This article is produced by CMS Holborn Asia, a Formal Law Alliance between CMS Singapore and Holborn Law LLC.
The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, named the Singapore Convention, officially opened for signature in Singapore on 7 August 2019. The Singapore Convention aims to implement, for the first time, an international regime for the enforcement of mediated commercial settlements similar to the 1958 New York Convention, on enforcing arbitration awards, and the 2005 Hague Convention, on choice of court agreements.
The Singapore Convention needs three signatories to sign and thereafter ratify in order for it to come into force. The Singapore International Mediation Centre's report on the signing indicates that as of 7 August 2019, 46 countries have signed the Singapore Convention, including the two largest economies in the World - the United States of America and People’s Republic of China; other Asian economic heavyweights such as India and South Korea; and ASEAN neighbors Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Another 70 countries also attended the signing in Singapore on 7 August 2019. By comparison, the New York Convention, which now has 160 signatories, had 10 signatories when it first opened for signature in 1958.
The Singapore Minister for Law, Mr K Shanmugam, has stated that the EU still needs to determine if it has to sign the treaty as a whole or if its member countries can sign it individually, but with the UN having adopted the treaty only in December 2018, it was very encouraging that a good number of countries had committed to signing it: “I would say it is a remarkable progress because normally, the internal process in each country takes a longer time, understandably so”.
As set out in our previous Law-Now update, the Singapore Convention will focus on the enforcement of settlement agreements of international commercial disputes in scenarios where existing conventions are not applicable, for example, where a settlement agreement has not been concluded in the course of court proceedings, or recorded as a court judgment or an arbitral award. In doing so, the Singapore Convention intends to help international trade flows and give businesses and investors more assurance by making it easier to enforce high-value, complex, cross-border commercial dispute settlements.
For more information on the Singapore Convention, please reach out to CMS’ team in Singapore or your usual contact at CMS.