Transnational disputes: Singapore offers specialised mediation service

Posted in News

15 February 2015
Hindu Business Line

Quality mediators with international experience are now on tap for Indian businesses faced with cross-border commercial disputes.

Singapore, which is focused on offering complete suites of dispute resolution options for international commercial cases, has launched a dedicated centre for the mediation of cross-border commercial disputes.

This specialist centre — Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) — offers a panel of 67 mediators from 14 countries to choose from, said George Lim, Deputy Chairman of SIMC. As many as four Indians form part of this panel of international mediators.

“We even help you choose the right mediator for a case. The mediation service can be used wherever you are,” Lim, who was on a visit here, told BusinessLine.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution wherein disputes are resolved without the need to go to court. It involves an independent third party — a mediator — who helps both sides to come to an agreement.

With foreign direct investment flows into ASEAN seeing a quantum jump in recent years and trade in Asia also showing a sharp increase, cross-border commercial disputes are on the rise, noted Lim

SIMC, which was launched two months back, offers a range of services that is expected to enhance Singapore’s attractiveness as a choice of venue for international users of alternative dispute resolution services.

Also on offer is the new Singapore Arb-Med-Arb service that allows for a dispute referred to arbitration to be stayed while parties attempt to resolve their differences through mediation.

Singapore is positioning SIMC as neutral venue that would facilitate efficient and effective resolution for transnational disputes.

The India story

Mediation in India is relatively new, having started in 2005. It was first launched in courts and now all high courts have mediation centres. India now has to enter the second phase and encourage private mediation, said Sriram Panchu, a member of SIMC’s panel of international mediators.

Loong Seng Onn, Executve Director, Singapore Mediation Centre, said the time is ripe for the Indian mediation community to start thinking of mediation outside the courts — private mediation.

“There is potential outside the courts that is untapped (for mediation),” he said.