03 Mar 2023
The UK Government’s decision on 2 March 2023 to become a party to the Singapore Convention on Mediation (the Convention) recognises the importance of mediation as a mechanism for resolving international commercial disputes.
Catherine Dixon, Ciarb’s Director General, says, “The UK Government’s decision to become a party to the Convention is an excellent outcome for mediation and the dispute resolution sector and one that Ciarb has lobbied for over a number of years. Ciarb has played a key role in promoting the Convention since its introduction in 2019 including by engaging with the UK Government to encourage the UK to become a party to the Convention. We therefore warmly welcome the Government’s stated commitment to become a party to the Convention.”
Catherine continues, “Confidence that mediated settlements can be enforced internationally is crucial to enabling and encouraging effective dispute resolution globally. Ciarb has contributed extensively to support the UK Ministry of Justice on how to embed mediation more effectively into the UK justice system. Our input, at all times, has been informed by the views of our international membership.”
The Convention is an important vehicle for promoting the wider use of mediation and, with its commitment to the Convention now confirmed, the UK Government will become an important strategic partner in supporting the adoption of mediation globally.
We encourage Ciarb members to contact us if you are aware of any cases of parties seeking enforcement under the Convention at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which other countries have signed the Convention?
To date (March 2023), 55 countries have signed the Convention and 10 countries have ratified it.
What happens next?
The UK Government will sign the convention as soon as possible. Its commitment will take time to reach the statute books. The Government will then work to ratify at a later date, once all necessary implementing legislation is in place and after the convention has been laid before Parliament under the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.
An overview of Ciarb’s involvement in this development
April 2019 - The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Alternative Dispute Resolution (APPG ADR) held an evidence session in Parliament on the topic of ‘London’s future as an international dispute resolution hub’.
August 2019 - John Howell MP, John Spellar MP and members of Ciarb led the APPG ADR fact-finding trip to Singapore to understand how ADR operates there.
September 2019 – Ciarb published the article Singapore Mediation Convention: Is the Rule of Law Intact? by Justice Datuk Dr. Hj Hamid Sultan bin Abu Backer FCIArb.
Autumn 2019 - Ciarb published the Report on the UK and Singapore as Global Disputes Hubs, in partnership with John Howell MP and John Spellar MP of the APPG ADR.
February 2022 – the UK Government launched its consultation and Ciarb encouraged all interested members to submit responses to the consultation and to help inform Ciarb’s submission.
October 2022 – Ciarb issued its response to the UK mediation consultation.
About the Singapore Mediation Convention
The Singapore Mediation Convention (the 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 enforcement of mediated settlements.
The Convention opens the door for the more widespread use of mediation in different jurisdictions. It enables a party that has mediated their dispute to enforce the resulting cross-border mediated agreement in any country that is party to the convention without needing to commence an action for breach of contract.
The Convention is sometimes referred to as ‘the New York Convention for mediation’, an allusion to the 1958 agreement that underpins the enforceability of arbitral awards.
Support and resources
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