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  • Writer's pictureIngrid Scholze

Mediation is a Good Choice for Cross-Border Commercial Disputes

In late 2018, the United Nations General Assembly recognized “the value of mediation as a method of amicably settling disputes arising in the context of international commercial relations.” The resulting United Nations (UN) Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (the “Singapore Convention”), which entered into force in February 2020, provides a mechanism for enforcing a mediation settlement agreement in courts of signatory states. The Convention enables parties to a qualifying mediation settlement agreement the ability (1) to enforce that agreement in courts in the member states, and (2) to invoke that agreement to confirm that an issue covered by it was previously resolved.

Prior to the Singapore Convention, a party outside the European Union would not be able to enforce a mediation settlement agreement without either (a) taking steps to convert it into an arbitral award, or (b) obtaining a breach of contract judgment for violation of the mediation settlement agreement. The purpose of the Singapore Convention is to remove those undertakings and instead to provide a streamlined enforcement mechanism. This simplification and streamlining makes mediation an attractive option for resolving cross-border commercial disputes quickly, confidentially, and creatively.

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