Mediation in the UK: Singapore Convention on Mediation and Compulsory ADR?

September 05, 2023

The Singapore Convention on Mediation, or to give it its full name the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, (the “Singapore Convention” or the “Convention”), is new and currently relatively unknown but the hope is that it will soon become as renowned and important to dispute resolution as its elder sister, the New York Convention. Of course, the New York Convention and its importance to arbitration awards needs no introduction and the intention is that similarly the Singapore Convention, which was modelled on the New York Convention, will facilitate international trade in the same way by giving commercial parties confidence that where they choose to settle disputes through mediation, those settlements can be easily enforced across borders using one set of rules.

Introducing the Convention in the UK

While the Singapore Convention came into force in September 2022, it was not until 3 May 2023 that the UK signed the Singapore Convention. This followed the UK government’s consultation on the Convention in March 2023. The implementation of the Singapore Convention in the UK will require legislation to be passed, including changes to procedural rules. The Chair of the Justice Select Committee, Lord Bellamy KC, has stated that the UK government will work to ratify the Convention in 2024 and it will come into force here six months after the UK has deposited its instrument of ratification.

The UK’s decision to sign makes it the 56th state to sign the Convention. However, only 11 States have so far ratified the Convention, so it is likely that the UK’s impeding ratification will be an important step for the deemed success of the Convention and hopefully both encourage more countries to follow suit and cement the UK, and in particular London, as the leading hub for dispute resolution.

Read the full article here.

Postscript: The appeal in James Churchill v Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council was granted by the Court of Appeal on 29 November 2023. The Court of Appeal found that a court can lawfully stay proceedings or order the parties to engage in ADR (subject to certain restrictions). My colleague Fiona Cain commented on this judgment in an article for The Times: Japanese Knotweed Case Boosts Mediation and together with Fiona, I have co-authored a piece for the Solicitors Journal which will be published in their February 2024 digital magazine and will be available on my profile shortly.

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