SINGAPORE - Those who wish to file a small claim can now do so at any time, from the comfort of their homes.
All claims filed at the Small Claims Tribunals will now be done online, with the first phase of the State Courts' Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS), an electronic case filing and management system, launched on Monday (July 10).
This new system allows parties involved in disputes to file claims and access court e-services from any place with an Internet connection.
Before this, the small claims process was done in a largely manual fashion. Parties would have to go to the Small Claims Tribunals at the State Courts in person to file their claim and submit hard-copy documents. They would then have to attend mediation and tribunal hearings, before a tribunal order may be made.
Through the new system, parties can submit their small-claims documents and make payments online, as well as select their court date. They can also view documents submitted by the other party and monitor their case developments.
A key feature is the ability of parties to e-negotiate a settlement on a confidential platform before they go to court. For example, when a settlement offer is made by the respondent, the claimant will receive a notification to log on to consider or make a counter offer.
If an amicable settlement has been reached through e-negotiation, the parties may apply online for a tribunal order directly without having to go to court. If they are unable to do so, the claim will then proceed to the consultation and hearing stages.
Before a claim can be filed, the system will first take claimants through a pre-filing assessment to ensure that they are ready to proceed with filing a claim.
It will then assist them in completing the claim form and the submission of documents. They will also be able to choose their preferred court date within a fixed given period.
These functions will help claimants save time to attend court in order to resolve a small- claims dispute, and boost the likelihood of settling a dispute on their own terms.
Individuals can access the CJTS with their SingPass, while businesses can do so with their CorpPass.
Presiding Judge of the State Courts See Kee Oon said the new system will "provide court users with more expedient and efficient access to the resolution of small claims".
The implementation of the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals and the Employment Claims Tribunals processes into the CJTS will be progressively rolled out from the first quarter of next year.