Public invited to share their views on new laws to protect residents

SINGAPORE - The Law Ministry (Minlaw) is inviting members of the public to share their views on a draft Bill that will introduce tribunals to resolve community disputes affordably and swiftly.

The consultation period for feedback on the proposed Bills starts from Monday till Nov 30.

The proposed tribunals will serve as an adjudication mechanism of last resort, after other means of intervention have been attempted and failed.

Among other features, the pre-hearing processes for such tribunals will be kept minimal to allow for hearings to be fixed quickly. Hearings will be judge-led and kept informal, and lawyers will not be allowed to represent parties unless they agree to it and the tribunal permits it.

Currently, extreme cases of community disputes often result in costly and time consuming civil or criminal court cases.

Such cases are likely to permanently damage relations amongst neighbours and negatively affect the sense of community in the broader neighbourhood, Minlaw said.

A public consultation from March to April by the Government - to seek views on how to encourage good neighbourliness and improve management of disputes between neighbours - showed that a majority of respondents supported having such a tribunal as a last resort.

Minlaw is also inviting members of the public to give feedback on a draft Civil Law (Amendment) Bill, which will allow a person to seek redress when he is disturbed at home.

Currently, different laws dictate the type of recourse available to someone who has a dispute with his neighbour because of excessive noise, littering or other reasons.

The Town Councils Act covers HDB residents, while the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act is relevant for condominium residents.

The new law would entail remedies that are not dependent on the type of property a person resides in. It would include ordering neighbours to pay for damages, refrain from doing something, or provide an apology.

The proposed Bills are available on the Law Ministry's website at https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/content/minlaw/en/news/public-consultations/publ....

Members of the public can share their views on the draft Bills at MLAW_Consultation@mlaw.gov.sg, or submit their feedback in hard copy to the Ministry.