Singapore: Singapore Convention On Mediation 2019: Embarking On A New Era In Alternative Dispute Resolution

Last Updated: 9 August 2019
Article by Yvonne Foo

On 7 August 2019, Singapore hosted the signing ceremony for the "Singapore Convention on Mediation", which is the first United Nations treaty to be named after Singapore. Since the United Nations General Assembly passed the resolution on 20 December 2018, there have been mixed reactions from the public to the introduction of this Convention.

What can we expect from the Singapore Convention on Mediation?

Enforceable Mediated Agreements

Unless provided for by legislation or otherwise,1 one of the current challenges is that the mediated agreements usually have to be enforced in the same way as any other contract. That is to say, a claim will have to be brought against the non-conforming party on the basis of the mediated agreement, i.e. a contract, and in accordance with the dispute resolution mechanism set out in the mediated agreement. Although suing on a mediated agreement is relatively straightforward (given that the complex legal and/ or factual disputes would have been addressed and subsumed under the mediated agreement), it is still a hassle to have to commence a claim either in the courts or by arbitration in order to enforce a mediated agreement against the defaulting party.

Currently, the Arb-Med-Arb process in Singapore administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre ("SIAC") is a potential option to avoid the issue described above.2 In this process, an arbitration is first commenced, but parties will subsequently attempt to resolve the dispute by mediating at the Singapore International Mediation Centre ('SIMC") in accordance with the SIAC-SIMC Arb-Med-Arb Protocol. If mediation results in a settlement, the parties may be able to enter a consent arbitral award on the terms agreed at the mediation. Such an award could then be enforceable in the 159 member states of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958. There is however the risk (albeit negligible) under this procedure that a Tribunal may refuse its discretion to enter into such award despite the parties' request3.

The Singapore Convention on Mediation would be a welcome change for those with difficulties enforcing a mediated agreement. It allows mediated agreements to be enforced directly by the competent authority in any of the member countries to the Convention.4

It also allows a party to the mediated settlement to rely on the mediated agreement, in a member country to the Convention, to prove that the matter has already been resolved.5 Under the Convention, mediated agreements could be used as a form of deterrence against spurious or frivolous subsequent proceedings which an innocent party would otherwise have no choice but to spend good monies defending.

Increased Awareness of Mediation

With the on-going hype about mediation, awareness about using mediation as an alternative dispute resolution tool will inevitably be heightened. Jurisdictions which do not already use mediation may be encouraged to carefully consider how mediation may be effectively deployed for resolving disputes.

For example, commercial mediation has not taken off in a big way in the Middle East where local circumstances have made it a challenging alternative dispute mechanism to use – persons with the requisite authority are required to attend the mediation, there is a general shortage of trained professionals to administer the mediation etc. However, in the UAE, interest in mediation has recently sprouted on the ground with the UAE Federal Law Number 17 of 2016 being passed for the establishment of mediation and conciliation centres for civil and commercial disputes and a wider range of mediation training courses being offered including by the DIFC Academy of Law and the Chartered Institute of Arbitration.

What is required to ensure mediation takes root is however not only better awareness of mediation as an effective alternative dispute resolution mechanism, but in parallel, an adaptation and customization of mediation to suit local needs. It could be that in jurisdictions especially where complex and prolonged disputes have traditionally been required to be fought out "tooth and nail", people may find that mediation is actually a good alternative that could be culture-appropriate, cost effective, allows better control over the outcome and is good for preserving commercial relationships especially where commercial considerations such as future partnering opportunities are aplenty in the jurisdictions which are fast growing their economies and infrastructure.

Greater Use of Mediation Internationally

The Singapore Convention on Mediation is also expected to provide a uniform and efficient framework which encourages harmonization of the enforcement of mediated agreements internationally. This will then give businesses greater certainty that mediated settlement agreements can be relied upon to resolve cross-border commercial disputes. The potential for the use of mediation in international projects may thus develop exponentially alongside a continuously growing global economy.

Countries who sign up to the Convention early will therefore likely be seen as the leaders in this new era of (alternative) dispute resolution, which are committed to enhancing the dispute resolution options available to projects which it or its businesses participate in.

A New Era of Alternative Dispute Resolution

With the growth of international trade and projects which see diverse global participation, the Singapore Convention on Mediation is timely to provide a vote of confidence and to increase credibility for the "teeth" that mediation could have in terms of enforceability. However, this can only grow if the number of member countries to the Convention grows to a substantial number. This remains to be seen.

The Singapore Convention on Mediation has been touted as the mediation-equivalent of the widely acclaimed New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. We therefore look forward to what the Convention will bring to not only the mediation arena, but also how it could change the dispute resolution preferences around the world in the near future.


[1] For example in Singapore, where a mediated settlement agreement may be recorded as an order of court pursuant to Section 12 of the Mediation Act 2017.

[2] Note that the Singapore Convention on Mediation will likely not be applicable to settlement agreements which are recorded and enforceable as an arbitral award, such as in the case of a settlement agreement reached through an SIAC-SIMC Arb-Med-Arb process.

[3] See paragraph 9 of the SIAC-SIMC Arb-Med-Arb Protocol which provides that "In the event of a settlement of the dispute by mediation between the parties, SIMC shall inform the Registrar of SIAC that a settlement has been reached. If the parties request the Tribunal to record their settlement in the form of a consent award, the parties or the Registrar of the SIAC shall refer the settlement agreement to the Tribunal and the Tribunal may render a consent award on the terms agreed to by the parties."

[4] See Article 3(1) of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation.

[5] See Article 3(2) of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions