Image: Benefits of CJTS (Credit: Gov.sg)
The State Courts in Singapore introduced an electronic case filing and management system, called the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS) on July 10, which allows parties involved in ‘Small Claims’ disputes to file claims and access court e-services from the comfort of their homes or any place with an internet connection.
The Small Claims Tribunals are part of the State Courts of Singapore. The Tribunals were established on 1 February 1985 to provide a quick and inexpensive forum for the resolution of small claims (not exceeding S$10,000 or up to S$20,000 if both parties agree in writing) between consumers and suppliers. Types of claims could include contracts for the sale of goods or for the provision of services involving skill and labour, damage to property (except for damage arising from the use of a motor vehicle), certain cases under the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading Act) such as the refund of motor vehicle deposits and lease of residential premises not exceeding 2 years.
Previously, claimants were required to go to court to file claims, make payments, and attend consultations and hearings. CJTS allows pre-filing assessment and filing of the claim to be done online. For pre-filing, users will be asked a series of questions to determine if their disputes can be filed in the Tribunals. There are guided online forms to help in filing cases, and users can upload attachments/ supporting documents for their cases.
CJTS offers an electronic diary to schedule hearing dates and timeslots for accepted applications. Users will be able to look up their case details online, view submitted documents and correspondences from court and check hearing dates.
The system also has an e-Negotiation feature, which allows the parties to negotiate and reach a settlement on the disputed claims without having to go to the courts.
Parties receive e-notifications when there are developments in their case status. They can make payments conveniently by way of credit card or internet banking.
Users can log in to CJTS, using their SingPass (ID and password used by Singaporean citizens or long-term residents to access government services) for individuals or CorpPass (for business entities). If someone is not eligible for SingPass or CorpPass, they can apply for a CJTS Pass.