ADR in the time of Covid-19, and why virtual and hybrid hearings are here to stay

Posted in News September 9, 2020

Together with Philip Jeyaretnam SC, Maxwell Chambers Chairman and Professor Lawrence Boo, Maxwell Chambers and SIMC Board Member, SIMC Chairman George Lim SC shared with Asia-mena Counsel about latest developments in ADR amid the Covid-19 pandemic. We share some of the highlights of the article:

Mediation has been growing rapidly as an ADR choice for resolving international commercial disputes, “as businesses realise how much more effective it is to take control of their disputes and collaborate to forge a win-win solution before engaging in legal proceedings, which may not
always yield an outcome that they find to be in their favour,” Mr Lim observed.

With the coming into force of the Singapore Convention on Mediation on 12 September 2020, he expects the momentum on mediation to grow.
He also highlighted SIMC’s Covid-19 Protocol, which provides an expedited, economical, and effective way for businesses to resolve their disputes. Importantly, mediations can be conducted online, given the current travel restrictions.

“Disputes can and should be mediated. This is especially the case during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mr Lim. “As businesses come under increasing pressure, companies that use mediation will be able to resolve their disputes quickly instead of being bogged down by protracted legal battles. This puts them in a stronger position despite the economic pressures.”

While online mediation has mitigated the current travel restrictions, there are new challenges, such as building rapport. Mr Lim highlighted the importance of institutional mediation. SIMC for example, can help mediators and parties adapt to the online context by providing end-to-end support, allowing participants to take their mind off the technology and mediate in peace.

He concludes, “Given the novelty of remote and hybrid hearings, and the growing trend of mediation, in-house counsel and lawyers would need to equip themselves with mediation advocacy skills and ODR techniques.

The full story can be found in the electronic version of the magazine here, from page 28 – 30.