Singapore mediation convention now in force—but not for the UK

Singapore mediation convention now in force—but not for the UK

The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (Singapore Mediation Convention) came into force on Saturday, 12 September 2020 for Singapore, Fiji and Qatar.

The primary goals of the Singapore Mediation Convention are to facilitate international trade and promote the use of mediation for the resolution of cross-border commercial disputes The convention sets out a uniform and efficient framework for the enforcement of international settlement agreements resulting from mediation and allows parties to invoke such agreements, akin to the framework that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) provides for arbitral awards.

The convention is now in force for Singapore, Fiji and Qatar. It will also come into force for Saudi Arabia (5 November 2020), Belarus (15 January 2021) and Ecuador (9 March 2021).

A number of other countries have signed the convention but have yet to ratify, accept, approve or accede to the convention. The method applicable for the convention to come into force for a signatory county depends on the constitutions of that country.

With Brexit in mind, it is noted that neither the UK nor the EU have signed the convention. Consequently, it will not be of assistance post implementation day (currently 31 December 2020). The UK government has not yet stated its intention to sign the convention. The Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill (for the Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Act  2020) is currently making its way through parliament. This implements into UK law three other Hague Conventions, including the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, but the Minister for Justice has expressly stated it would not be appropriate to make provision, within the bill, for anticipated international conventions that may enter into force for the UK. He stated in response to an answer as to why the Lugano Convention was not mentioned in the bill (the UK having stated its intention to join that convention) that:

‘...Regrettably, there will not be time to bring forward further primary legislation before the end of the year, should our application be approved within the next few months. Therefore, for that sad but practical reason, it would be right not to pass anticipatory legislation but rather to await the outcome of the negotiation and then to allow the use of the delegated power.

The power could also be used to implement other agreements. I have talked about mediation, and in particular the 2019 Singapore convention on mediation and 2019 Hague judgments convention. We have not yet taken a formal decision on either of those, but of course I am happy to talk more about those conventions with hon. Members during the passage of this Bill and, indeed, in the future as we decide on our final approach to these instruments.’

The above quote can be seen in context in Hansard, Vol 679, 2 September 2020 at Column 221: here.

Subscribers to LexisPSL Dispute Resolution:

For guidance on the convention, see Practice Note: Singapore Convention on Mediation.

For an sight into the application of the convention, see News Analyses: The Singapore Mediation Convention—scope and potential impact and Singapore strengthens its position and capabilities as a leading hub for international dispute resolution.

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About the author:

Janna is a dispute resolution lawyer. She deals primarily with cross border issues and is active in the work being undertaken in relation to the implications of Brexit for Dispute Resolution lawyers. Janna also heads up a LexisNexis costs team bringing together expertise from across the company to deal with the costs issues facing the profession.