The Singapore Convention on Mediation: open for signature from 7 August 2019

01 August 2019
Author: Lucy Needle

Following several years’ effort by a working group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), including with input from as many as 85 countries and 35 Non-Governmental Organisations, a draft legal framework for international commercial mediation has been concluded. The framework consists of a Convention on the Enforcement of Mediation Settlements (together with a corresponding Model Law) which is understood to be named the Singapore Mediation Convention.

The initiative, which stemmed from a concern as to the enforceability of mediated settlements, aims to remove the potentially lengthy and difficult processes that parties who participate in an international meditation might currently face when attempting to enforce the outcome in a foreign jurisdiction (such a process would typically involve first obtaining a court judgment before any necessary enforcement procedures).

Consequently, the aim of the Convention is to implement an international regime for the enforcement of mediated settlements that is broadly similar to the successful 1958 New York Convention for the enforcement of arbitral awards and which will make it easier for businesses to enforce mediated settlement agreements with their cross-border counterparts. It is hoped that this will increase the credibility, and therefore attraction, of mediation for international parties.

The Convention will be open for signature from 7 August 2019 and it is understood that representatives from at least 50 countries across the globe will be attending the ceremony which is to be held in Singapore. Of these countries, around half (including the USA and China) have indicated that they will sign the Convention. It will then come into force once it has been ratified by at least three of the signatories.

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