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Median and Average Case Duration for Muslim Divorces

Response to parliamentary question on the median and average case duration for Muslim divorces

Written PQ 5904. Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs for divorce cases handled by the Syariah Court that have been concluded in the last two years, what is the median and average case duration from the time the case is registered to the time the divorce is finalised.

  1. The court process in the Syariah Court starts with the filing of the Originating Summons for a divorce. The divorce parties have to complete the mandatory Marriage Counselling Programme before they can file this Originating Summons. 
  2. The court process comprises three main stages:
    1. The first stage is Mediation where the parties explore a resolution of the divorce and ancillary issues. If there is a settlement of all issues, the parties will enter into a consent order and the case is concluded.
    2. The next stage is the Pre-Trial Conference where the parties take directions, such as for the filing of affidavits, towards the disposal of the case. It is also during this pre-hearing stage that interim applications, if any, are filed by the parties and determined by the Court. 
    3. The final stage is the Hearing where the case is adjudicated upon by the Court President who makes a decree on the divorce and ancillary issues. The case concludes with this decree. Parties can file an appeal on the Court’s orders to the Muis Appeal Board.
  1. In 2023, one-third of Originating Summons for divorce filed in the Syariah Court were concluded at the mediation stage. The divorce parties are scheduled for a mediation session approximately 10 weeks after the acceptance of the Originating Summons by the Court. The parties may require more than one mediation session if one or both parties need time to file the required documents or to explore or consider the terms of settlement.
  2. For cases that are not concluded at mediation, the time taken for these cases to conclude depends on a variety of factors, including the complexity of the case and parties’ compliance with the Court’s directions and timelines.
  3. The median and average time for divorce cases registered at the Syariah Court in 2023 to conclude is within 4 months or less if parties consent to the divorce and ancillary issues at the Mediation stage. If the matter is contested and goes to the Hearing stage, the median and average time for the case to conclude is within one year or less from the date of the acceptance of the Originating Summons.
Last updated on 09 July 2024