CIArb News

MPs offer proposals to allow UK to thrive as the leading global arbitration and ADR hub

21 Oct 2020

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Alternative Dispute Resolution[1] has released its report, “Securing the UK’s position as a global disputes hub: lessons from Singapore”, setting out proposals which will be of interest to both UK and Singaporean policymakers who are interested in what makes a thriving, vibrant disputes hub. Based on a fact-finding trip to Singapore undertaken last year (and supported by the APPG Secretariat the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators[2]), the report sets out a vision for what it will take to be a leading hub for the management and resolution of disputes in the decades ahead.

Drawing on a range of data, interviews and discussions with disputes professionals, policymakers and business leaders in both countries, the report emphasises the UK’s leading status as a centre for arbitration, mediation and other forms of ADR, but warns against complacency if this position is to be consolidated and maintained. Specifically, it calls for a ‘whole of government’ approach to disputes policy that emphasizes the role of arbitration and ADR in underpinning trade and investment. Their recommendations include:

  • Adopting a ‘whole of government’ approach to policymaking in this area, with a dedicated ‘Minister for Commercial Disputes’
  • Signing up to the Singapore Mediation Convention
  • Promoting a culture of innovation in dispute resolution to better meet the needs of business
  • Utilizing Conflict Avoidance Boards on major public investment projects, including infrastructure
  • Encouraging professionals from non-legal backgrounds to become dispute resolution practitioners

Above all, the report emphasises the importance of taking a pro-active and holistic approach to the UK disputes sector, rather than simply relying on the UK’s prodigious heritage and current impressive status. Furthermore, many of the recommendations in the report are just as relevant to Singapore as they are to the UK, and the report as a whole is intended as an exercise in mutual learning between the two countries.

John Howell MP ACIArb (APPG Chair) said:

“The UK is undoubtedly a global powerhouse in arbitration and ADR, but our status should not be taken for granted. Wat John Spellar and I have sought to achieve with this report is to encourage strategic thinking from both government and ADR practitioners about how the UK needs to enshrine its leadership in this field for the years and decades ahead. Specifically, we think government should be pro-active in promoting the UK as a disputes hub on the world stage, and take practical steps to proliferate the use of ADR for the resolution of commercial disputes”

John Spellar MP (APPG Vice-Chair) said:

“As two democracies committed to the rule of law, the UK and Singapore understand the integral role played by ADR in an effective rule of law framework. We hope our proposals will be of use to both countries as they work to promote the wider use of dispute avoidance and resolution mechanisms in a rapidly changing world. Particularly as we grapple with the implications of COVID-19, it is more important than ever that the ADR sector embraces the spirit of innovation”

Catherine Dixon (Director-General, CIArb) said:

“As Secretariat to the APPG for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), CIArb is proud to have supported the fact-finding visit to Singapore and this report. We are a global professional body with a truly international membership, and as such, believe that the worldwide benefits of ADR should be celebrated. In a spirit of collaboration and mutual learning, the APPG has put forward ideas that the UK and Singapore can learn from in order to continue to develop and thrive as dispute resolution hubs. These proposals will be of interest to all jurisdictions with an interest in and a desire to benefit from ADR.”

For more information contact Lewis Johnston ACIArb (APPG Secretariat): ljohnston@ciarb.org

Notes

[1] All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. The report is not an official publication of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. The views expressed in the report are those of the group.

[2] The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) is a Royal Chartered body and charity established in 1915 with over 17,000 members across the world. It exists to promote and facilitate all forms of alternative dispute resolution as an alternative to litigation. As an international centre of excellence for the practice and profession of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), CIArb is passionate about promoting a harmonious society and helping people and organisations avoid, manage and resolve conflict through a global network of 41 branches in 149 countries. CIArb acts as Secretariat to the APPG for ADR.

Find out more about the APPG Report: The UK and Singapore as Global Disputes Hubs

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