Singapore

Now easier to apply for personal protection orders

Applications for a personal protection order (PPO) can now also be made at three family violence specialist centres.

Previously, the Family Justice Courts were the only place where one could do so, and it involved several stops throughout the building — to register, see a counsellor and then a magistrate for a decision.

Applications at the centres are made via the integrated Family Application Management System (iFams). It can also be used to apply for maintenance orders and enforcement of such orders.

Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon announced the new initiative yesterday in his speech at the Family Justice Practice Forum while talking about the future of family law.

He said iFams will simplify processes for lawyers and court users, and let them check on their case status and submit documents online.

By the year end, iFams will also be integrated with platforms used by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Singapore Police Force, Singapore Prison Service and Legal Aid Bureau so information can be shared across agencies.

Chief Justice Menon said iFams will be used at more centres in the coming year so applicants can receive other assistance.

"We believe that enabling them to do so within their community would alleviate much anxiety associated with engaging in litigation."

Next year, the system will be extended to processes for mental capacity and deputyship, which are considered low-risk.

The Chief Justice said that those submitting their PPO applications at the Family Justice Courts will also find it easier to do so with the new Family Protection Centre, which was launched yesterday .

The purpose-built area on the first floor of the building allows for one-stop applications to be made.

"It features redesigned spaces for risk assessment with a counsellor and facilities for affirmation of the supporting declarations before a judge. There will also be self-help kiosks for parties to file their applications, and volunteers stationed onsite to provide support," said the Chief Justice.

There were 2,811 fresh applications for PPOs last year and 2,885 in 2015.

lawcourtFamilyMINISTRY OF SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT (MSF)