Applying for a Protection Order or other remedies under POHA
Last updated: 11 July 2021
This guide contains information on applying for a Protection Order (PO), Expedited Protection Order (EPO), or a False Statement Order under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA). If you apply for these, your claim will be heard at the Protection from Harassment Court (PHC) – a specialised court that hears all criminal and civil matters under POHA.
The information provided below is general in nature and is not intended as legal advice. If you are unsure of your legal rights, you may wish to seek legal advice: Find legal support
If you wish to get a PO against a family member for family violence, you might want to read about Personal Protection Orders (PPO) under the Women’s Charter: Information and instructions on applying for a PPO (Anyone experiencing violence from a family member can apply for a PPO under the Women’s Charter. PPOs are not limited to women.)
For urgent assistance on procedural information or matters filed in the State Courts, you may contact the State Courts at 1800-JUSTICE (1800-5878423) during their operating hours (Mondays to Thursdays: 8.30am to 6pm and Fridays: 8.30am to 5.30pm).
Note: On 1 June 2021, changes were made to the processes of applying for POHA remedies. This guide reflects these changes. The following information was adapted from information that has been publicly released. We are still working to clarify additional details.
Getting assistance at the Central Registry
You may wish to engage a lawyer to represent you in Court. Although this is not compulsory, your lawyer will be in the best position to assess your case and advise you: Find legal support
If you choose to proceed without a lawyer, staff at the Central Registry (State Courts, Level 2) can assist you with the filing process and documents required in a POHA matter (note: this is not equivalent to legal advice). Bring along:
- Your NRIC or other forms of personal identification;
- Evidence of the harassing act(s), such as print-outs of emails, blogs, websites, photographs; and
- Police report or medical report (if any).
The filing hours of the Central Registry are as follows:
- Mondays to Thursdays (9.00am - 12.00pm, 2.00pm - 4.30pm)
- Fridays (9.00am - 12.00pm, 2.00pm - 4.00pm)
Decide the type of outcome you want
Under POHA, an individual can obtain both civil remedies and criminal sanctions against the perpetrator (who may be an individual or an entity).
- The outcome of applying for criminal sanctions is the conviction and punishment of the harasser. Such punishments include fines or imprisonment.
- If you wish to obtain criminal sanctions, please start by making a police report
- Find more information about criminal sanctions under POHA here: Overview of Criminal Sanctions
- The outcome of applying for civil remedies is to obtain Orders relating to harassment (e.g. protection order, expedited protection order, monetary compensation) or Orders relating to false statement of facts (e.g. stop publication orders, correction orders).
- If you wish to obtain civil remedies, continue reading this guide
- Find more information about civil remedies under POHA here: Types of Civil Remedies Available
- Note: To grant an expedited protection order (EPO), the court must be satisfied that the three requirements under s 13(1) POHA have been satisfied. If you indicate that you wish to obtain an EPO, the pre-filing assessment will ask you if your day-to-day activities have been affected, and if so, it will inform you that you must be prepared to provide evidence of the fact that your day-to-day activities have been affected. You may wish to seek legal advice if you are not sure whether your EPO claim is viable.
Identify filing method
There are two ways to file a claim under POHA: (a) filing using simplified proceedings; or (b) filing using standard proceedings.
You can file your application using simplified proceedings, UNLESS:
- You are claiming for damages of more than $20,000;
- You are bringing a claim against more than 5 Respondents;
- You are bringing a claim with any co-claimants; or
- You are bringing a claim in respect of a cause of action which accrued with more than 2 years ago (for example: If you wish to file a claim on 3 July 2021, but the incidents of harassment which you are relying on occurred in 2018, you may not file a claim under the simplified proceedings.)
If your application does not qualify for simplified proceedings, you have to file your application using the standard proceedings.
Find an overview of the POHA processes here: POHA Process Flowchart (PDF, 151KB)
Filing under simplified proceedings
For simplified proceedings, file applications online using the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS)
Complete pre-filing assessment
Before you file your application, you have to do a pre-filing assessment
To access the pre-filing assessment portal
- Go here: Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS)
- Click on the green PHC button (left-most)
- Read through the Terms and Conditions, and check “By using this service, you agree to the Terms and Conditions” when you are ready.
- Enter the Captcha characters and click Proceed.
Select your nature of claim
Identify your main category:
- There are two main categories of claims: Harassment claims, and False statement claims.
- Your application should only fall under one main category. If you want to make a harassment and a false statement claim against the same person, you have to file separate claims.
Then, select the specific claims you’d like to make under the main category. These claims correspond to offences/orders under POHA.
- For Harassment claims, these are:
- For False Statement claims, these are:
If you are unsure of your legal rights, you may wish to seek legal advice: Find legal support
Answer generated questions
The system will generate a series of Yes/No questions for you to answer. These questions will be displayed one at a time. There will be messages displayed in red – these are information for you to consider before filing your claim.
Submit pre-filing assessment
When all the questions are answered, the form completion status will show 100%. Click Submit.
On the Acknowledgement page, you will see:
- A pre-filing assessment ID
- Messages in red that you should consider before proceeding further.
Proceed to file claim or save for later
You can choose to proceed to filing your claim, or save the acknowledgement page to file the claim later using the same pre-filing assessment ID.
The pre-filing assessment ID is stored in the system for 7 days. If you do not file a claim using this ID within 7 days, you will need to perform a pre-filing assessment again.
File your claim
Once you have completed your pre-filing assessment, you can proceed to file your claim. To do so:
Log into the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS)
Click Proceed to eFiling from the pre-filing assessment’s acknowledgement page OR go to Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS) and choose one of the login options on the main page.
Click For Individual Users to login to the system using your SingPass.
If you do not have a SingPass account, click CJTSPass to register for a CJTSPass.
Create or update your profile
After you have logged in, the system will ask you to create or update your profile.
If you have logged in using SingPass, you can ask the system to fill your details in by clicking Retrieve Myinfo with SingPass.
Once you have filled your details in, go through and check that the information you provided is accurate. Then, check “I declare that all the information provided above is true and correct”
Access claim form
In the left sidebar of the CJTS, click Online Applications > PHC
Click Claim to begin filing your claim.
Enter the pre-filing assessment reference ID then click Retrieve. The system will generate a Claim Form for you to fill.
If you have not done your pre-filing assessment yet, scroll up to find instructions for doing so.
Fill in claim form
In the Claim Form, fill in as many details as you have related to your claim. You can take your time to complete this. Remember to click Save as Draft to ensure that your inputs are saved along the way. You can also use the Save as Draft function if you cannot complete the form in one sitting.
- Drafts are saved in the system for 7 days. You can find your drafts by clicking My Filings in the sidebar, then Drafts. You will also see your draft number here. The system recommends you to note your draft number to continue the filing later.
First, fill in your particulars and the particulars of the Respondent(s). The Respondent(s) is the person/people you are filing your claim against.
Then, provide a list of incidents related to your claim. This should be arranged in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent incident. For each incident, state the start and end date of the incident. Then, describe what happened
Describing harassment claims
For harassment claims:
- You should provide (as far as possible) an exact quote of any word(s) used or specific descriptions of the actions performed by the harasser which were threatening / abusive / insulting / indecent, and which caused you harassment / alarm / distress or caused / facilitated / provoked violence.
- If the harassment occurred on the internet, please also describe the platform on which the harassment occurred (for example, Facebook, WhatsApp Messenger, over email, or on an online forum).
- Nature of the incident (e.g. how the incident was harassing, threatening, abusive, or caused you alarm or distress)
Describing false statement claims
For false statement claims:
- You should provide an exact quote of each false statement made against you.
- You should also describe, for each false statement:
- What statement of fact is made about you;
- Why that statement of fact is false;
- Who published the statement.
- Where the false statement is published; and
- When the falsehood was published / discovered by you.
For each incident, provide evidence of the incident. Please prepare all evidence according to the instructions here: Instructions on Filing of Documents and Evidence . Follow these instructions closely as the court may reject evidence that do not comply with them.
For documentary evidence (e.g. screenshots, chat logs)
To upload documentary evidence of what happened (e.g. screenshots, chat logs):
- Select Document as evidence type.
- Note: documentary evidence has to be uploaded in PDF format, so if you are uploading screenshots, you need to compile these into a PDF.
For audio/video recordings
If you have audio/video recordings:
- You have to transcribe the recording, then select DVD/CD Transcript as evidence type to upload the transcript as a PDF.
- Then, you also have to submit the audio/video file(s) in a CD or DVD to the State Courts within 1 working day after you file your claim. This can be done either in person or by registered post to the State Courts.
- All files that you upload must be 5MB or lower in size.
- You can add more evidence by clicking Add Document / Transcript or Add New (for audio/video evidence).
Then, summarise the consequences of the incident(s) you listed, i.e. how the Respondent caused you harassment, alarm or distress, or facilitated or provoked the use of violence / how the false statements affected you.
After this, indicate which remedies you are seeking. You can also indicate if you are seeking other/interim remedies like an expedited protection order or an interim stop publication order. Find information about the remedies here: Types of Civil Remedies Available
Finally, attach other supporting documents.
Once you have completed the form, click Submit.
You will be shown a Confirmation page. Please read through this carefully to ensure that all the information you have provided is accurate. If need be, click Amend to make changes to your form.
When you have confirmed that all details are accurate, click Confirm and Proceed.
Now, you have to make a payment of $30.00. Your claim will not be treated as having been filed until you have made payment. Find the full Court fees here: Fees under the Simplified Process
You can pay using Internet Banking (eNETS) / Credit Card or PayNow / Pay Later.
The system will let you know when your payment transaction is successful. Click to Save Payment Receipt. Then click Continue.
Indicate language preferences
You will be asked to indicate whether you understand or speak English. This is because Court proceedings are conducted in English.
- If you do not understand nor speak English, click No.
- Select the language you speak from the dropdown that appears.
- Note: if you select Others, you will have to arrange for a certified interpreter on your own, and this is subject to approval by the court.
The Protection from Harassment Court will try to arrange for an Interpreter of the language chosen on the date of the Case Management Conference / Hearing. Your proceedings will commence only upon the availability / attendance of the Interpreter.
After filing claim
If you applied for interim remedies (e.g. EPO, interim stop publication order)
1) Hearing date
The Court will decide on the appropriate date/time for your hearing. Wait for a phone call, SMS, or e-mail from the Registry about your hearing date. They will usually try to fix your hearing within the next two working days.
2) Service of documents
You do not have to serve a copy of your claim and supporting evidence on the Respondent before the hearing.
During the hearing for the interim remedies you applied for, the Judge will give you specific directions for service of your documents, including directions for service of the interim or expedited order should your application be successful. Please note that interim or expedited orders generally take effect only after they have been served on the Respondent or party against whom they are made.
The outcome of your application for an interim or expedited order does not affect your application for a final order. Regardless of the outcome of your application for an interim or expedited order, your case will still be fixed for a Pre-Trial Conference (PTC) regarding your application for a final order once the Court has fully dealt with your application for the interim or expedited order.
If you did NOT apply for interim remedies
1) Hearing date
- Select a preferred date/time to attend Court.
- Click Next to proceed. This will bring you to an acknowledgement page, where you will see confirmation that your claim has been filed, your case number, and your selected date/time.
- Click Save Claimant Copy and Save Respondent Copy to save a copy of your Notice and the Respondent’s Notice. Then click Done.
2) Service of documents
You have to serve the Respondent’s copy with your supporting evidence to the Respondent within 14 calendar days of filing the claim. For example, if you filed your Claim on 1 August 2020, you must serve the Claim and supporting evidence on the Respondent by 15 August 2020 at the latest. The Court may not be able to proceed further with your Claim if you are unable to serve the copy of the Claim and supporting documents on the Respondent(s).
You can serve the documents using one of the default service methods:
- By leaving the respondent with a copy of the application
- By posting a copy of the application on the front door of the proper address of the respondent
- By sending a copy of the application by registered post to the proper address of the respondent
If the Respondent intends to object to or contest your Claim, the Respondent has 14 calendar days after being served with the Claim and supporting evidence to file his Response, together with the supporting evidence in CJTS.
3) Declaration of Service
After serving the Claim and supporting documents to the Respondent, you have to file a Declaration of Service before you can attend the Case Management Conference. You have to do this within 8 days after the date you served the Respondent with the claim and supporting documents.
To file a Declaration of Service,
- Log into the Community Justice and Tribunals System (CJTS)
- Click Online Application in the sidebar, then Declaration of Service
- Enter your Claim Number then click Retrieve
- Select the respondent who you served the Claim on
- Select the Method of Service that you used. The system will then prompt you to enter related details.
- Upload any supporting documents. Then click Submit.
- On the acknowledgements page, the system will let you know that your Declaration of Service has been filed, and give you a reference number. Click Save Declaration of Service for your own records.
4) Attend Case Management Conference
Both you and the Respondent must attend the PTC on the specified date and time. Bring along:
- Your IC (for Singapore citizen / Permanent Resident)
- Passport and Employment Pass (for foreign citizens, if available)
- One set of the Claim, Reply, and any supporting evidence.
During the CMC, the following orders may be made:
- The parties may be ordered to attend mediation
- The parties may be ordered to attend counselling
- A further CMC may be scheduled
- The case may be fixed for a hearing
When the case has been fixed for a hearing, a Notice of Hearing will be issued to the parties informing them of the specified date and time.
If an Order is made, the PHC will prepare the Court Order, which may then be extracted and served on the relevant party according to the directions of the PHC judge.
Filing under standard proceedings
You need to prepare two forms: an Originating Summons (OS) and a Supporting Affidavit for Originating Summons (SA).
You can download the forms here: List of Forms for POHA applications ; or from the self-help kiosks located at the Business Centre (State Courts, Level 2). If you plan to obtain samples of the Forms at the self-help kiosks, you may wish to bring a thumbdrive with you to save your work.
You also need to prepare any supporting evidence. These will be attached to your Supporting Affidavit. Find instructions for preparing evidence here: Instructions on Filing of Documents and Evidence
Affirm your SA
Once you have prepared your documents, you will need to swear that your Supporting Affidavit is true to the best of your knowledge.
Affirmation/Swearing of your SA is done before a Commissioner for Oaths. You can approach a law firm to assist you with the affirmation/swearing of your SA. Alternatively, you can affirm/swear the contents of your SA at Central Registry (State Courts, Level 2). Please take note that affirming/swearing your SA in Court will cost at least S$15.00.
File your documents
Once you have prepared your OS and SA, you will need to file these documents through eLitigation at the CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to formally commence your application. Please note that costs, such as filing fees and service charges, will apply. The location, operating hours and contact numbers of the service bureau is as follows.
LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau (Address & Opening Hours)
After filing claims
If you applied for an interim or expedited order (e.g. EPO, interim stop publication order)
Your application for the interim or expedited order will be fixed for a hearing before a Judge. This hearing will usually be fixed within the next two working days instead of four weeks from the date you filed your claim / application.
If you are represented by a lawyer, you should still remain available to attend Court in person on the hearing date mentioned above.
You do not need to serve a copy of your OS and SA / claim and supporting evidence on the Respondent before the hearing of the application for the interim or expedited order. During the hearing mentioned above, the Judge will give you specific directions for service of your documents, including directions for service of the interim or expedited order should your application be successful.
Please note that interim or expedited orders generally take effect only after they have been served on the Respondent or party against whom they are made.
If you did NOT apply for any interim or expedited orders
You have to serve a copy of your OS and SA on the respondent.
- Service is the formal procedure by which you inform another party that they are being sued, or of any court order issued against them. It must be done through a process server or by any other means directed by the Court.
- After serving your documents on the Respondent, you must file an Memorandum of Service. This must be done within eight days from the date your documents are served on the Respondent.
- The Respondent may file a reply to your application within 14 days of being served with your OS and SA.
You will be asked to attend a Pre-Trial Conference (PTC).
- Your case will generally be fixed for a PTC before a Judge four weeks after your OS and SA are filed. Both you and the Respondent will be required to appear before the Court on the PTC date.
- If either party is a company, limited liability partnership, or unincorporated association, the Rules of Court generally require a qualified lawyer to represent the entity.
- At the PTC, the Judge may refer you and the Respondent(s) for mediation to explore an amicable settlement or counselling. If the case is settled at mediation, the case is concluded. If the matter cannot be amicably resolved, the parties will be given another PTC date, and the case may then be fixed for hearing.
If your case proceeds onto a hearing:
- On the day of the hearing, you must bring along all your documentary evidence, such as photographs, police and/or medical reports, and computer print-outs of harassment online.
- Your witnesses must also be present in Court, unless they have been granted permission to testify by video-link.
- During the hearing, the Judge will make a decision on whether to grant you the Order(s) you applied for.
If your order is granted by the Judge, you must serve it on the Respondent and are recommended to thereafter file an Memorandum of Service. Note that in general, protection and false statement orders take effect only after they have been served on the Respondent.
Can I apply for a Protection Order against an anonymous account?
Yes, you can. You don’t need to find out the real name of the user before applying for a protection order. You can apply for a Protection Order so long as the other person/account can be identified by a unique identifier, such as a Internet location address, website, username or account, or email address. Protection Orders are also binding even if the person behind the account cannot be identified [2, 3]
Can I apply for a Protection Order against multiple accounts?
Protection Orders can be served on multiple accounts 
How long does it take to obtain a PO or EPO?
Between 8 May 2019 and 31 August 2020, the average time between the filing of the application and the application being heard was 9 days for Protection Orders and 4 days for Expedited Protection Orders. 
With the establishment of the Protection from Harassment Court (PHC) from 1 June 2021, hearings are expected to be conducted more quickly. The PHC aims to conduct hearings for Expedited Protection Orders within 48 to 72 hours of the application, or within 24 hours where there is a risk of violence or actual violence. The PHC also aims to hear PO applications within four weeks of the application. 
- Overview of the Protection from Harassment Act
- Types of Civil Remedies Available
- Protection from Harassment Act 2014
About court processes under the Protection from Harassment Court:
- POHA Process Flowchart (PDF, 151KB)
- Overview of court processes in the Protection from Harassment Court (PHC)
- Commencement of the Protection from Harassment Court on 1 June 2021 [Press Release]
About filing a civil application/claim under POHA:
- Filing a Civil Application/Claim under POHA
- Instructions on Filing of Documents and Evidence
- Fees under the Simplified Process
- Frequently Asked Questions
About the Community Justice and Tribunals System:
 Ministry of Law (February 26, 2014). “A new Protection from Harassment Bill to be introduced to strengthen the laws against Harassment” . Retrieved March 29, 2021.
 Ministry of Law (March 13, 2014). “Second Reading Speech by Minister for Law, K Shanmugam, on the Protection from Harassment Bill” . Retrieved March 29, 2021.
 Ministry of Law (May 7, 2019). “Second Reading Speech by Senior Minister of State for Law, Mr Edwin Tong on Protection from Harassment (Amendment) Bill” . Retrieved March 29, 2021.
 Ministry of Law (October 6, 2020)“Written Answer by Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on Cases Handled by Protection from Harassment Courts” . Retrieved March 29, 2021.
 Ministry of Law (May 31, 2021)“Quicker, More Effective Remedies Against Harassment with New Protection from Harassment Court from 1 June 2021”. Retrieved June 7, 2021.