The Growing Relevance of Mediation for Construction and Infrastructure Disputes

Posted in Insights September 23, 2021

In the 2021 edition of the Annual Review of English Construction Law Developments, CMS Cameron Mckenna Nabarro Olswang LLP provides an international perspective to construction law and related cases. 

In particular, the Annual Review explores developments in international commercial mediation — the Singapore Convention on Mediation two years on, the relevance of mediation for cross-border construction disputes, and future trends. 

We thank CMS Cameron Mckenna Nabarro Olswang LLP for the mention. Here are some highlights: 

The article suggests mediation’s growing popularity — Many high-value and complex cross-border cases have been referred to SIMC. SIMC has seen a year-on-year increase in caseloads in the last three years. SIMC’s settlement rate ranges from 70% to 80%. 

“Infrastructure and construction cases also make up a significant portion of cases that are being mediated. It makes up a sizeable proportion of SIMC’s caseload, while the SMC reports that construction disputes account for 40 per cent of the cases it resolves. This could well be a result of the well-trained Specialist Mediators in SIMC’s panel with specialist knowledge in the infrastructure, construction & engineering practice and the increased efforts taken in Singapore to promote the use of mediation to resolve disputes as well as construction disputes.”

– p. 52, Annual Review of English Construction Law Developments (Aug 2021)

The article highlights SIMC’s suite of services to meet various needs. For example, under the Singapore Infrastructure Dispute Management Protocol, SIMC is an Authorised Appointing Body to which users can request for the appointment of a dispute board. 

Further, SIMC has tie-ups with arbitration institutions (such as the SIAC-SIMC Arb-Med-Arb Protocol and SIMC-SCIA Med-Arb Protocol) to provide hybrid dispute resolution processes which are increasingly popular – the flexibility of mediation and enforceability of arbitral awards provides the best of both worlds to international users. 

To resolve commercial disputes effectively during the pandemic period, users may mediate under the SIMC Covid-19 Protocol, JIMC-SIMC Joint Covid-19 Protocol or the SIMC-CAMP Joint Covid-19 Protocol. These protocols provide seamless case management and offer two mediators to co-mediate a case to overcome cultural or jurisdictional barriers to settlement. 

Update: SIMC recently administered a case under the JIMC-SIMC Covid-19 Protocol. The co-mediators from the case share about the experience here.