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Mediation is a dispute resolution process whereby parties and their lawyers involve a neutral third party to act as a mediator to attempt to help parties reach a mutually acceptable solution.
The mediator listens to both parties’ points of view, and attempts to build the parties’ trust in understanding the situation.
The mediator then tries to work out a sensible arrangement or amicable settlement between the parties.
In most situations, mediation is more cost effective and quicker than litigation or arbitration.
Stages in Mediation
At the introduction stage, the mediator will introduce himself and the parties to each other and to explain the purpose of mediation and his role.
Each party will then be allowed to speak to the other side and to the mediator to present their side of the case.
The mediator will then try to find some middle ground or workable solution which is acceptable to both parties.
To achieve this, it is common in Singapore for the mediator to hold a private session with each party (known as a caucus) to discuss their concerns and views. This is held in a separate room so that the other side cannot know what is being discussed.
The mediator then returns to the other side and tries to move each party towards each other.
The mediator can decide whether to involve lawyers, or exclude lawyers, at each stage of the mediation process.
The final stage involves parties signing a settlement agreement, settlement letter, or memorandum of agreement.
The Singapore International Mediation Centre
The Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) was established in March 2014 as an independent, not-for-profit company, following the recommendations of the Working Group on International Commercial Mediation appointed by the Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and the Ministry of Law. SIMC provides world-class mediation services and products targeted at the needs of parties in cross-border commercial disputes, particularly those based in Asia. Farallon Law Corporation has had the advantage of participating in mediations in the SIMC.
The SIMC is located at Maxwell Chambers at Tanjong Pagar.
The Singapore Mediation Centre
The Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) was set up in 1997. It is located in the Supreme Court of Singapore a 1 Supreme Court Lane.
Community Mediation Centres
Community Mediation Centres were set up by the Ministry of Law in 1998.
Court Dispute Resolution in the State Courts
Parties who are involved in lawsuits in the State Courts have the option of mediating the dispute, through the use of the Court Dispute Resolution (CDR) process.
Arb-Med-Arb is an innovative process offered by SIAC and SIMC, where a dispute is first referred to arbitration before mediation is attempted. If parties are able to settle their dispute through mediation, their mediated settlement may be recorded as a consent award. If parties are unable to settle their dispute through mediation, they may continue with the arbitration proceedings. The SIAC-SIMC Arb-Med-Arb Protocol combines the cost-effectiveness, flexibility and party-autonomy of mediation with the finality and enforceability of arbitration in a seamless and convenient procedure for the benefit of commercial parties.