More help on the cards for feuding neighbours

The Government is considering empowering a body to make it compulsory for some neighbours locked in dispute to go for mediation.

This body may also be able to prosecute people who do not follow orders set out after mediation, said Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong.

This is to strenghten the community dispute resolution framework to deal with especially difficult cases, where currently going for mediation is voluntary.

"We are looking at how to have a more robust community resolution framework. One which will give recourse to residents that are dealing with some very frustrating cases, but will not undermine the community's efforts to solve their own problems. So we are trying to find the right balance," he said to reporters at the sidelines of a ministerial visit to Admiralty ward on Sunday.

The Government is studying systems in other places such as Britain and Hong Kong, and also looking at local examples to have a better understanding of the disputes.

While there is no specific timeline, he said that the Government will be studying how to put this in place "over the next few months".

The idea of a tougher framework for settling neighbourly disputes was first raised by Law Minister K. Shanmugam last August.

Besides strengthening the legal framework, Mr Shanmugam has said that another approach could be to develop norms of conduct between neigbours.

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