Singapore Convention on Mediation – Consultation Paper
The submission to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department in relation to its Consultation Paper on the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation was prepared by the Law Council of Australia.
The purpose of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, known as the Singapore Convention on Mediation (the Convention), is noted on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law website in the following terms:
The Convention is an instrument for the facilitation of international trade and the promotion of mediation as an alternative and effective method of resolving trade disputes. Being a binding international instrument, it is expected to bring certainty and stability to the international framework on mediation, thereby contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), mainly the SDG 16.1
At the signing ceremony, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described the Convention as the “missing third piece” in the international dispute resolution enforcement framework:
Today, for cross border disputes, many businesses rely either on arbitration, enforced via the New York Convention, or on litigation. 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.2
The Convention was adopted by consensus by the United Nations on 20 December 2018 and signed in Singapore on 7 August 2019. The Convention entered into force on 12 September 2020. It is to be noted that the Convention is the result of negotiation and compromise amongst State representatives which occurred over a period of five years. Any resulting anomalies may be cured by future domestic legislation or the adoption of a modified Model Law.3
The Convention applies to an agreement resulting from mediation and concluded in writing by parties to resolve an international commercial dispute.4 The Convention does not apply to settlement agreements concluded to resolve personal, family or household disputes or disputes involving inheritance or employment law. Importantly, the Convention does not apply to settlement agreements that have been approved by a court or concluded in the course of proceedings before a court and that are enforceable
You can read the full submission below.
1 United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (New York, 2018) (the "Singapore Convention on Mediation")’ United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
5 Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, opened for signature 7 August 2019 (entered into force 12 September 2020) (‘Singapore Convention on Mediation’) Article 1 – Scope of Application