20 February 2018
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Enhancing access to family justice

Straits Times
10 Feb 2018

We thank Ms Rebecca Tan Choi Li for her letter (Make family court processes more user-friendly; Feb 4).

Since the formation of the Family Justice Courts (FJC), the most impactful change it has introduced has been a simplified route for uncontested divorce cases.

Based on our records, 49 per cent of all divorce cases were filed under the simplified track in 2017. Of these, 83 per cent have been resolved as at the end of last year. Cases on average took less than a month to resolve.

In July, FJC opened a one-stop Family Protection Centre providing parties a safe and private setting to lodge their complaints and seek guidance.

It also launched iFAMS, which allows parties seeking protection orders to submit their complaints at any of the three designated Family Violence Specialist Centres, without having to come personally to FJC to commence the proceedings.

FJC handles a large number of calls daily. It has a system to log in calls and to follow up on them.

Ms Tan also asked about statistics and outcomes of past cases. FJC's caseload statistics are available in the annual report on its website, while Supreme Court judgments are published on the Singapore Law Watch website.

As FJC is a neutral adjudicating body, its officers cannot give legal advice to parties. Hence, it has the Community Justice Centre HELP centre at its premises to offer help and referral service to litigants-in-person who cannot afford legal representation.

We are mindful that self-represented litigants make up a significant proportion of our family court users and constantly strive to make processes more transparent and user-friendly. Given the nature and complexity of family disputes, it may not be possible to simplify.

To help us better understand the problems experienced by Ms Tan's friends, we would like to invite her to contact Mr Yeo Seow Aik at YEO_Seow_Aik@fjcourts.gov.sg to see how FJC can further improve its services.

Chia Wee Kiat

Registrar

Family Justice Courts

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.