Written answer by Minister for Law, K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal
06 Jan 2020 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Seah Kian Peng (Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC)
To ask the Minister for Law whether the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal (CDRT) has been effective since its formation and what steps can be taken to improve its processes to make it more expedient and to produce outcomes that can be more effectively enforced.
The Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals (CDRT) were established on 1 October 2015. The CDRT is an avenue to a variety of remedies for persons whose enjoyment or use of their place of residence has been unreasonably interfered with by their neighbours.
The CDRT was established as an alternative to other avenues of recourse for disputing neighbours. These other avenues include:
(a) recourse under the criminal law such as filing a Magistrate’s Complaint for offences under the Protection from Harassment Act or Penal Code;
(b) obtaining private law remedies such as injunctions or damages through the tort of private nuisance or applying for a Protection Order; and
- The CDRT processes are designed to be efficient and accessible. It costs $150.00 to file a claim before the CDRT. Simplified procedures are used. Proceedings employ a judge-led approach and representation by lawyers is generally disallowed.
- Between 1 October 2015 and 30 Sep 2019, 349 claims were filed in the CDRT. 319 claims were disposed of by the CDRT within this period. 235 of these claims were resolved amicably - these comprised 167 claims which were withdrawn/discontinued, and 68 claims where Consent Orders were granted. As for the remaining 84 claims that were disposed of, these comprised 38 claims where the CDRT granted orders after trial and 46 claims where the CDRT dismissed/struck off the applications.
- CDRT orders – like any other court orders – are to be taken seriously. If a party does not comply with a CDRT order, the CDRT may issue a Special Direction for the offending party to comply with the order within a specified time. A person who does not comply with a Special Direction commits a criminal offence punishable with a fine of up to $5,000, a term of imprisonment of up to 3 months, or both. Non-compliance can also result in a court order excluding the offending party from his or her place of residence. These are very serious consequences, and rightly so. From 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2019, a total of 15 Special Directions were issued.
- We continue to monitor the effectiveness of the CDRT in dealing with neighbour disputes. If the Member has any specific feedback on how to improve the CDRT’s processes, that is also welcome.
Last updated on 06 Jan 2020