform. Designed based on the entire case lifecycle, it ensures support even after orders are issued.

Phase 1 of the paperless system covers protection and maintenance orders, electronic case filing, tracking, workflow routing, case hearing and generation of electronic letters, Court Orders and statistical reports. Individuals seeking protection and maintenance orders no longer have to physically go down to the FJC to prepare their applications.

iFAMS allows users to prepare the application (for protection and maintenance order) from any terminal with internet access using their SingPass ID, resulting in shorter waiting time when they attend at the FJC or the authorised social agencies for further processing. The system allows multiple parties to view the e-case file at the same time for better case management.

Court notices, summonses and orders are auto-generated resulting in savings in processing time and costs, as well as reduction in human errors. Users can apply online for changes to court dates and learn of the outcomes via SMS, among others.

Users can check on case status, submit statements, affidavits and documents in support of their cases, and request for copies of court-related documents either before or upon case completion. Payment of prescribed fees for the applications can be made online using cashless modes such as e-nets or credit card.In addition to simplifying the application process, iFAMS enables applications to be processed at 6 different community touch points.

In addition to simplifying the application process, iFAMS enables applications to be processed at 6 different community touch points, such as family violence specialist centres PAVE and TRANS SAFE Centre.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon had highlighted its importance at the launch, saying, “Applicants may apply in a familiar setting where they will also be able to receive other assistance relevant to their specific needs. We believe that enabling them to do so within their community would alleviate some of the anxiety associated with engaging in litigation.”

iFAMS enables dynamic court orders, as each case is unique with different needs and circumstances. The e-minute sheets allow judges to effectively record proceedings and edit the court order as required. Cases that require special attention will be flagged out and documents can be sealed with restricted access to ensure confidentiality.

The smart infrastructure that iFAMS is built on, can support different subsystems in the courts and scales automatically on demand.

iFAMS can be accessed using SingPass ID for individuals or CorpPass ID if for entities that need to access iFAMS e.g. a law firm.

Future improvements

When fully completed, iFAMS will be integrated with other case management systems within the Courts systems, including the e-Litigation system and the Integrated Criminal Case Management System (ICMS) for Youth Courts cases, allowing staff to have seamless access to data across platforms.

To enable effective sharing of information agencies and enhanced efficiency and consistency, iFAMS will also be integrated with platforms of external agencies such as Ministry for Social and Family Development (MSF), Singapore Police Force (SPF), Singapore Prison Services (SPS) and the Legal Aid Bureau (LAB).

Generate statistical reports such as case volumes to enable staff to monitor and better utilise the Courts’ resources in serving the public.

iFAMS was developed using a microservices approach, which facilitates the flexible and agile deployment of services. Breaking down the application into smaller microservices, iFAMS can be updated by parts, providing continuous deployment and upgrade during court hours.

Featured image: Chensiyuan/ CC BY-SA 3.0

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