“In Business As Usual As Possible” During Circuit Breaker

While the Circuit Breaker measures are in place, our firm’s lawyers are all telecommuting and working from home.  We will conduct all meetings online. There will be no mail or courier services. Written communications are by email only. Apart from that,  it is business as usual as for as the law allows. Operational hours remain from 9am-6pm, Monday – Friday except public holidays.

FAQ

1.

Can I meet you in person for a consultation?

 

Ans:  Afraid you can’t as we are not allowed in office or to arrange to meet our clients unless its for urgent and essential services and if we have successfully applied for either the time limit exemption or one-time general exemption allowing us to attend at our office.

OTP Law Corporation will ensure that the requisite approvals are in place before we can attend to you at our office if your matter falls under the category of “urgent and essential legal services”.

2.

Are not all legal services urgent and essential?

 

Ans:  Afraid not.

Only the following legal services are considered urgent and essential:

Essential & Urgent Matters

         I.             

Essential and urgent matters specified in the Registrar’s Circulars issued by each court in respect of criminal, civil and family matters wherein during the Relevant Period, court attendance by the solicitor is required by the court and/or adjudication hearings fixed under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act. 

a)       Link to High Court

b)      Link to Family Justice Courts 

c)       Link to Syariah Court

d)      Link to State Courts

       II.             

Commercial transactions or actions having statutory, regulatory or contractual deadlines falling within the Relevant Period for which no waiver or deferment has been or will be granted or transactions or actions for which completion is due or time is of the essence in this said period. 

     III.             

Conveyancing transactions with deadlines where time is of the essence or with milestone deadlines to be met within the Relevant Period. 

    IV.             

Urgent and essential Wills and Probate related services required within the Relevant Period for which no deferment may be made. 

3.

How then are all the other legal services provided?

 

Ans:  OTP Law Corporation and all our lawyers have the capabilities to work remotely with a secured and reliable IT infrastructure. Most of our clients will be familiar with contacting us via email and phone, meeting virtually through Skype or Zoom.

As long as the part of your work (that is not regarded as essential or urgent) does not involve a hearing in court or an in person meet, your work will continue to be done by us through the usual means of communication.

OTP Law Corporation will inform you immediately if the services you require are not feasible at the moment but we will be able to arrange for an early date to attend to you once the circuit breaker is lifted.

4.

Are the Courts still accepting new applications and hearing cases?

 

Ans:  During this period, the Supreme Court, State Courts and Family Justice Courts will strictly only hear “essential” and/or “urgent” matters.  The other matters would be adjourned accordingly. As far as possible, such hearings will be conducted using electronic means of communication. If physical attendance at hearings is required, parties are to comply with all safe distancing and other applicable measures in the preparation, presentation and conduct of hearings. 

New applications however can still be filed through our firm’s e-litigation system with the various courts.  The processing time however may be affected.

OTP Law Corporation will inform our client immediately when we receive notices that the hearing of your case is adjourned.

5.

What kind of hearings will be considered as urgent and essential in the High Court and/or the Supreme Court (Civil Division or non-criminal matters)?

 

Ans: Below is a list of the applications:

 

a)       An application for urgent injunction or search order.

b)      An application to set aside an injunction or search order.

c)       An application for the arrest or release of a vessel.

d)      An application for the discharge of dangerous or perishable cargo.

e)      An application for the judicial sale of a vessel, where the safety of the crew is a concern.

f)        An appeal to the High Court under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019.

g)       An application under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act or

h)      An application for urgent judicial review, e.g. in relation to implementation of COVID-19 measures.

i)        An application under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act.

j)        An appeal to the High Court under the Protection from Harassment Act, if there are issues of personal safety involved.

k)       Certain applications for extension of time or variation of court orders relating to insolvency and restructuring matters.

l)        Certain applications for interim payments in personal injury cases.

m)    An application for stay of execution of a civil judgment.

n)      Committal proceedings in respect of a person who is subject to an outstanding warrant of arrest and who needs to be produced before a Court within 48 hours.

o)      A request for any matter to be heard urgently that is assessed to be urgent.

OTP Law Corporation will inform our client whether your case falls under the above category or not.

6.

What kind of hearings will be considered as urgent and essential in the Family Justice Courts?

 

Ans: Below is the list:

 

a)       For Maintenance (MSS) and Family Violence (SS) cases dealt with by Family Court 1, unless you are notified by the Court via Registrar’s Notice, email or phone call, your case will proceed to be dealt with by the court. In addition, if the case is proceeding and the Court assesses that it can be mentioned by way of video-call, you will be notified accordingly so that you do not need to attend court in-person.

b)      Beyond Parental Control cases will generally be adjourned for at least 4 weeks (till after Circuit Breaker), unless the Court is satisfied that the matter is urgent and essential (i.e. time-sensitive and constitutes threat to life and liberty). Only exceptional cases will be considered. Please also note that FJC will only be able to take in a limited number of cases, on a first come first serve basis, strictly between 2.00pm and 4.00pm only, on Tuesday. Parents/guardians may wish to consider seeking community assistance and/or make a police report if your child is missing.

c)       The Commissioners for Oaths (CFO) services will be closed from 7 Apr 2020 to 4 May 2020 (both dates inclusive), except for CFO services pertaining to urgent and essential matters. Parties may email FJC Registry at the email address below for enquiries.

d)      The following services will be provided remotely/offsite with effect from 7 April 2020:

e)      Case specific enquiries on Divorce/Originating Summons related matters (including Certified True Documents and case search)

f)        Collection of Certified True Documents, Grounds of Decisions and Notes of Evidence

g)       Please contact FJCOURTS_Family_Registry@FJCourts.gov.sg.

Link to https://www.familyjusticecourts.gov.sg/covid-19

OTP Law Corporation will inform our client whether your case falls under the above category or not.

7.

What kind of hearings will be considered as urgent and essential in the State Courts (Civil Division)?

 

Ans: Below is the list:

 

a)         An application for urgent injunction or search order.

b)         An urgent application to set aside an injunction or search order.

c)         Certain applications for interim payments where payment is urgently needed.

d)         An urgent application for stay of execution of a civil judgment.

e)         A Registrar’s Appeal involving a matter falling within the list of urgent civil matters above.

OTP Law Corporation will inform our client whether your case falls under the above category or not.

8.

If my matter does not fall within any of the above, can OTP Law Corporation still make an application for the hearing of my case to happen during this period?

 

Ans: Yes, but if and only if we share your opinion that your matter is essential and urgent. We can then write to the Court for the matter to be heard during this period as soon as possible. The Court may then, in its discretion, hear the matter if it is assessed to be essential and urgent.

 

Please however note the following:

a)         in determining whether a matter is essential and urgent, the Court will have regard to, among other factors, whether the determination of its outcome is time sensitive or if there are any legal requirements which require the matter to be heard within a specified timeframe;

b)         a hearing is not essential or urgent merely because it is convenient for the parties to have the matter heard early;

c)         parties should not make the request unless they are able to ensure, as well as satisfy the Court that measures are in place;