Report on Civil Remedies

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About the project

The Singapore Academy of Law’s Law Reform Committee (LRC) has considered whether the civil enforcement remedies available under Singapore law adequately ensure that judgment creditors are able to recover monies adjudicated by the courts as due and owing to them, taking into account also the interests and rights of judgment debtors and affected third parties.

Based on its review of those laws and equivalent remedies in jurisdictions such as Australia, Canada, England and Wales, and Hong Kong, the LRC has identified certain gaps or limitations that can impede judgment creditors' recovery of their due debts from judgment debtors. 

For example, it may be difficult for judgment creditors to identify what assets the judgment debtor has, or where they are held (and therefore, what enforcement action they can best take).  Or those assets may be held by the judgment debtor jointly with a spouse, family member or other third party, for example, in a joint bank account or jointly-owned property.

Key Recommendations 

The LRC's report therefore recommends legislative reforms to reduce those barriers and aid recovery, while still ensuring appropriate protection of the rights of judgment debtors and affected third parties. Specifically, the report recommends:

  • Reforming the present writ of seizure and sale regime — through amendments to the Land Titles Act and the Rules of Court — to clarify that a judgment debtor’s interest as a joint tenant in immovable property is exigible to execution.
  • Granting the court a discretion to order a sale of the judgment debtor’s interest in a mortgaged immovable property (whether subject to or free from the mortgage), notwithstanding the objections of a prior mortgagee.
  • Amending the Rules of Court (and, as necessary, associated primary legislation) to allow a judgment creditor to garnish a bank account jointly held by a judgment debtor and other persons to satisfy a judgment debt.
  • Extending existing procedures for the examination of judgment debtors to allow for examination of individuals other than the judgment debtor, who: (a) the judgment creditor has reasonable grounds to believe have information concerning the judgment debtor’s property; or (b) are, or recently were, in possession of such property or records related thereto.
  • That further policy consideration is given to whether reform of the law is necessary to facilitate interim measures being granted by the courts, in particular to ensure effective protection against the dissipation of funds across borders.

Click here for a one-minute quick guide to the key issues and recommendations.

Project status: Completed


Areas of law

 Civil procedure



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Last updated 29 December 2020


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