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Higher closure rate for criminal cases in State Courts in 2018

Higher closure rate for criminal cases in State Courts in 2018

Source: Straits Times
Date Published: 13 Jun 2019
Author: Selina Lum

Report shows system handled these cases more efficiently amid general rise in caseload.

Last year saw 303,487 criminal cases filed in the State Courts, an increase of nearly 7,500 cases compared with the previous year.

Despite the rise in caseload, the courts improved in how efficiently such cases were moved through the system.

A total of 317,203 criminal cases were brought to a conclusion in the State Courts last year, hitting a clearance rate of 105 per cent, compared with 91 per cent in 2017.

These figures were disclosed in the Singapore judiciary's annual report which, for the first time, combines the reports of the Supreme Court, the State Courts and the Family Justice Courts.

The 303,487 cases dealt with by the Criminal Justice Division include criminal charges, summonses issued by government departments and statutory boards, traffic cases and coroner's cases.

Significant cases include those of a Thai national who was fined $6,000 for defaulting on national service and the inquest into the woman who was killed when a Tembusu tree came crashing down at the Botanic Gardens in 2017.

While there was a drop in the number of criminal charges, from 60,172 in 2017 to 57,249 last year, the number of departmental summonses surged from 168,440 in 2017 to 181,839 last year.

Traffic charges and summonses saw a dip, from 61,429 in 2017 to 60,230 last year.

The number of coroner's cases for both years remained fairly constant, hovering above 4,100.

The State Courts' Community Justice and Tribunals Division, which handles community disputes, employment claims and small claims, also saw an increase in the number cases, but scored a clearance rate of 97 per cent, compared with 92 per cent in 2017.

The Small Claims Tribunals heard 11,089 cases last year, compared with 9,887 in 2017.

The number of cases brought under the Protection from Harassment Act went up to 150, compared with 130 in 2017.

One significant case was that of a man who sought protection orders for himself, his girlfriend and their children against his estranged wife.

The Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals heard 108 cases of spats between neighbours, nearly double the 57 cases in 2017.

Over at the Supreme Court, a total of 14,780 new civil and criminal matters were filed last year.

With a total of 14,359 matters being resolved, the clearance rate for all civil and criminal matters last year was 97 per cent.

The clearance rate for cases before the Court of Appeal showed a marked increase.

In 2017, the clearance rate for civil appeals before the Court of Appeal was 85 per cent, with 245 cases filed and 208 cases concluded. Last year, 235 civil appeals were filed before the apex court, which heard 239 cases, making a clearance rate of 102 per cent.

The Family Justice Courts handled a total of 27,483 cases last year, a drop of about 2 per cent compared with 2017.

Divorce, maintenance and probate cases made up more than half of its total caseload, with 5,974 divorce writs filed, 4,712 cases involving maintenance and 6,590 probate cases.


317,203

Total number of criminal cases brought to a conclusion in the State Courts last year, hitting a clearance rate of 105 per cent, compared with 91 per cent in 2017.

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

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