The Singapore Convention on Mediation: signed by 46 countries in Singapore

16 August 2019
Author: Lucy Needle

On Wednesday, 46 countries signed the Singapore Convention on Mediation at a ceremony attended by over 1,500 delegates at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. As reported earlier this month, the Convention, which is officially titled The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, aims to address the lack of harmonised framework for cross-border enforcement of settlements procured by mediation.

The full text of the Convention, which can be found here, was approved by the UN Commission on International Trade Law in June last year and was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December.

Among the Convention’s signatories are the USA, China, and Singapore, and the complete list of signatories can be found here. Notably, neither the UK nor any members of the European Union are among them. Despite this, there is something to be said for the enthusiasm of countries in Asia-Pacific (being the majority of the signatories) and their engagement with the project. This, along with various other initiatives being taken by such countries, in particular, Singapore’s commitment to investing in its dispute resolution infrastructure, could pose a serious threat to London’s dominant position in the world of international commercial dispute resolution.

Despite this, it is hoped by many across the globe that the Convention will be as much as a success for cross-border mediation as the New York Convention was for arbitration. Given that (a) the Convention will only come into force six months after it has been ratified by three signatories, and (b) each state must then adopt it into their domestic laws before it can be applicable, it will be some time before the impact of the Convention can be accurately determined.

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