Oral Answer by SPS Rahayu Mahzam to PQ on Whether the CDRT Can Be Empowered to Make Recommendations or Require Medical Assessments for the Claimant and Respondent Involved in a Dispute
14 Feb 2023 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Dr Tan Wu Meng (Member of Parliament for Jurong GRC)
To ask the Minister for Law whether the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals can be empowered to make recommendations or require medical assessments for the claimant and respondent involved in a dispute should there be a substantial cause to believe that the respective individual is suffering from a significant medical condition which may lead to harm to themselves or others if left untreated.
- The CDRT takes a multi-faceted approach to managing cases where there is reason to believe that a party may be suffering from a medical condition, that may have contributed to a neighbour dispute.
- In appropriate cases, the CDRT may require court psychologists and counsellors from the State Courts’ Centre for Specialist Services (“CSS”) to make a preliminary assessment of an individual’s mental health, if there are signs to suggest that the individual may have an underlying mental health condition. If the individual refuses to attend the counselling session, the CDRT may require the individual to attend counselling.
- The CSS can then provide input to the Judge on whether the individual would benefit from a referral to a psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health. In appropriate cases, the CSS may also encourage the individual to approach one of the Family Service Centres or the Agency for Integrated Care to seek referrals for medical care or social services.
- Depending on the nature of the case, the CDRT can require the attendance of a party’s family member during the court proceedings, and encourage the relevant party to seek treatment for the medical condition.
- In cases that proceed to trial, the CDRT may issue an order requiring a respondent to cease his or her acts of unreasonable interference. If this order is not complied with, the CDRT may then also issue a Special Direction to the respondent requiring compliance. In addition to issuing a Special Direction, the CDRT can also require a third party to enter into a compliance bond, which may be forfeited if the respondent breaches the Special Direction. A compliance bond may contain conditions, such as requiring the person who put up the bond – for example, a family member of the respondent – to ensure that the respondent undergoes medical assessment and treatment.
- If the respondent continues to engage in acts of unreasonable interference and breaches the Special Direction, then this is an offence. If convicted, the sentencing court may, if appropriate, issue a Mandatory Treatment Order to the respondent.
- An inter-agency committee is currently reviewing the Community Dispute Management Framework. As part of this review, the Committee is studying how to better address neighbour disputes that may be due, at least in some part, to the mental health condition of a resident, including whether the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals should be empowered to make mandatory treatment orders. The Committee will provide more details of the review in due course.
Last updated on 14 February 2023