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This section provides a brief summary of the procedures involved in filing an application to enforce an order of the Syariah Court in the Family Justice Courts.
The information provided below is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. The Family Justice Courts cannot provide legal advice or assist with drafting the contents of any document.
References to legislation
Enforcing Syariah Court orders in the Family Justice Courts
Muslim parties or parties married under the Muslim law can enforce their orders made by Syariah Court on maintenance (iddah or muta’ah), property or custody issues in Family Court. They may lodge a Magistrate’s Complaint regarding the breach of the Syariah Court order under section 53 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act.
This section sets out the procedure for filing a Magistrate’s Complaint. To maintain impartiality, Court Staff are not able to provide legal advice or recommend lawyers. You may refer to the
Law Society for a list of lawyers. If you need free legal advice or legal assistance, please seek help from the
Community Justice Centre, Community Legal Clinic or the
Legal Aid Bureau.
Magistrate’s Complaint for breach of the Syariah Court order
Starting proceedings for a Magistrate’s Complaint
You must come personally to the Family Court to complete the standard Magistrate’s Complaint form. You may do this at the Family Registry, Level 1, Family Justice Courts Building. Do bring a copy of the Syariah Court order with you.
If you are the person filing the Magistrate’s Complaint, you are known as the Complainant. The person against whom you are making the Magistrate’s Complaint is the Respondent.
When you have completed and submitted your Magistrate’s Complaint, you will go before a Magistrate or District Judge to have it sworn or affirmed. To swear or affirm the Magistrate’s Complaint means that you confirm that the contents of what you have written in the form are true and correct.
It is a serious offence to include statements that you know to be untrue or incorrect in a sworn or affirmed Magistrate’s Complaint.
If your application is in order, the Magistrate or District Judge will direct for a notice to be issued to the Respondent to attend mediation before a Court mediator or a Judge of the Family Resolutions Chambers, depending on the subject-matter and complexity of the dispute.
Both the Complainant and the Respondent must be present in the Family Court on the mediation date.
If you are the Complainant and you fail to turn up on any of your Court dates, your application may be struck out. This means that you will have to file another Magistrate’s Complaint, and the same fees will apply.
(a) Case for enforcement of a Syariah Court maintenance order (eg. iddah or muta’ah)
If you are the Respondent and you fail to turn up, a Warrant of Arrest will be issued against you.
If the mediation proceeds and you manage to reach an agreement on your dispute, you will be brought before the Magistrate or District Judge again to have the settlement recorded. A Court Order will be issued to record the terms ie. an Enforcement of Maintenance Order. You do not need to go to the Syariah Court to obtain any other order.
If no agreement is reached at mediation, your case will be mentioned in Court for a hearing date to be fixed. On the hearing date, a judge will hear both parties and decide what orders are to be made. An Enforcement of Maintenance Order will be issued.
(b) Cases for enforcement of other types of Syariah Court orders (eg. property or custody),
If you are the Respondent and you fail to turn up, this may result in the commencement of police investigations against you for breach of the Syariah Court order.
If the mediation proceeds and you manage to reach an agreement on your dispute, the agreement will be recorded as a private agreement. The Complainant will then be granted permission to withdraw the Magistrate’s Complaint.
The Family Court cannot issue a Court Order, or change the terms of the Syariah Court order. If you wish to change the terms of the Syariah Court order, you must make your application in the Syariah Court.
If no agreement is reached at mediation, a Magistrate or District Judge of the Family Court will direct the police to investigate the matter. The matter will then be taken over by the
Crime Registry of the State Courts.
Under section 52 of the Administration of Muslim Law Act, breach of a Syariah Court order is a criminal offence punishable with a term of imprisonment of up to six months.
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