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Global Vantage: Signing on the Singapore line – UK takes a further step in the Pre-Action direction

June 2023
Antony Smith and Cameron Baker

Last month, the United Kingdom Government signed the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (the “Singapore Convention”), further strengthening its standing as a leading hub for Alternative Dispute Resolution.

We have previously reported on the key provisions of the Convention and the issues arising from it (which can be found here).  In this latest edition of Global Vantage, Antony Smith and Cameron Baker discuss what becoming a signee to the Singapore Convention means for the Alternative Dispute Resolution landscape in the United Kingdom.

The Singapore Convention

The purpose of the Singapore Convention, as set out on the UNCITRAL website, is as follows:

‘Adopted in December 2018, the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements resulting from Mediation, also known as the “Singapore Convention on Mediation” (the “Convention”) applies to international settlement agreements resulting from mediation (“settlement agreement”). It establishes a harmonized legal framework for the right to invoke settlement agreements as well as for their enforcement.

The Convention is an instrument for the facilitation of international trade and the promotion of mediation as an alternative and effective method of resolving trade disputes. Being a binding international instrument, it is expected to bring certainty and stability to the international framework on mediation, thereby contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), mainly the SDG 16.’

Where a settlement has been reached by way of mediation between parties to a dispute, the Singapore Convention serves to prevent a party breaking that agreement in a signatory state.  Further, the Singapore Convention is also a means of enforcement of an agreement and a record that a matter has been resolved between signatory states.

The enforcement of a settlement by way of mediation occurs through a ‘competent authority’, normally a Court, of a signatory to the Singapore Convention.  Signing on is a further move to strengthen the United Kingdom’s commitment to the early resolution of disputes.

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