CIArb News

UK Government consults on whether to join the Singapore Mediation Convention

03 Feb 2022

On Wednesday 2 February 2022 the UK Government published a consultation on whether it should sign and ratify the Singapore Mediation Convention, a move that could have a significant impact on the attractiveness of mediation as a mechanism for resolving international commercial disputes.

The Singapore Mediation Convention was negotiated and drafted through the UN Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and is designed to provide a consistent framework for the recognition and enforceability of mediated settlements. It is sometimes referred to as ‘a New York Convention for mediation’, an allusion to the 1958 agreement that underpins the enforceability of arbitral awards.

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) has played a key role in promoting the Mediation Convention since it was introduced in 2019 (coming into force in 2020). Our Report on the UK and Singapore as Global Disputes Hubs, published in partnership with John Howell MP and John Spellar MP of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for ADR, recommended that the UK joins the Convention, and we will engage fully with the Ministry of Justice throughout the consultation process.

Whilst enforceability is arguably less of an issue in international mediation than in arbitration (due to the voluntary nature of mediated settlements), the Mediation Convention nevertheless represents an important development in promoting confidence in mediation as a natural and robust mechanism for resolving disputes. To date 55 countries have signed up to the Convention (with nine having ratified).

CIArb is committed to representing the views of our members.

We encourage all interested members to submit their own responses to the consultation. In addition, if there are any viewpoints you would like to convey to us as we develop our submission, please send them to Lewis Johnston (Director of Policy and External Affairs) at ljohnston@ciarb.org by Friday 25 February 2022. The consultation itself will close on Friday 1 April 2022.

CIArb Director-General Catherine Dixon said:

“CIArb passionately believes in the important role mediation can play in resolving disputes. Mediation can maintain relationships, underpin business confidence and supports economic growth. We’ve seen significant growth in the use of mediation for cross-border commercial disputes in recent years, and the Singapore Mediation Convention is valuable in continuing that trend. CIArb supports ratification of the Convention by the UK which will reinforce confidence in international mediation and thereby increase the use of ADR globally.”

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