Medical Certificates Issued to Patients Who Are Medically Unfit to Attend Court/Judicial Proceedings

(Based on an extract from the Subordinate Courts Practice Direction No. 3 of 1997)

The Registrar of the Subordinate Courts has requested the SMA to inform its members that a medical certificate seeking to excuse a patient (accused, witness, party to a civil/family/other proceedings) or any advocate and solicitor/prosecutor) from court/judicial proceedings in the Subordinate Courts should:

  1. clearly identify the name of the medical practitioner who issued the certificate and the name of the hospital or clinic from which it was issued;
  2. bear the full signature of the medical practitioner and not just his initials;
  3. be authenticated by a rubber stamp showing the medical practitioner's full name and particulars;
  4. contain the diagnosis of the patient concerned (unless the diagnosis cannot be/should not normally be disclosed);
  5. contain a statement to the effect that the patient is medically unfit to attend court/judiciary proceedings;
  6. clearly specify the period and the date(s) that the patient would be medically unfit to attend court/judicial proceedings; and
  7.  in all cases, contain particulars which are clearly and legibly printed.

The requirements of the Registrar of Subordinate Courts are consistent with those stated in the circular dated 3 March 1994 from the Singapore Medical Council, a copy of which is attached.

If any information required in (4) to (6) listed above is not spelt out in the medical certificate and/or where the doctor wishes to explain or elaborate to the Court the condition or incapacity of the patient, a memorandum should be annexed to the medical certificate.

The memorandum should be addressed to the Judge or Magistrate of either the Subordinate Courts or Supreme Courts, whichever is applicable and NOT "To whom it may concern".

If the patient is unable to furnish the name of the Judge or the Magistrate, the memorandum could be addressed to "The Judge/Magistrate of Subordinate Courts" or "The Judge/Magistrate of Supreme Courts", whichever is applicable.

If the requirements listed in this circular are NOT complied with, the judge/registrar may DECLINE TO EXCUSE the non-attendance of the patient.