The Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC), was launched on 5 November 2014. The SIMC and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) will jointly offer an innovative new “arbitration/mediation/arbitration” procedure (the SIAC-SIMC Arb/Med/Arb Protocol). Under the SIAC-SIMC Arb/Med/Arb Protocol, disputes are referred to arbitration at the SIAC, but after the respondent files its Response to the Notice of Arbitration, the arbitration will be stayed for a period of eight weeks and referred to mediation with a separate mediator appointed from the SIMC’s panel. Should the mediation result in a settlement, the mediated settlement can be recorded by the arbitrator in the form of a consent award, enforceable under the New York Convention. If the mediation does not result in settlement, the SIAC arbitration will proceed with little delay to the procedural timetable.
The ability to obtain a settlement agreement enforceable under the New York Convention, as well as the emphasis placed on the early resolution of disputes is expected to make the Arb/Med/Arb Protocol a popular choice for users. However, users should be aware that many of the more “flexible” aspects of mediated settlements (such as promises to place future orders, and so on) are not justiciable and cannot be recorded in the tribunal’s consent award. The non-justiciable elements of any mediated settlement will need to be recorded in a separate settlement agreement (which would not be enforceable under the New York Convention).
The range of dispute resolution services available in Singapore will soon be further enhanced with the opening of Singapore’s International Commercial Court, which is due to be established as a division of Singapore’s High Court early next year. These developments have attracted much positive attention and are expected to cement and strengthen Singapore’s status as a dispute resolution hub.
*A version of this article was originally published by Practical Law Arbitration http://uk.practicallaw.com/country/arbitration