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Bill on tribunal for neighbours' disputes

The Law Ministry is inviting members of the public to share their views on a draft Bill that will introduce tribunals to resolve community disputes quickly and affordably.

They can give their feedback till Nov 30.

The proposed tribunals will serve as an adjudication mechanism of last resort, if other means of intervention fail.

The pre-hearing processes for such tribunals will be kept to a minimum so that hearings can be fixed quickly.

The hearings will involve a judge, but there will be no lawyers unless both parties agree to it and the tribunal permits it.

Extreme cases of community disputes often result in costly and time-consuming civil or criminal court cases now.

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

A public consultation earlier this year had shown that a majority of respondents supported having such a tribunal as a last resort.

ANOTHER BILL

The ministry 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.

Different laws now cover the type of recourse available to someone who has a dispute with his neighbour because of excessive noise, littering and so on.

The new law would entail remedies such as ordering neighbours to pay damages, refrain from doing something, or provide an apology.

The proposed Bills and the e-mail address for feedback are available on the ministry's website.

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