Mediation in Singapore

Singapore Guidemediation-in-singapore-dataLast week Thomson Reuters launched “Mediation in Singapore: A Practical Guide”  highlighting the growth of mediation in Singapore.

The publication provides an overview of both the development and current practice of mediation in Singapore. It includes discussions on aspects of mediation encompassing the psychological, cultural and legal aspects of the mediation process: how parties choose a mediator, mediation agreements, enforcement of mediation settlements, accreditation of mediators, mediation in family disputes, divorce, family estate disputes, and many other topics.

Editors include BCC mediators’ good friend and local commercial mediator George Lim S.C. and CEDR’s man in Asia, Danny McFadden.

Other contributors include well known Singaporeans in mediation circles; mediation academic from the National University of Singapore, Associate Professor Joel Lee, Gloria Lim from the Ministry of Law, Eunice Chua from Singapore International Mediation Centre, and Loong Seng Onn and Deborah Koh from Singapore Mediation Centre. Purchase information

Well done to all involved.

BCC mediators are active in Asia and a number belong to the invitation only panel of the Singapore International Mediation Centre and are available for mediations in Singapore.

Postcard from Paris

eiffel-tower-statue-prestige_z-zClifford Chance’s Paris office sits in an elegant corner of the Place Vendome flanked, appropriately, by the Ritz hotel and the Ministry of Justice. On a bright winter weekend in early February it provided, as it does every year, the setting for the opening rounds of the ICC’s annual mediation competition.

International advocacy competitions for students like the Vis arbitration moot in Vienna are relatively long established, 22 years in the case of the Vienna competition. Mediation competitions are, unsurprisingly, a more recent phenomenon. The ICC competition this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.

It has proved phenomenally successful. From a handful of teams in 2005 it has grown to the present 65 teams respresenting 30 countries and all the continents. From the start of the three days of round robin competition on Saturday through to the end of the knockout stages the following Wednesday some two hundred 85-minute mediations are held.

The students participate in teams of two, one playing the part of the lawyer, the other the client. It may be that the student would learn more about the process of mediation by taking the mediation role him or herself. There are competitions where the students play all of the active roles in the room. But one happy side-effect of the Paris format is that mediation professionals come from all over the world to play the role of mediator as well as to assess performances in the role of judge.

The competition is now immediately preceded by an increasingly important conference for the mediators to discuss the latest ideas and trends. This is a unique chance to compare notes with mediators from across the world, the US, India, Hong Kong, Australia, Russia and the rest of Europe. There are plenty of Brits there. It was presumably quite hard to find a commercial mediator in London last Monday, February 8. Kallipetis, Howell-Richardson, Marsh, Sturrock, Lloyd-Jones, Heather and Tony Allen were all there. We like to think that this is not just a matter of physical proximity to the competition but reflects the existence of an active corps of mediators which still appears to be unique in Europe.

This makes it all the more surprising that so few UK universities enter the competition. Sheffield Trent have competed a number of times and indeed on one occasion won it. But they did not appear this year. I was privileged to conduct a mediation with Great Britain’s sole representative, the University of Hertfordshire. Very good they were too but they must have been puzzled to find themselves carrying the flag alone.

Maybe the other competitions attract the attention of UK universities. BPP and Strathclyde have long-standing involvements with the INADR competition that is normally run out of Chicago. There the students act as mediators as well as role-playing the parties. Rumour has it UCL are involved in the inaugural running of a Vis mediation moot to be held this year in Vienna.

The value of mooting for law students is well recognised. From my standpoint the competition is a huge learning opportunity for the students who visibly improve between rounds and there is a real buzz in the room when two teams who “get it” come together.

What are they learning? I think the competition sets them two targets. First they must learn to negotiate by opening up as wide a range of options as possible. Both in content and in atmosphere they are encouraged to move away form the narrow legal dispute to a wider understanding of their own and the other parties interests. The second and connected objective is that they should learn how to use the third person in the room, the mediator, to facilitate that kind of discussion.

Correspondingly for all of us who mediate the competition is a chance to explore what we do and try to answer the question “what, if anything, does our presence in a negotiation contribute?” Above all, how can we contribute more?

I conducted my last mediation of this year’s competition high above Place Vendome between teams from Wellington, New Zealand and São Paulo, Brazil. They were arguing about a defective jet engine. Two judges (Germany and Switzerland) presided and took notes. There was an extraordinary sense of excitement in the room. It is a tribute to the two teams that it felt just like the real thing.

As we shake hands and congratulate each other, I idly speculate as to how long it will before these fine young people will be allowed out of the mines of the law to enjoy the sunshine of a real mediation.

Not too long I hope.

Brick Court Mediators in Paris

A number of Brick Court mediators are in Paris this weekend helping the next generation of mediation counsel and clients gain international experience at the 10th ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition.

66 teams from universities all around the world converge in the dead of a Paris winter to participate along with more than 120 professionals as faculty judges and mediators.

Universally recognized for its important contribution to nurturing best practices in cross-border business mediation, the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition is the only moot devoted exclusively to international commercial mediation and is the biggest educational event organized by the International Chamber of Commerce.

Some early enthusiasm…

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Singapore International Mediation Centre Launched

Singapore 5 November – Brick Court mediators John Sturrock QC and Geoff Sharp participated in the launch of the Singapore International Mediation Centre this week.

With an audience of over 100 government officials, academics, company representatives, legal advisers and mediators from all over South East Asia present, the pair posed a number of provocative questions about the practice of mediation and how practitioners can continue to improve it.Continue Reading