Mediation is a widely accepted mode of dispute resolution in Singapore. Its processes are well-understood by the legal and business community, and mediation is strongly supported by the judiciary.
Mediation is a confidential, quick and cost-effective mode of dispute resolution. In mediation, a neutral third party facilitates negotiations and helps parties come to consensus. Rather than imposing a solution, a professional mediator works with the conflicting parties to explore their underlying interests and needs. Parties retain control over the outcome, as any outcomes reached are based on mutual agreement. As a confidential and flexible process, mediation is well suited to accommodating cultural, legal and commercial differences between disputing parties, while preserving party autonomy and business relationships. Due to its non-adversarial and flexible nature, mediation is also able to factor in wider operational considerations and tailor specific remedies beyond financial compensation.
In arbitration, the arbitrator looks into the legal rights and wrongs of a dispute and makes a decision. Once the arbitrator has arrived at a decision, it is binding on parties whether they agree with it or not. This is very much how a court case is decided by a judge, except that the process does not take place in a courtroom, and the hearing is not open to the public. As with a court case, there is usually a winning and a losing party in arbitration. In mediation, the mediator helps parties to settle their disputes through a process of discussion and narrowing of differences. The mediator helps the parties to arrive at an agreed solution. He does not decide the outcome. A successful mediation results in an agreement signed by the parties, whereas a contested arbitration results in a decision by the arbitrator. In mediation, there is no such thing as a winning or losing party because there is no binding decision. Instead, the parties are free to agree on both legal and non-legal solutions to the dispute which best suit their respective interests and needs. Since the mediator does not adjudicate on the dispute, parties have full control over the outcome of the dispute. They can agree on legal and non-legal solutions that are forward-looking and suited to their interests and needs. In the event of a non-settlement, the process of mediation often brings added clarity to the scope and nature of the dispute. This can help to streamline any ensuing litigation or arbitration proceedings.
The “Arb-Med-Arb” Protocol is a unique hybrid process where parties attempt mediation after the commencement of arbitration proceedings. It combines the efficacy of mediation with the enforceability of the arbitration award. - Parties who have an arbitration agreement may wish to refer their dispute to mediation, either before they commence arbitration or in the course of the arbitration. Settlement agreements may also be converted into consent awards under the Arb-Med-Arb Protocol. - Parties that adopt the Arb-Med-Arb Protocol may convert their mediated settlement agreement into a consent arbitral award that is enforceable in over 160 countries under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, also known as the New York Convention of 1958. - Under the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) - Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) Arb-Med-Arb Protocol, the arbitrator(s) and the mediator(s) will be separately and independently appointed by SIAC and SIMC respectively, under the applicable arbitration rules and mediation rules of each institution. Unless the parties otherwise agree, the arbitrator(s) and the mediator(s) will generally be different persons. - Parties wishing to take advantage of this tiered dispute resolution mechanism as administered by SIAC and SIMC, may consider incorporating the Singapore Arb-Med-Arb Clause in their contracts.
The Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI) is an independent professional standards body for mediation in Singapore and the region. SIMI was incorporated on 15 July 2014 as a non-profit organisation, with support from both the Ministry of Law as well as the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law. SIMI is headed by an international Board of Directors with representatives from both mediation practitioners as well as corporate users of mediation. SIMI aims to apply and enforce world-class standards of mediation through the professionalization of mediation. This is achieved by its various schemes for organisations and individuals including: • SIMI Partner Scheme; and • SIMI Credentialing Scheme. The SIMI Partner Scheme recognizes an organization for their work and provision of mediation training and mediation services. There are three tiers of SIMI Partnership: • SIMI Registered Training Program; • SIMI Registered Service Providers; and • SIMI Qualifying Assessment Program. The SIMI Credentialing Scheme is a professional standards scheme tailored to the experience of professional mediators. A key feature of the scheme setting it apart from other standards body is its tiered system. This ensures that individuals of diverse mediation skills and experience are able to receive recognition, which will in turn allow them to receive more work through greater exposure and affirmation of the high quality of their service by being a SIMI Mediator. SIMI collaborates and work closely with domestic and international mediation bodies. This includes mediation training and service providers, and standards bodies like the International Mediation Institute (IMI), a non-profit public interest initiative, to drive transparency and high competency standards into mediation practice across all fields, worldwide. SIMI seeks to promote best mediation practices and high mediator competency standards by establishing, applying and enforcing world-class standards of mediation through its partnerships and credentialing system. It also seeks to promote mediation education and awareness by providing impartial information about mediation, service providers, and standards, as well as through outreach events.