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Singapore Convention Week 2021 Brings Together Global Legal And Business Community

SINGAPORE - Media OutReach - 31 August 2021 - The upcoming Singapore Convention Week (SC Week) 2021 will bring together leaders from the legal, business and government sectors in the international dispute resolution scene. Themed 'A World in Transition', the global legal conference will be held virtually from 6 to 10 September 2021. Participants will discuss the latest trends and innovations in international dispute resolution amidst a fast-evolving business landscape in the COVID-19 pandemic era and beyond.

SC Week 2021 is organised by the Singapore Ministry of Law (MinLaw), in collaboration with supporting partner organisations (see Annex A and Annex B). The week-long series of events consists of:

(i)       UNCITRAL Academy: An inaugural event jointly organised by MinLaw and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), this key highlight of SC Week 2021 comprises fireside chats, panel discussions and capacity-building workshops featuring C-level executives and industry heavyweights. Singapore's Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam SC, Singapore's Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Mr Edwin Tong SC and UNCITRAL Secretary Ms Anna Joubin-Bret, together with over 40 leading global experts, will share their views and experiences on the evolution and increasing relevance of cross-border alternative dispute resolution (ADR) solutions for businesses, and how companies and practitioners can successfully navigate the complex business environment in today's world in transition. Discussion topics include the Singapore Convention on Mediation, the role of international dispute resolution amidst COVID-19, future trends in ADR, ADR in emerging markets, intellectual property dispute resolution and the potential uses of mediation in debt restructuring and insolvency. UNCITRAL Academy will be held on 7-8 September 2021.

(ii)      Singapore Convention Week events (see Annex B): Organised by supporting partner organisations, each event will delve into a different facet of international dispute resolution, exploring perennial issues and new developments by bringing together diverse perspectives from policymakers, practitioners and users.


Mr K Shanmugam SC, Singapore's Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, said: "There has been increasing demand for practical, efficient and cost-effective cross-border dispute resolution mechanisms. During SC Week 2021, these issues will be discussed. This will be of interest to businesses around the world, particularly in the current times. We are proud to partner UNCITRAL in this effort to make international trade easier for businesses."   Ms Anna Joubin-Bret, Secretary of UNCITRAL, said: "At the signing ceremony of the Singapore Convention on Mediation in 2019, we had highlighted that signing and ratification were merely the first step towards the promotion of a harmonised framework for international mediation, and that the second and crucial step would be implementation. We are proud to co-organise the inaugural UNCITRAL Academy with MinLaw, and to be a part of SC Week 2021. Such events play an important role in advancing implementation. We hope that these events will help in further increasing awareness and promoting the use of mediation around the world, alongside other dispute resolution processes."

The Singapore Convention on Mediation, also known as the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, provides an effective avenue for parties to enforce mediated settlement agreements for cross-border disputes. The Convention opened for signature on 7 August 2019 in Singapore, with 46 signatories. To date, the Convention has 54 signatories,  and six Parties. It entered into force on 12 September 2020. (For more information, please refer to Annex C).


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  SINGAPORE MINISTRY OF LAW 31 August 2021   Annex A: SC Week 2021 Supporting Partner Organisations Annex B: SC Week 2021 Infosheet Annex C: Factsheet on the Singapore Convention on Mediation   Annex A: SC Week 2021 Supporting Partner Organisations
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
  • American Arbitration Association International Centre for Dispute Resolution Asia Case Management Centre
  • Asia Pacific Institute of Experts
  • INSOL International
  • International Bar Association
  • Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration
  • Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre
  • Singapore International Commercial Court
  • Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy
  • Singapore International Mediation Centre
  • Singapore International Mediation Institute
  • Singapore Mediation Centre
  • Society of Mediation Professionals (Singapore)
  • The Law Society of Singapore
Annex B:  SC Week 2021 Infosheet  

  Annex C: Factsheet on the Singapore Convention on Mediation   Background, Signing, and Ratification
  • On June 2018, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law ("UNCITRAL"), finalised the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation and adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, 2018 (amending the Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation, 2002).
  • On 20 December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly (i) adopted the Convention; (ii) authorised the signing ceremony of the Convention to be held in Singapore; and (iii) authorised the nomenclature of the "Singapore Convention on Mediation" (the "Singapore Convention") making it the first UN treaty to be named after Singapore.
  • On 7 August 2019, the Singapore Convention Signing Ceremony and Conference was held where Singapore hosted more than 1,500 delegates from 70 countries at the event. 46 countries signed the Singapore Convention on that day and subsequently, seven other countries signed at the UN headquarters in New York, bringing the total number of signatories to 53.
  • On 12 September 2020, the Singapore Convention came into force.
  • On 4 June 2021, Brazil signed the Singapore Convention, bringing the total number of signatories to 54 countries.
  Key Benefits
  • Mediation is rising in popularity as a means to resolve cross-border commercial disputes for several reasons, including the fact that it results in party-driven solutions which are not imposed by a third party. It also reduces time and costs for parties as well as burdens to the state. Due to its conciliatory nature, it better facilitates business continuity and relationships, also reducing instances where a dispute leads to termination of commercial relationships. Mediation is also a flexible solution for international disputes as it can be combined with or complement other modes of dispute resolution, such as litigation or arbitration.
  • However, its growth has been hindered by the long-standing obstacle of a lack of enforceability of the mediated settlement agreement. Unlike a court judgment or an arbitral award, previously, a mediated agreement was only binding contractually and not directly enforceable. The lack of an efficient and harmonised framework for cross-border enforcement of settlement agreements resulting from mediation was often cited as a challenge in utilising mediation as an effective solution.
  • The Singapore Convention directly addresses the lack of an effective means to enforce cross-border commercial mediated settlement agreements by providing the framework by which agreements may be enforced. Businesses can have greater assurance that mediation can be relied on to settle cross-border commercial disputes because mediated settlement agreements can be enforced more readily by the courts of contracting parties to the Singapore Convention.
  • This certainty of outcomes is beneficial for businesses especially during a period of uncertainty such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also help to promote the use of mediation around the world for cross-border disputes, saving time and costs, and potentially ensure better business continuity, facilitating the growth of international trade and commerce.
  Applicability of the Singapore Convention
  • The Singapore Convention will apply to international commercial settlement agreements resulting from mediation. The courts of a contracting party will be expected to handle applications either to enforce an international settlement agreement that falls within its scope or to allow a party to invoke the settlement agreement to prove that the matter has already been resolved, in accordance with its rules of procedure, and under the conditions of the Singapore Convention.
  • The Singapore Convention will not apply to: ·  International settlement agreements that are concluded in the course of judicial or arbitral proceedings and which are enforceable as a court judgment or arbitral award; or ·  Settlement agreements concluded for personal, family, or household purposes by one of the parties (a consumer), as well as settlement agreements relating to family, inheritance, or employment law.
  • The courts of a contracting party may refuse to grant relief on the grounds laid down in the Singapore Convention, including: ·  If a party to the settlement agreement was under incapacity; ·  If the settlement agreement is not binding, null and void, inoperative, or incapable of being performed under the law to which it is subjected to; ·  If there was a serious breach by the conciliator of standards applicable to the conciliator, without which breach that party would not have entered into the settlement agreement; and ·  If granting relief would be contrary to the public policy of the contracting party.
  List of Countries that Signed and Ratified the Singapore Convention Note: Countries that have ratified/approved the Singapore Convention are denoted with an asterisk (*)  
S/N Country S/N Country
1 Afghanistan 28 Kazakhstan
2 Armenia 29 Lao People's Democratic Republic
3 Belarus* 30 Malaysia
4 Benin 31 Maldives
5 Brazil 32 Mauritius
6 Brunei Darussalam 33 Montenegro
7 Chad 34 Nigeria
8 Chile 35 North Macedonia
9 China 36 Palau
10 Colombia 37 Paraguay
11 Congo 38 Philippines
12 Democratic Republic of the Congo 39 Qatar*
13 Ecuador* 40 Republic of Korea
14 Eswatini 41 Rwanda
15 Fiji* 42 Samoa
16 Gabon 43 Saudi Arabia*
17 Georgia 44 Serbia
18 Ghana 45 Sierra Leone
19 Grenada 46 Singapore*
20 Guinea-Bissau 47 Sri Lanka
21 Haiti 48 Timor-Leste
22 Honduras 49 Turkey
23 India 50 Uganda
24 Iran (Islamic Republic of) 51 Ukraine
25 Israel 52 United States of America
26 Jamaica 53 Uruguay
27 Jordan 54 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)

Singapore Ministry of Law

The mission of the Singapore Ministry of Law (MinLaw) is to advance access to justice, the rule of law, the economy, and society through policy, law and services. MinLaw drives legal reforms, oversees the policy for the development, promotion and regulation of Singapore's legal sector, and advances Singapore's national interests through international legal policy and cooperation. In addition, MinLaw licenses law practices, registers foreign-qualified legal practitioners, regulates moneylending and pawnbroking, supervises precious stones and metal dealers, and provides community legal services such as legal aid, community mediation, insolvency administration, and public trustee services. MinLaw also oversees land policy and administration and the development of Singapore's intellectual property sector, supported by its statutory boards. For more information, please visit MinLaw's website.   #SingaporeMinistryofLaw

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. A legal body with universal membership specialising in commercial law reform worldwide for over 50 years, UNCITRAL's business is the modernisation and harmonisation of rules on international business.
  • Guide to UNCITRAL: Basic facts about the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
  • Facts about UNCITRAL
  For more information, please visit UNCITRAL's website.

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