The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, commonly known as the Singapore Convention, is a landmark agreement that sets out a framework for the enforcement of international mediation agreements. The Convention was adopted in August 2019 and entered into force on September 12, 2020.
The Singapore Convention is a significant step forward in promoting the use of mediation as a means of resolving cross-border commercial disputes. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process in which a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the parties to a dispute reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The parties retain control over the outcome of the mediation and can tailor the agreement to their specific needs.
However, until the Singapore Convention, there was no international mechanism for the enforcement of mediation agreements, which meant that parties to a dispute could not be certain that the terms of their settlement would be enforceable in other countries. This lack of certainty was a significant barrier to the acceptance and use of mediation in international commercial disputes.
The Singapore Convention provides a simple and efficient mechanism for the enforcement of international mediation agreements. The Convention applies to settlement agreements resulting from mediation that are concluded in writing and that resolve a commercial dispute. The settlement agreement must also be international in nature, meaning that at least two of the parties must have their place of business in different countries or the dispute must have a cross-border element.
Under the Singapore Convention, a settlement agreement that meets these criteria will be considered binding and enforceable in accordance with its terms. A party seeking to enforce the settlement agreement can apply to the competent authority of the country where the settlement agreement was signed or where the party against whom enforcement is sought has its place of business. The competent authority must then process the application in accordance with its national law and the provisions of the Convention.
The Singapore Convention has been widely welcomed by governments, businesses, and the legal community. It is expected to increase the use of mediation in cross-border commercial disputes, reduce the costs and time associated with resolving disputes through litigation or arbitration, and enhance the certainty and predictability of international commercial transactions.
In conclusion, the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, or the Singapore Convention, is a significant development in the field of international dispute resolution. By providing a mechanism for the enforcement of mediation agreements, the Convention promotes the use of mediation as a means of resolving cross-border commercial disputes and enhances the certainty and predictability of international commercial transactions.