No need for a lawyer to apply for protection order

The report on Dec 11 ("The law on harassment") stated that "unlike the Personal Protection Order under the Women's Charter where a victim can directly file for such an order, a protection order generally requires a lawyer to make the application".

We wish to clarify that a victim of harassment does not need a lawyer to apply for a protection order (PO).

Application for POs under the Protection from Harassment Act was designed to be straightforward, allowing laypersons to navigate court processes without involving lawyers.

The Protection from Harassment Act provides victims of harassment with two options to seek protection from their alleged harassers: By lodging a Magistrate's Complaint to invoke criminal sanctions against the harasser, should the case be successfully prosecuted; or by applying for a PO requiring the harasser to stop the offending acts and/or to remove the offending statements or publications made.

In cases where urgent intervention is required, an expedited protection order may be obtained.

The breach of an expedited protection order or PO amounts to a criminal offence.

Whether the action is commenced under the criminal or civil regime, the parties may be required by the Court to go for mediation or counselling at any stage of the proceedings, so that wherever possible, they may resolve their disputes amicably.

Vivian Heng (Ms)
Deputy Director
Communications Directorate
State Courts

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2016, with the headline 'No need for a lawyer to apply for protection order'. Print Edition | Subscribe