FAQs for Proceedings before an Assessor and Assessor’s Determinations
Important note: This section does not deal with questions on the rental waivers or the rental relief framework that was announced in June 2020. If you have specific questions on the rental relief framework and the rental relief assessors’ determinations under the rental relief framework, please click here for the FAQs.
1. Is there a deadline to file an application for an Assessor’s Determination.
- Yes. The deadlines to file an application for an Assessor’s Determination for the different categories of contracts are as follows:
|Deadline to file an application for an Assessor’s Determination
||Categories of Contracts
|19 November 2020
||– Leases and licences of non-residential property*
– Hire-purchase and conditional sales agreements for commercial vehicles, or plant/machinery used for commercial purposes*
– Loans to SMEs secured by certain collateral in Singapore*
|31 January 2021
||– Hire-purchase and conditional sales agreements with financing companies (other than banks or MAS-regulated finance companies) for commercial vehicles, or plant/machinery used for commercial purposes*
– Rental agreements for commercial equipment or commercial vehicles*
|31 March 2021
||– Event and tourism-related contracts
|30 June 2021
||– Sale and puchase agreements with developers*
|31 August 2021
||– Options to purchase with developers
|28 February 2022
||– Construction contracts or supply contracts, or any performance bond granted thereto
* The role of an Assessor in these cases is to determine whether the moratorium (i.e. temporary relief from legal and enforcement action) applies. An Assessor’s determination is no longer necessary after the expiry of the prescribed period, as the moratorium automatically lapses when the prescribed period expires.
2. Who are the Assessors?
- The Assessors are qualified lawyers, public accountants, chartered accountants with at least 3 years’ working experience, or persons who have at least 3 years working experience in or relating to law, accountancy, finance, business management, building and construction or architecture.
3. Can an in-house counsel represent his company in proceedings before the Assessor?
- Except with the permission of the Assessor, parties cannot be represented by an advocate and solicitor at proceedings before an Assessor. This includes an in-house counsel who is admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court, but does not have a practising certificate.
4. I am a party to proceedings before an Assessor. What documents should I attach in my Application / Response?
- You may refer to this page for examples on the supporting documents that may be attached to your Application / Response.
5. What is the total file size of the documents that can be attached to the Application or Response?
- You can attach a maximum of 7 MB of documents. Please refer to this link for information on how you could reduce file size. Please zip the files if you have multiple attachments.
6. I served the Notification for Relief, and I filed the Application for an Assessor’s Determination. Since then, the other party and I have reached a mutually acceptable solution without having to go through the proceedings before the Assessor. What do I do now?
If the agreement you have reached with the other party involves you withdrawing the Notification for Relief, you should serve a Notice of Withdrawal in respect of the previous Notification for Relief.
For the pending Application, you should inform the Registrar of the settlement and that you wish to withdraw the Application. You may do so by writing to the Registry’s email address from which the acknowledgment of receipt of the Application was sent.
7. I was served the Notification for Relief and I filed an Application for an Assessor’s Determination. Since then, the other party and I have reached a mutually acceptable solution without having to go through the proceedings before the Assessor. What should I do now?
- For the pending Application, you should inform the Registrar of the settlement and that you wish to withdraw the Application. You may do so by writing to the Registry’s email address from which the acknowledgment of receipt of the Application was sent to you.
8. The other party has disclosed information and supporting documents in the course of proceedings before the Assessor. Can I disclose or publish that information or documents to a third party?
You cannot disclose to a third party any statement or document submitted, created or made for the purposes of an Assessor’s proceeding (including the Application, Response, and any other forms), or any information (whether written or oral) that is disclosed in the course of an Assessor’s proceedings, except:
With the consent of the other party to whom the information relates;
When the information is in the public domain; or
When the disclosure is necessary for the proceedings, the enforcement of an Assessor’s determination or any proceeding before a court or arbitral tribunal.
Any party who contravenes the above is guilty of a criminal offence.
9. I have received my determination. Can I request for a further explanation or more details on the reason for the determination?
10. I have received my determination. However, there is a clerical error in the determination (e.g. the name of one of the party is inaccurate, or the date of the contract is inaccurate). Can I ask for the error to be corrected?
11. My determination only states that the case is one to which section 5 applies. What does this mean?
- If your determination states that the case is one to which section 5 applies, it means the Assessor has determined that:
- The contracting party who served the Notification for Relief qualifies for relief under the Act; and
- The party on whom the Notification for Relief was served is prohibited from taking any of the legal or enforcement actions listed in section 5(3) of the Act at any time up to 19 October 2020.
12. My determination only states that the case is one to which section 5 does not apply. What does this mean?
If your determination only states that the case is one to which section 5 does not apply, it means that the Assessor has determined that the contracting party who served the Notification for Relief is NOT entitled to relief under the Act.
As such, the party on whom the Notification for Relief was served is not prohibited from taking any of the legal or enforcement actions listed in section 5(3) of the Act (e.g. commencing court or insolvency proceedings, or repossession of goods under a hire-purchase agreement) against the party who served the Notification for Relief.
If your contract is an events and tourism-related contract, and the determination states that the case is not one to which section 5 applies, the reliefs that are provided under the Act in relation to forfeiture of deposits and cancellation fees do not apply to the case. Please seek legal advice on how you may protect your rights under the contract.
13. The determination requires me to pay a sum of money to the other party by a stipulated date but I am not able to do so by that date because of my financial situation. Can I apply for an extension of time?
Section 13A of the Act provides that where a party is required by a determination to make any payment, the Assessor or another Assessor may grant the party an extension of time to make payment.
If you are unable to pay the sum due to your financial situation, you may write to the Registry to request that the Assessor grants an extension of time to make payment. You should attach supporting documents of your financial situation in your application.
14. The determination requires the other party to pay me a sum of money by a stipulated date. Despite my requests for payment, the other party did not comply with the determination. What can I do?
An Assessor’s determination is binding on all parties to the application.
Under the Act, an Assessor’s determination for one party to pay a sum of money to the other party may, with the leave of Court, be enforced in the same manner as a judgment or an order of the court. In this regard, please take note that the Small Claims Tribunal does not have the jurisdiction to hear an application for leave to enforce a determination, or an application to enforce a determination. Applications should be filed in the Magistrate’s Court (for claims up to $60,000), District Court (for claims up to $250,000) or High Court (General Division) (for claims above $250,000). Please seek legal advice on how you may enforce the determination.
In addition, a person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with an Assessor’s determination to pay a sum of money to the other party, is guilty of a criminal offence.
If the other party has informed you that he requires time to make payment because of his financial situation, he may apply to the Assessor for an extension of time to make payment. Please see FAQ (12) above.
15. The determination for my case has been issued. There has been a material change in the circumstances since the determination (e.g. the business of the party who obtained relief under the Act has improved materially and I have further evidence that he is now in a position to make payment). Can I ask for the determination to be revisited?
Section 13A of the Act provides that the Assessor or another Assessor may vary or replace the determination if there has been a material change in the circumstances after it has been made, and if it is just and equitable for the variation or replacement to be made.
If you wish to apply for a variation or replacement of the determination, please write to the Registry at the email address that the Registry has previously communicated with you, and provide supporting documents on the material change in circumstances after the determination was made.
Please note that the above does not operate as an appeal. The Assessor’s determination is not appealable.