During court proceedings, the paramount consideration of the court remains to be the child’s welfare, and best interest. This is stated within section 125(2) of the Women’s Charter 1961, and section 3 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1934. Therefore, the court takes into account the wishes of the child within the matter, where they are of an age to provide an independent opinion.

In addition, in accordance to Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (where Singapore is a state party), Singapore shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views, the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

Children providing Evidence

Generally, it is not uncommon for a child to provide evidence.

In accordance to Singapore’s Evidence Act 1893, all persons are competent to testify unless the court considers that they are prevented from understanding the questions put to them or from giving rational answers to those questions by tender years, extreme old age, disease, whether of body or mind, or any other cause of the same kind. However, there is no expressed age limit for a child (or minor) to give a testimony.

Admissibility of Children’s Affidavits

Previously, children’s wishes were recorded and submitted to the court in the form of evidence through an affidavit or by interviews conducted and observations made by counsellors.

Where the child is not interviews by the court, or a court-appointed specialist, their views and wishes are recorded within the parties’ respective affidavits, or an affidavit filed by the child.

Children are able to file their own affidavits with regard to the matter. However, it is not advisable for them to do so, as the court is of the opinion that children should not be unnecessarily involved in the proceedings, and not affirm any affidavit unless necessary. This is clearly preferable, when considering how children within the matter should limit their exposure to the turbulency of proceedings, as it manifests itself into detrimental effects in their own mental health, growth, and even their relationships with the parties’ in the long run. 

As noted by Honourable Justice Debbie Ong, a parent should “not let the children suffer the conflict of loyalty and other sorts of stress, or burden them with (the parties’) own issues”.

However, where a child is old enough to express their views independently, he or she might voluntarily wish to do so. Regardless, it is advisable for practitioners and parties to tread cautiously and continuously assess the situation, to consider if it would be in the best interest for the child to provide an affidavit.

It is generally more preferable for a child to be interviewed by the court, a neutral party.

Where you might require more advice and consultancy about your case and the legal procedures, it is ideal to consult a lawyer for guidance and representation. Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, family disputes to high-profile criminal cases. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarj