The Singapore International Mediation Institute (the “SIMI”) and the Singapore International Mediation Centre (the “SIMC”) were officially launched on 5 November 2014. The establishment of the SIMI and SIMC were recommended by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group (the “WG”) to develop Singapore into a centre for international commercial mediation.
The SIMI is an independent non-profit professional body which aims to set standards and ensure the quality of mediators. The SIMI will certify the competency of mediators, apply and enforce world-class standards of professional ethics, require continuing professional development for the SIMI accredited mediators, deliver impartial information about mediation and make tools available to assist parties make basic decisions about mediation. The SIMI will not provide mediation services and will not be associated with any mediation service provider. It shares an international partnership with the International Mediation Institute which is the professional body for mediation worldwide.
The SIMC will be the first centre of its kind to focus on mediating international commercial disputes with a panel of internationally-respected mediators. Together with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (the “SIAC”) and the Singapore International Commercial Court, the SIMC will play a key role in positioning Singapore as the premier destination for legal services and resolution of disputes in Asia and in the world. The SIMC is expected to sign Memoranda of Understanding with other mediation centres in the region to promote and develop mediation in Asia. While the SIMC will drive the development of international commercial mediation, the Singapore Mediation Centre will continue to retain its current focus on domestic and/court-annexed mediation.
New arbitration-mediation-arbitration service
At the launch, the SIMC announced an Arbitration-Mediation-Arbitration (or Arb-Med-Arb) service that it will be jointly offering with SIAC. Essentially, a dispute may be referred to arbitration and then held in abeyance while mediation is attempted. In a successful mediation, the parties’ mediated settlement may be recorded as a consent award which is generally accepted as an arbitral award. An arbitral award is generally enforceable in approximately 150 countries under the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958. If parties are unable to settle their dispute through mediation, they may continue with the arbitration proceedings.
Draft Mediation Bill
The Ministry of Law (“MinLaw”) is working on a proposed Mediation Bill which is based on another recommendation of the WG. The Bill will include provisions relating to the enforceability of mediated settlements by the Singapore courts and the confidentiality and admissibility of communications made in the course of mediation. The MinLaw expects to conduct a publicconsultation on the draft Mediation Bill soon.