Pursuing Civil Claims for Foreign Domestic Workers in Singapore and From Abroad: A Practitioner’s Manual (3rd Edition) – [ENGLISH]

Published on: November 26, 2018 Language: English Type: Practitioner's Manuals

The Third Edition includes the latest changes in the law plus additional content affecting Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW’s). The new title reflects this edition’s shift in focus to this population of workers. The change reflects the expertise we have developed with a caseload focused on FDW’s.

Changes in this Edition include:
– A new section on contractual breaches specific to FDWs;
– An expanded look at the torts that might be committed against FDWs;
– New sections on Illegal Deployment and the Overcharging of Agency Fees;
– A new section on Evidence Collection and other practical considerations

Our Hong Kong Practitioner’s Manual is Also Available for Free.

Foreign domestic workers who are victims of exploitation and human trafficking in Singapore struggle to bring claims against their abusers. Many cannot stay in the country to seek legal action, and going home almost always means going without compensation. Unscrupulous employers and brokers thus get away with theft or worse.

JWB has developed comprehensive legal resources in Singapore and Hong Kong on how to identify, develop and bring civil claims against exploiters even after such workers have returned home. These guides help caseworkers abroad and in clients’ home countries screen cases for potential legal claims, while helping host country lawyers prepare litigation for their clients.

Together, these products seek to help bridge the gap between legal aid abroad and victims at home, enabling workers to get help wherever they happen to be.

The Third Edition was published in November 2018, with Bahasa Indonesia translation to come. The Second Edition has been translated into Bahasa Indonesia, available here.

The Singapore Practitioner’s Manual was the product of countless hours of work by pro bono lawyers, law students and other volunteers. Please consider a donation in support of JWB’s programmes for migrant workers when you download the Manual. Our suggested donation levels in USD are:

Publication Patron: $100
Publication Sponsor: $75
Publication Supporter: $50
Or give an amount that’s right for you

Download the Singapore Practitioner’s Manual in English


JWB’s Practitioner’s Manuals seek to help those returning home to bring claims against their abusers in Singapore or Hong Kong. Gathering the experiences and know-how of local and international lawyers and advocates in the field, the manuals guide legal and non-legal service providers through the process of seeking just compensation in Singapore or Hong Kong courts on behalf of exploited migrant workers. Topics include:

What legal remedies are available for the most common forms of exploitation?

From non-payment of wages to battery and sexual assault, the Practitioner’s Manuals describe in detail what can be claimed in Singapore and Hong Kong courts.

How to bring these claims when a victim returns home?

Many procedural and logistic hurdles stand between a victim and just compensation. The Practitioner’s Manuals map out these roadblocks and explains what is needed to overcome them.

How to find a partner in the client’s home country—or in Singapore?

For lawyers and NGO advocates in Singapore and Hong Kong, finding a reliable partner in the victim’s home community is vital to keeping in contact and continuing the case in the victim’s absence. The Practitioner’s Manuals describe the key organisations and individuals that advocates can reach out to, whether in Indonesia, the Philippines, or elsewhere. For advocates in the victim’s home country, finding a partner in Singapore or Hong Kong is vital for helping returnees pursue their claims from abroad.

Hear from JWB’s Senior Pro Bono Legal Fellows about the production of the Practitioner’s Manual’s first edition.