Law Ministry seeks public feedback for proposed Mediation Bill

SINGAPORE - Public views are being sought for a proposed Mediation Bill to strengthen the framework for mediation here, the Ministry of Law said on Thursday.

The public consultation to enact the Bill, which began on Thursday, will end on April 28.

Specifically, the proposed Bill will provide further legislative support for international commercial mediation, and strengthen the framework for enforcement of mediated settlements conducted in Singapore.

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process in which parties seek to find a solution for a dispute. If a settlement is reached, both parties will avoid legal action such as arbitration and litigation.

The Bill will also codify certain issues currently dealt with under common law such as ensuring that discussions during mediation are kept confidential.

There are four main provisions in the Bill:

1. Recording of mediated settlement as a court order

This allows the settlement reached at the end of a mediation to be recorded as a court order under specific circumstances. This compels parties that have reached out of court agreements to comply with their settlements.

2. Confidentiality of mediation proceedings

Currently, all information disclosed during mediation is confidential. So, when mediation fails, information disclosed during mediation cannot be admitted as evidence in court. The Bill proposes situations in which information shared during mediation can be used as evidence.

3. Stay of court proceedings

The Bill proposes to allow parties involved in litigation to ask the court to suspend ongoing legal proceedings so that mediation can happen instead. Their legal rights do not change until the end of mediation.

4. Legal Profession Act exceptions

The Bill allows foreign mediators and foreign-qualified counsel to legally engage in mediation.

The proposed Bill is a result of recommendations from the International Commercial Mediation Working Group in April 2013 to strengthen the framework for mediation and develop Singapore into a centre for international commercial mediation.

Details of the Bill can be found here.

Interested parties can send or e-mail their feedback to:

Legal Industry Division

Ministry of Law

100 High Street

#08-02, The Treasury

Singapore 179434

Fax: 6332 8842

E-mail: MLAW_Consultation@mlaw.gov.sg