Singapore Convention on Mediation: China, US and 44 others sign treaty on cross-border commercial mediation
China, the United States and forty-four other nations have signed the Singapore Convention on Mediation. This is an agreement which could make it easier to settle cross-border commercial disputes. Officials from a total of seventy countries attended the signing ceremony in Singapore on Wednesday. It has been named after the Southeast Asian city-state, for its efforts in drafting and negotiating the treaty. Miro Lu reports.
A landmark event for dispute resolution, as 46 United Nations members signed an international treaty on commercial mediation.
To be known as the Singapore Convention on Mediation, it aims to boost international trade, and give businesses greater certainty by helping parties resolve cross-border disputes through the process of mediation.
This means that a neutral party can help the two sides reach an agreement in a less confrontational manner, instead of long drawn and expensive legal battles.
During his formal address, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called it a breakthrough which will benefit businesses, providing them with greater flexibility and efficiency.
LEE HSIEN LOONG SINGAPOREAN PRIME MINISTER "The Singapore Convention on Mediation is the missing third piece in the international dispute resolution enforcement framework. Businesses will benefit from greater flexibility, efficiency and lower costs, while states can enhance access to justice by facilitating the enforcement of mediated agreements."
The United Nations representative, Stephen Mathias termed the treaty as innovative, adding that it will ensure the global acceptance of mediation as a dispute settlement mechanism.
STEPHEN MATHIAS ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR LEGAL AFFAIRS UNITED NATIONS "Uncertainty surrounding the enforcement of settlement agreements had been the main obstacle of the greater use of mediation. The convention sets the standards for enforcing and invoking settlement agreements, the requirements for reliance on settlement agreements and the grounds for refusing to grant relief."
Dispute resolution experts echoed Mathias's sentiments - saying that the convention will promote the use of mediation, especially in Asian countries, where it has existed as a means for settlement method for centuries.
THOMAS STIPANOWICH PROFESSOR OF LAW, PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY "I am very optimistic about the future of mediation. I think it is tremendously impressive that we had so many signatories to the convention on its opening day. It augurs well for the future of that enactment and also general support for the concept of mediated settlement agreements."
MIRO LU SINGAPORE "Having UN treaty named after Singapore cements the city-state's position as a haven for international dispute resolution. As part of the Singapore Convention Week, the international insolvency federation opened its only office outside of London here and a dispute resolution complex is also scheduled to open. Miro Lu, CGTN, Singapore."