Written Answer by Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, to Parliamentary Question on Singapore Convention on Mediation and Plans to Promote Singapore as an International Dispute Resolution Hub
16 Feb 2021 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Sitoh Yih Pin (Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency)
To ask the Minister for Law (a) whether he will provide an update on Singapore’s involvement in the Singapore Convention on Mediation; and (b) whether there are any future plans to promote Singapore as an international dispute resolution hub in areas such as mediation and arbitration.
1 The Singapore Convention on Mediation (“Singapore Convention”), also known as the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, entered into force on 12 September 2020. As of 9 February 2021, the Singapore Convention has 53 signatories, including the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, and other large Asian economies such as India and South Korea. 6 countries have ratified or approved the Singapore Convention, namely Singapore, Fiji, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Belarus and Ecuador.
2 The Singapore Convention on Mediation Act and its Rules, which implement the domestic legal framework for the Singapore Convention, came into operation on the same day the Singapore Convention entered into force.
3 The Ministry of Law will continue to encourage widespread adoption of the Singapore Convention by working with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), countries, businesses and practitioners to promote the benefits of mediation and of the Singapore Convention. We will provide technical assistance, where needed, to assist countries to work towards signing and ratifying the Singapore Convention.
4 We successfully collaborated with UNCITRAL on the Singapore Convention Signing Ceremony and Conference in August 2019 and the virtual event to commemorate the entry into force of the Singapore Convention on Mediation in September 2020. We look forward to jointly organising the inaugural UNCITRAL Academy, a dispute resolution-focussed conference and workshop.
5 Over the years, the Government has made significant efforts to develop Singapore as a premier international legal services and dispute resolution hub. We will continue to do so, and to position Singapore as a thought leader in the field of international dispute resolution.
6 Our efforts are three-pronged. First, Singapore offers a comprehensive suite of commercial dispute resolution services, through our flagship international dispute resolution institutions, namely the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the Singapore International Mediation Centre, and the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC).
7 The Ministry will continue to work with these flagship institutions and support their outreach abroad. Beyond marketing and promotion activities overseas to attract parties to use their services, they also enter into collaborations with their counterparts in other countries to promote dispute resolution. They are also expanding their footprint overseas by setting up representative offices in key markets. For example, SIAC opened its first representative office outside of Asia in New York in 2020.
8 We have also attracted reputable international organisations and institutions to set up offices in Singapore, so as to complement our offerings as a dispute resolution hub. They include the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), the World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Centre (WIPO AMC), and the American Arbitration Association International Centre for Dispute Resolution (AAA-ICDR). Singapore is also the first country to be able to host proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) or one of its chambers outside ITLOS’ headquarters, which is an endorsement of Singapore as a neutral venue for the effective settlement of international disputes.
9 Second, we regularly review our legislative framework supporting international commercial dispute resolution to ensure it remains updated, relevant and responsive to the needs of international businesses. Beyond the Singapore Convention on Mediation, we are parties to a wide network of international conventions relating to dispute resolution, including the New York Convention for the enforcement of arbitral awards, and the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements for the enforcement of judgments rendered pursuant to exclusive choice of court agreements.
10 Third, we have developed world-class infrastructure in Singapore to support dispute resolution. Maxwell Chambers was launched in 2010 as the world’s first integrated dispute resolution complex housing both international dispute resolution institution and practices, and state-of-the-art hearing facilities. In 2019, Maxwell Chambers expanded to the adjacent Maxwell Chambers Suites, tripling its previous size. Today, Maxwell Chambers is home to the highest concentration of case management offices within a facility in the world, which include the SIAC, the SIMC, the ICC, the PCA, the WIPO AMC, and the AAA-ICDR.
11 The Ministry remains committed to strengthen and grow Singapore as an international dispute resolution hub, both regionally and internationally.
Last updated on 16 Feb 2021