Information on Transitional Provisions in the Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Act 2019 and the Rules of Court (Amendment No. 5) Rules 2020

1. Parties are reminded to carefully review the transitional provisions in the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Act No. 40 of 2019) (the “ SCJ(A)A”) and the Rules of Court (Amendment No. 5) Rules 2020 (the “ROC(A)R”) to determine the legislation and rules governing their cases.

2. The transitional provisions in the SCJ(A)A are found in sections 31 and 32 of that Act. The transitional provisions in the ROC(A)R are found in Rule 14 of those Rules.

3. Please take note of the following:

(a) Where an appeal has been filed to the Court of Appeal before 2 January 2021 : Such appeals will be governed by the versions of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (“SCJA”) and the Rules of Court (“ ROC”) that were in force prior to 2 January 2021 (these versions will be referred to in this page as the “unamended SCJA” and the “ unamended ROC”). Effectively, this would mean that such appeals will remain in the Court of Appeal and will not be transferred to the Appellate Division. Further, the procedures for such appeals to the Court of Appeal, and applications in such appeals, will be governed by the unamended ROC.

(b) Where: (1) the High Court has issued its decision before 2 January 2021; (2) the matter is appealable and leave to appeal is not required to appeal against the decision under the unamended SCJA; and (3) no appeal has been brought to the Court of Appeal before 2 January 2021 : For such matters, any appeal is to be made to the relevant appellate court, as determined by the Sixth Schedule to the SCJA as amended by the SCJ(A)A (the “ amended SCJA”). The appeal and applications in the appeal will be governed by the amended SCJA and the Rules of Court as amended by the ROC(A)R (the “amended ROC”). [ii]

(c) Where: (1) the High Court has issued its decision before 2 January 2021; (2) the matter is appealable with leave under the unamended SCJA; and (3) no appeal has been brought to the Court of Appeal before 2 January 2021 : The two-tier framework for leave applications under the unamended SCJA will apply to the decision of the High Court. [iii] If leave to appeal is granted either by the High Court / General Division or the Court of Appeal, then the appeal would go to the Court of Appeal only and the unamended ROC will apply to the appeal and applications in the appeal. [iv]

(d) Where the General Division issued its decision on or after 2 January 2021 : The amended SCJA and the amended ROC apply.

Disclaimer: This information note serves as a general information source only and nothing herein should be construed as any form of professional advice. This information note is not exhaustive and may not cover all information available on a particular issue. Before relying on this information note, you should do your own checks or obtain professional advice on your particular circumstances.


[i] Section 31(3) of the SCJ(A)A and Rule 14(2) of the ROC(A)R.

[ii] Section 31(1) of the SCJ(A)A and Rule 14(1) of the ROC(A)R.

[iii] Section 31(4) of the SCJ(A)A. Order 56 Rule 3 of the amended ROC sets out the procedures for the first tier application for leave to appeal against a decision of the General Division and Rule 14(4) of the ROC(A)A preserves the unamended ROC for the second tier application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

[iv] Rule 14(3) of the ROC(A)R.

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