The 2018 International Mediation Summit: Curating the Asian voice on mediation

Posted in Insights October 2, 2018

Nearly 400 legal professionals and business representatives from around the world were present at the International Mediation Summit in Changsha, held on September 12-13, 2018.

The annual event, hosted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), promotes the use of commercial mediation through global exchange and cooperation. This year’s theme explored a dispute resolution mechanism for China’s Belt & Road Initiative and how China’s alternative dispute resolution eco-system can be strengthened so that parties have access to an effective means for resolving disagreements.

As one of the event’s partners, SIMC led the discussion on the finalised draft of the UNCITRAL Convention on the Enforcement of Mediated Settlement Agreements and what this would mean for the future of commercial mediation in Asia.

Stressing the importance of the Convention to meet the need of businesses in Asia for sophisticated and effective dispute resolution, SIMC Board Member Mr Lok Vi Ming said that courts in several Asian jurisdictions would necessarily need to review their processes to be prepared to enforce the Convention.

“Mediation has been energised by Asia’s rise. I believe this is a reason why UNCITRAL agreed for it to be signed in Asia,” Mr Lok said in his opening address.

According to IMF estimates, Asia Pacific will continue to be one of the fastest-growing economies in the world—at 5.4 per cent in 2018—led by China through the Belt & Road Initiative and Greater Bay Area Initiative. The demand for capital investments across all sectors will see millions of foreign dollars transacted, which would in turn point to the need for a world-class commercial dispute resolution system.

Mr Lok Vi Ming, SIMC Board Member, addressing the audience at the 2018 International Mediation Summit in Changsha.

The Convention would assure all parties protection in the event one party breaches the terms of the settlement agreement. It would also motivate the judicial community and government officials to invest in infrastructure that would give mediation its proper recognition as a unique professional service, to enforce mediated settlement agreements, and to offer mediators the protection of professional insurance.

While Mr Lok acknowledged that business and government leaders are already exploring various approaches to dispute resolution, he observed that there was still a lot of room for new theories and concepts to take root.

He said, “It is important that we work together to conceive a mediation process that is unique to the way Asia negotiates business.”