The Singapore Convention on Mediation

A uniform and efficient framework for international settlement agreements resulting from mediation

The Singapore Convention applies to international settlement agreements resulting from mediation, concluded by parties to resolve a commercial dispute. It ensures that a settlement reached by parties becomes binding and enforceable in accordance with a simplified and streamlined procedure. It also allows parties to invoke such agreements.

Until the introduction of the Singapore Convention, an often-cited challenge to the use of mediation was the lack of an efficient and harmonised framework for cross-border enforcement of settlement agreements resulting from mediation.

It was in response to this need that the Singapore Convention was developed and adopted by the United Nations.

The Convention contributes to the development of a mature, rule-based global commercial system, and strengthens access to justice and the rule of law. The primary goals of the Convention are to:

  • facilitate international trade; and
  • promote the use of mediation for the resolution of cross-border commercial disputes.

Key Features

The Convention applies to international commercial settlement agreements resulting from mediation. It does not apply to:

  • settlement agreements that are enforceable as a judgment or as an arbitral award.
  • settlement agreements concluded for personal, family or household purposes, or relating to family, inheritance or employment law.

The courts of a Party to the Convention are expected to handle applications:

  • to enforce a settlement agreement in accordance with its rules of procedure and under the conditions laid down in the Convention.
  • to allow a party to invoke the settlement agreement in accordance with its rules of procedure and under the conditions laid down in the Convention, in order to prove that the matter was already resolved by the settlement agreement.

The courts of a Party to the Convention may refuse to grant relief on the grounds laid down in the Convention, including:

  • if a party to the settlement agreement was under incapacity.
  • if the settlement agreement is not binding, null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed under the law which it is subjected to.
  • if there was a serious breach by the mediator of standards applicable to the mediator, without which breach that party would not have entered into the settlement agreement.
  • if granting relief would be contrary to the public policy of that Party.

The Convention Text

United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation