As the Supreme Court is an office of records, court users (i.e. litigants) can apply to inspect case files and court documents under Order 60 of the Rules of Court.
A Request to Inspect
A Request to Inspect ("Request") has to be filed to Court and is subject to the approval of the Registrar and the payment of the applicable fees.
A Request should contain a brief description of the relationship of the requestor to the relevant case file and the reasons for requiring inspection. A requestor may wish to explain their interest or connection to the case file to be inspected. The Registrar may also seek clarifications from the requestor before deciding whether to approve the Request.
Requestor(s) are advised to seek legal advice as the preparation of the Request and inspection of the case file and court documents may require an understanding of the law and legal concepts as well as compliance with certain legal procedural requirements. A directory of qualified lawyers from the Ministry of Law is available at https://www.mlaw.gov.sg. The Ministry of Law can also be contacted at 1800 2255 529 or by email at OneMinLaw@mlaw.gov.sg.
For a detailed step-by-step guide on how to make a Request for electronic case files, please click here.
For a detailed step-by-step guide on how to make a Request for non-electronic case files, please click here.
Sealing of Case Files and/or Court Documents
To prevent inspections of case files by non-parties to case files, applications to seal the case file and/or court documents may be made according to applicable rules and procedures. Such applications will be heard by a High Court Judge who may impose conditions if an order for the sealing of the case file and/or court documents from inspection is granted.
What may be inspected?
Sealed case files and court documents are not open to inspection without an Order of Court. Please also note that the procedures set out here apply to most civil matters and inspection may not be applicable for certain case types (eg. Criminal cases and Family cases) to which these procedures do not apply or other legislation or rules are applicable.
With effect from 1 January 2015, all probate matters fall under the jurisdiction of the Family Justice Courts and requests for inspection of electronic probate records should be made at the Family Justice Courts. Only the following non-electronic probate records will be available for inspection at the Supreme Court, namely:
- Cause Books pertaining to Probate matters (pre-2002)
- Probate Petitions (pre-2002)
Internal correspondence and notes taken down by Judges or Registrars at hearings for a case file are not made available for inspection. Certified Transcripts of Judges’ or Registrars’ notes and Grounds of Decisions are available on request subject to the approval of the Judge or judicial officer and upon payment of the applicable fees.
The attention of all requestors is drawn to the Honourable Justice Lee Seiu Kin's decision in Tan Chi Min v The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC  SGHC 154 whereby the Court made certain pronouncements on access to case files and court documents. Certain types of documents will usually be accessible in the case file during inspection, eg. pleadings and court orders. Certain documents in the case file, for example affidavits and written submissions, may not be available for inspection until they have been used in the proceedings for which they have been filed. If you wish to find out more, the case is accessible here.
Media Inspection Requests
Media representatives may inspect a case file and court documents for reporting purposes and may proceed to obtain the relevant form for media inspection requests at the Records counter of the Legal Registry at Level 2 of the Supreme Court. Media representatives should also submit such forms for processing and approval by the Registrar, at the Records counter before proceeding to the LawNet Service Bureau located at Level 1 of the Supreme Court building to e-file their request.
Request for Copies and Certified true copies of Court Documents
Copies of documents in Electronic Case files
Documents that may be inspected can be downloaded. A non-eLitigation account law firm or LIP requiring copies of the downloaded documents at the LawNet Service Bureau may request for printing of the same. Applicable printing fees are payable.
Where a Certified True Copy of a court document is required, a Request for Certified True Copy will have to be filed via eLitigation. Subject to the approval of the Registrar and upon payment of the applicable fees, the Certified True Copy can be collected at the Legal Registry.
Copies of documents in Non-Electronic Case files
After inspection of the case file and court documents at the Legal Registry, a requestor requiring a copy and/or Certified True Copy of a court document may complete the Request for a Copy / Certified True Copy and submit a hard copy at the Legal Registry for approval of the Registrar. Applicable printing fees are payable.
Some of the applicable fees which may be relevant to the application for inspection are as follows:
Estimated Processing Time
Note: Please note that all processing times are best estimates and are subject to the exigencies of service.
For further enquiries, please call 6557 7426 or email SUPCOURT_Registry@supcourt.gov.sg. Enquiries may also be made at the Records counter at Level 2 of the Legal Registry at the Supreme Court Building. The operating hours of the Legal Registry are from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.