Signing of the Singapore Convention

Shanmugam hopes to see 'fairly quick' treaty ratification

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Stephen Mathias during the Singapore Convention on Mediation signing ceremony yesterday.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Stephen Mathias during the Singapore Convention on Mediation signing ceremony yesterday.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam expects Singapore and some other countries to be "fairly quick" in ratifying and putting into force the Singapore Convention on Mediation.

However, he said he would not want to put a timeframe on when this would happen, as the legislatures in the countries - including Singapore's - would have to go through their own processes leading up to the ratification.

"But I think in international terms, I expect that this would be relatively fast. And I think next year, we will see more and more countries signing up.

"I would be surprised if it hasn't come into force before the middle of next year," he said at a press conference yesterday.

The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation was signed by 46 countries in Singapore yesterday.

The international treaty - which would need to be ratified by three countries before it can come into force - will provide for the enforcement of mediated settlement agreements across countries.

Mr Shanmugam said the convention has a framework, a model law that countries can look at.

He added that the countries' respective ministries - such as a Justice Ministry or a Trade and Industry Ministry - will have to work with their legal advisers and draft the laws to implement the treaty.

 
 
 
 

"These things take some time," he said.

In Singapore's case, Parliament would have to pass a Bill before Singapore can ratify the convention.

Of the 70 countries that sent representatives to the Singapore Convention Signing Ceremony and Conference held at Shangri-La Hotel, 46 signed the international mediation treaty.

"Given that the UN passed its resolution in December of last year, we are talking about... seven, eight months, it's quite unprecedented in terms of numbers for the signing ceremony," said Mr Shanmugam.

He noted that the signatories included the world's two largest economies, the United States and China, and three of the four largest economies in Asia - China, India and South Korea.

Mr Shanmugam said the convention signing ceremony is one of five significant events taking place in Singapore that relate to the legal sector.

On Monday, Insol, a London-based umbrella body for restructuring and insolvency associations, launched its Asian arm in Singapore. A day after, the International Bar Association held its inaugural Asia Pacific Arbitration Conference in Singapore.

Maxwell Chambers Suites, an extension of Maxwell Chambers, will officially open today. Established in 2010, Maxwell Chambers was the world's first integrated dispute resolution complex.

The American Arbitration Association's International Centre for Dispute Resolution will also launch its Asia hub today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2019, with the headline 'Shanmugam hopes to see 'fairly quick' treaty ratification'. Print Edition | Subscribe