Written answer by Minister for Law, K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on neighbour disputes
5 Aug 2019 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC)
To ask the Minister for Law (a) how many unresolved neighbour disputes have been brought from the Community Mediation Centre (CMC) to the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals (CDRT) so far; and (b) how many orders of damages and their amounts, injunctions, specific performances, apologies and other orders have been issued by the CDRT since its establishment.
Mediation at the Community Mediation Centre (CMC) is generally a voluntary process. It is most effective when the disputing neighbours are willing to work together with the mediator to resolve their dispute. When one neighbour decides not to participate in the mediation process, or when the mediation is unsuccessful, a complainant may seek redress through the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals (CDRT) as a measure of last resort. The CMC itself does not refer cases to the CDRT (though it may advise certain complainants to do so).
The CDRT does not track data on whether neighbour disputes have been mediated at the CMC, before an application is made to the CDRT.
On the other hand, the CDRT does refer claims to the Community Mediation Centre for mandatory mediation, and has done so in 82 cases, or about 25% of the cases that have come before it so far. This accords with the approach that the CDRT is meant to be an avenue of last resort and that neighbours should first attempt amicable resolution of any disputes that may arise by seeking assistance from public agencies, or grassroots or community leaders. A solution that is reached by mutual agreement of the parties is more likely to be sustained.
The CDRT has received a total of 324 applications between its establishment on 1 October 2015 and 30 June 2019. Orders were made in 94 of those applications. However, we do not track data on the specific number of orders that relate to damages, injunctions, specific performances, or apologies.
Last updated on 06 Aug 2019