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Govt Considering Framework For Resolving Neighbourly Disputes
Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1237114/1/.html
Source Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Country: Singapore
Created: Nov 14, 2012

SINGAPORE: The government is considering an effective framework for resolving disputes between neighbours that goes beyond what has been traditionally available in law.

Minister for Law K Shanmugam said developing norms of neighbourly conduct and encouraging residents to abide by these norms are two approaches which are being assessed.

In August this year, Mr Shanmugam floated an idea for some form of legal framework to deal with disputes between neighbours on his Facebook page.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Shanmugam said the traditional legal framework may however not be most appropriate or adequate for dealing with disputes between neighbours.

The legal process can at times be too drawn out and adversarial in nature.

Mr Shanmugam said it is important to strengthen the community mediation process.

He said: "Volunteers are trained as mediators. They try to bring parties together, to reach a common understanding. We have had a good rate of success -- about 70 per cent of the cases get successfully mediated. And a few hundred cases have been mediated every year since 2009.

"The weakness or the drawback in mediation is that it's voluntary. If one party doesn't want to come for the mediation there is not much you can do."

- CNA/xq
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