New commercial mediation Act takes effect

SINGAPORE - A new legislation designed to strengthen commercial mediation services in Singapore took effect on Wednesday (Nov 1).

The Mediation Act and its subsidiary legislation, the Mediation Rules, comes into force after the completion of consultations with various stakeholders, since the passing of the Mediation Bill in Parliament on Jan 10.

The Act's coverage includes international commercial mediation and strengthens the framework for enforcement of mediated settlements conducted in Singapore.

It codifies certain issues previously dealt with under common law such as confidentiality of communications in the context of mediation. This provides greater certainty and clarity for commercial parties who opt to conduct their mediation in Singapore.

Before a mediated settlement agreement can be recorded as an order of court under Section 12 of the Act, certain requirements must be met, including that the mediation must have been administered by a designated mediation service provider or conducted by a certified mediator.

The minister for law has named four institutions as designated mediation service providers from Nov 1, namely the Singapore International Mediation Centre, Singapore Mediation Centre, Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management, and World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center.

From Nov 1, the Singapore International Mediation Institute Credentialing Scheme (SIMI Certified Mediator) is also designated as an approved certification scheme.

The Singapore International Mediation Centre and the Singapore International Mediation Institute were set up in 2014 as part of a slew of measures to strengthen the Republic's international commercial mediation services.

The Mediation Act implements the last of the recommendations made by an International Commercial Mediation Working Group, set up in 2013 by the chief justice and the Ministry of Law, to look into developing the international commercial mediation space in the country.