1.    What is CDRT

On 13th March 2015, an Act (i.e. COMMUNITY DISPUTES RESOLUTION ACT 2015) to facilitate the resolution of community disputes was passed by Parliament and assented to by the President on 21st April 2015. The Act provide a statutory tort for community disputes and establishes the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals (CDRT) as part of the State Courts to hear cases involving intractable disputes between neighbors, after all efforts including community mediation have exhausted. The CDRTs are specialized courts that will only hear claims between neighbors over issues related to the enjoyment or use of places of residences.

2.    Why CDRT Exist

The Government of Singapore conducted a nationwide public consultation between 9th March 2014 to 21st April 2014 to gather public views on ways of encouraging good neighborliness and how to improve management of disputes between neighbours. The majority of respondents supported the initiative of a Tribunal to adjudicate the most difficult cases. On 13rd March 2015, Parliament passed the Community Disputes Resolution Bill, after the Bill’s Second Reading by Minister Lawrence Wong. 4And as of mid-Feb. 2016, nearly 30 spats between neighbors head to CDRT.

3.    How Do I Apply For a Tribunal Order?

a.     To file for a tribunal order against a neighbour, you will need to:

  1. Ensure that the neighbor either lives in the same building as you, or lives within 100-metre radius of your residence.
  1. Ensure the neighbour is causing unreasonable interference or act of nuisance to you. Examples include:
  • Causing excessive noise, smell, smoke, light or vibration
  • Causing excessive noise, smell, smoke, light or vibration;
  • Littering at or in the vicinity of your place of residence;
  • Obstructing your place of residence;
  • Interfering with your movable property;
  • Conducting surveillance on you or your place of residence, where the surveillance is done at or in the vicinity of your place of residence;
  • Trespassing on your place of residence;
  • Allowing his animal to trespass on your place of residence, to cause excessive noise or smell, or to defecate or urinate at or in the vicinity of your place of residence.
  1. You have the necessary evidence to justify the claim. Examples include:
  • Photographs;
  • Video recordings;
  • Audio recordings;
  • CCTV footages;
  • Contemporaneous record stating the date, time, frequency, type and severity of interference;
  • Letters or notes that have been exchanged between your neighbour and you;
  • Letters inviting your neighbour or you to attend mediation on previous occasions;
  • Previous mediation settlement agreements;
  • Letters from other government agencies such as the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), Building and Construction Authority (BCA), Housing & Development Board (HDB), Land Transport Authority (LTA), National Environmental Agency (NEA), PUB, Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore Police Force (SPF), Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) etc.;
  • Medical reports; or
  • Police reports etc.

b.    To file for a tribunal order against a neighbour, you will need to:

File your claim at the Community Justice and Tribunals Division (“CJTD”) at Level 1 of State Courts. You will need to provide the followings:

After filing your Claim and evidence, you must service a copy of Your Claim and evidence on your neighbour within 14 days. Your neighbour has 14 days from the date of receiving your Claim and evidence to object to or contest the claim. A Pre-Trial Conference date will be given for you and/or your neighbour to attend before the Judge.

  • Attend the hearing. If you and your neighbour are unable to resolve the dispute, you and your neighbour may be directed for a trial and receive a notice on the time and place of the hearing.
  • Issuance of Order. At the hearing, the Judge may issue an Order. The Judge can make a range of orders, including damages, an order to do something or not to do something, and an apology.

4.     What If My Neighbour Breaches the Order?

In the situation where your neighbour refused to adhere to the Tribunal Order, you can apply for a Special Direction for your neighbour to comply with the order.

You will need to provide the followings:

  • A copy of the disobeyed order
  • Any supporting evidence to prove what you stated in the application form

You will have to serve a copy of the application on your neighbour within 14 days, after which you must file a declaration of service within 8 days. Your neighbour has 14 days from the date of receiving your application either to object or contest your application.

A Pre-Trial Conference will be conducted for both you and your neighbour. The Judge may call for another hearing to determine fi the breach of an Order had indeed taken place before issuing a Special Direction.

A breach of Special Direction can amount to a criminal offence with a maximum fine of $5,000 or up to 3 month’s imprisonment or both.

5.     What are the fees?

  • Filling an application: $150
  • Hearing: $0 for first day, $100 for second & third days, $250 per day thereafter.

6.     How Dropnoise Can Help?

Whether you win the claim against your neighbour depends on the evidence you presented to justify your claim. At Dropnoise, we use specialized commercial equipment to help you measure, monitor, record and analyze the noise nuisances in the form of raw data in decibels. From the raw data we recorded, detailed analysis of the severity of the noise nuisance can be analyzed. With valid evidence to justify your claim, you will therefore stand a better chance to win the claim and implement the Tribunal Order for your neighbour to abide by.

Not sure what are the data we recorded? Get a copy of our sample report today!

References:

  1. https://www.statecourts.gov.sg/CDRT/Pages/CDRT-Process.aspx
  2. http://www.noisyneighboursingapore.com/wp-admin/upload.php?item=733
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