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What is the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act

Under the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), the POFMA Office can issue directions or declarations to counter online falsehoods. Find out more on the POFMA Office's website.

Examples of directions or declarations that may be issued include:

  • Correction directions: to provide a notice that the statement is false or a notice that refers to a statement of fact, or both (1).
  • Stop communication directions: to stop communicating the false statement (2).
  • Directions to internet intermediaries (such as Google, Facebook or Twitter) and providers of mass media services: to correct or disable access to a false statement (3).
  • Directions to internet intermediaries: to shut down any fake accounts and bots on its platforms (4).
  • Declaration of online locations (5).

Refer to the POFMA for more information.

When to appeal to the court

If you received a POFMA direction or declaration, you can appeal to the High Court only after both of the following have occurred:

You must file the appeal within 14 days after the Minister's decision to refuse your application.

If you file the appeal, you are the appellant.

Note
Companies, limited liability partnerships (LLPs) or unincorporated associations must be represented by a lawyer in the appeal.

Estimated fees

You must pay both court fees and hearing fees to appeal.

Court fees

The court filing fees include:

Item or service

Fee

File the Originating Summons

$200

File an affidavit (including exhibits)

  • (Up to 10 pages) $10
  • (More than 10 pages) $1 per page

Note: This table does not include additional fees payable to the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

Refer to the relevant court fees in Appendix B of the Rules of Court.

Hearing fees

The hearing fees vary depending on how long the case takes:

Days 1 to 3

No fees

Day 4

$6,000

Day 5

$2,000

Day 6-10

$3,000 per day

Subsequent days

$5,000 per day

Note: If you are unable to pay the fees, you may request a waiver or refund of the fees. This can be done at the appeal hearing, or by submitting a written request no later than 1 month after the appeal. The court will decide whether to waive or refund all or part of the fees.

How to file an appeal

Follow these steps to file an appeal in the General Division of the High Court:

File the following documents via eLitigation:

You may choose to file personally or through a lawyer. If you are not represented by a lawyer, you need to file in person at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

If you are represented by a lawyer, the documents will be filed by your lawyer. Refer to this Step-by-step guide to filing a POFMA appeal for filing online through eLitigation.

When: either on the day of filing or the next working day, depending on what time you filed

After you file your OS and supporting affidavit, go to the Supreme Court Legal Registry (located at Level 2 of the Supreme Court) to request a hearing date for the appeal. You will need to attend before the duty registrar. At the Legal Registry, take a queue number to see the duty registrar.

When you do so depends on what time you filed your OS:

If you filed...

Attend...

Within office hours of the Legal Registry

On the day itself

After office hours of the Legal Registry

On the next working day

The court will set the hearing date of the appeal on the 6th working day after one of the following dates, whichever is later:

  • After you attend before the duty registrar.
  • The date the OS and supporting affidavit are accepted by the registry.
Example
If you attend before the duty registrar on 2 January, and your OS and supporting affidavit is accepted on 3 January, then your hearing will be 6 working days from 3 January.

Note: If you do not attend before the duty registrar within the timeline, the registrar may schedule a pre-trial conference or a hearing date as the registrar deems fit. The hearing date of the appeal will be at least 6 working days after the OS and supporting affidavit are accepted by the registry. If you are unable to attend court on the scheduled date, you may request to change the court date, subject to the court's approval.

If you filed via the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau, the Service Bureau will inform you to return there to collect the accepted copies of the OS and supporting affidavit after the court has scheduled the hearing date.

When: by noon of the next working day after your documents are accepted by the registry

You can serve the OS and supporting affidavit on the Attorney-General in any of these ways:

Electronically

Email the documents to AGC_POFMA@agc.gov.sg or serve via eLitigation.

If you are serving through eLitigation, indicate so when you file at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau.

In person

Leave a copy of the documents in an envelope marked "POFMA Appeal" at the reception counter of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

You must file an affidavit of service or a registrar’s certificate of service via eLitigation within 2 working days after the date of service on the Attorney-General.

After you file the appeal

The Minister may file and serve an affidavit in response to yours within 3 working days after the date of service on the Attorney-General.

After this, no more affidavits can be filed or served without the approval of the court.

The court can still proceed with the appeal even if you do not appear at the hearing.

If the appeal is successful, the court will set aside the POFMA direction or declaration. You no longer need to comply with it.

If the appeal is unsuccessful, the court will confirm the POFMA direction or declaration. You must comply with it or you may be charged for non-compliance.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

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