17 May 2023
The UK Government signed the Singapore Convention on Mediation (the Convention) on 3 May 2023.
Catherine Dixon, Ciarb’s Director General, says, “The UK Government’s signature of the Convention is a positive step for mediation and dispute resolution. By signing the Convention, the UK Government acknowledges the importance of mediation as a mechanism for resolving international commercial disputes. Ciarb has been a major force in promoting the Convention over the past four years, engaging with the UK Government to encourage it to ratify the Convention and contributing extensively to the consultation process. Our contributions have, at all times, been informed by the views of our global membership.”
The UK Government signalled its intention to become a party to the Convention in March 2023. Ratification will come 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.
Catherine continues, “Ciarb welcomes the UK Government’s support of mediation as an important mechanism in resolving international disputes. Giving confidence to the parties that any settlement reached can be enforced is essential in encouraging the greater use of mediation in cross-border disputes. The UK Government’s signing of the Convention sends an important signal which Ciarb hopes will encourage wider adoption of the Convention globally.”
Ciarb is keen to monitor the impact of the Convention and recognises that it may well take some time for case law in this area to emerge. 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 (May 2023), 56 countries have signed the Convention and 10 countries have ratified it.
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’ - '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.
April 2022 – Ciarb issued its response to the consultation on the Singapore Convention on Mediation.
July 2022 – the UK Government published a consultation on its proposals to increase the use of mediation in the civil justice system.
October 2022 – Ciarb issued its response to the UK consultation on the use of mediation in the civil justice system.
March 2023 – the UK Government commits to sign and ratify the Singapore Convention on Mediation.
About the Singapore Mediation Convention:
The Singapore Mediation Convention (the Convention) is designed to provide a consistent framework for the recognition and enforcement of mediated settlements. It opens the door for the more widespread use of mediation in different jurisdictions and is sometimes referred to as ‘the New York Convention for mediation’, an allusion to the 1958 agreement that underpins the enforceability of arbitral awards.
The Convention 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.
It was negotiated and drafted through the UN Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group II (WGII). Ciarb attends all sessions of UNCITRAL WGII in its capacity as an observer.
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