The Singapore Convention: A Solution in Search of a Problem?
Keywords:mediation, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), cross-border mediation, Singapore Convention, international commercial mediation, barriers to mediation, enforcement
This paper explores the purpose and efficacy of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (‘Singapore Convention’ or ‘Convention’). The Convention’s genesis was premised on the notion of alleviating the enforceability issues that are annexed to settlement agreements arising from cross-border mediation (IMSA). While such enforceability issues are not entirely unfounded, the way in which the Convention has been drafted to address such issues has been the subject of criticism. In view of such criticisms, this paper explores the empirical research upon which the Convention’s introduction is based and queries whether the structure of the instrument heralds an unnecessary juridification of the mediation process. In particular, a close review of the research highlights the unintended consequences that can flow from the Convention’s uptake, suggesting that the introduction of the Convention may lead to an increase in issues pertaining to IMSA enforcement. It is in this context in which this paper submits that the Convention may be regarded as a solution in search of a problem.