The Singapore Convention on Mediation and the Future of Appropriate Dispute Resolution

The Society's 114th Annual Meeting—and first Virtual Annual Meeting—took place June 25–26, 2020. The 2020 Annual Meeting theme, "The Promise of International Law," was an opportunity to reflect on the successes and failures of international law, while reaffirming our commitment to achieving its promise of a more just and peaceful world.

Sponsored by Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP

In August 2019, the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation became open for signature in Singapore. On the very first day, forty-six countries signed what has become known as the Singapore Convention. Part of the reason for the popularity of the Convention is the structural support it offers to provide a holistic approach to the resolution of international disputes. Rather than parties having to rely exclusively on international arbitration tribunals or courts to secure compliance with legal obligations, parties have a reliable, rule-of-law-based enforcement mechanism to buttress their private mediation efforts by promoting a streamlined enforcement mechanism that ensures mediation has meaningful—rather than aspirational—value. This session will examine the genesis, current status, and utility of the Singapore Convention, drawing partly on the knowledge of persons involved in its development. Panelists will discuss practical implications for international dispute resolution practitioners, as well as potential limitations of the Convention, including how the Convention may intersect with existing domestic mediation practices and the lack of participation among European Union states. The session will also use the Singapore Convention as a springboard for discussions about exploring forms of Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR), particularly non-adjudicative forms of international dispute resolution like mediation, negotiation, and community- based conflict management. By exploring how a range of dispute resolution options can be effective, whether non-adjudicative or more traditional forms like litigation and arbitration, the panel will consider how the Singapore Convention could impact parties’ choices and options for identifying effective dispute resolution strategies and international conflict management. The panel will provide these insights by offering commentary reflecting a range of perspectives, including government officials, practitioners, clients, and scholars.

Shahla Ali, The University of Hong Kong (Moderator)
Itai Apter, Israeli Delegation to the United Nations
Mark Califano, Nardello & Co
Andrea Schneider, Marquette University Law School
Edwin Tong, Singapore Ministry of Law

(Speaker organizations are shown as of June 2020)