On August 7, 2019, the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (Singapore Convention on Mediation) will be opened for signature in Singapore. This event follows the adoption of the Convention by the UN General Assembly in December 2018 in New York, after almost ﬁve years of efforts of the UNCITRAL Working Group. It will be the ﬁrst UN treaty to be named after Singapore, recognizing its role in developing and negotiating the Convention.
This Convention represents a historic point in the rise of mediation in international commercial dispute resolutions, as it will enable cross-border enforcement of mediated settlements, provide businesses with greater certainty and assurance in international commercial transactions, and further facilitate international trade and commerce.
In the last two decades, mediation, together with arbitration, has become dominant method of conﬂict resolution around the world. However, unlike the 1959 New York Arbitration Convention, there was no universal international enforcement mechanism for mediated settlement in the event one of the parties failed to voluntarily honor a settlement agreement.
The historic signing of the ﬁrst international treaty on mediation will gather ministers and high-level ofﬁcials from over 70 countries, with over 40 countries expected to sign the Convention, including the USA, China, Japan, Australia, India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Hungary, Singapore, etc. In addition, over 1500 delegates, leading mediators and mediation providers, lawyers, businesses, and other stakeholders will participate in a series of related events organized during the Singapore Convention Week from August 2 – 8, 2019.
The Government of Serbia, upon a proposal by the Ministry of Justice also announced acceptance of this landmark trade dispute resolution treaty. This bold decision shows that Serbia is accepting modern trends and best practices in the international commercial dispute resolution, as the country improves its standing in light of the new cross-border enforcement mechanism available for mediated settlements in commercial and investment disputes.
The Convention is also likely to create additional support for further development of domestic mediation in Serbia, where a process of revising the mediation legislation is underway. Drawing experience from the implementation of the 2005 and 2014 laws, as well as the best international practices, the new law is aimed at considerably reducing court backlog and ensuring trials within reasonable time, in order to improve citizens’ access to justice and overall judicial efﬁciency.
A Working Group of the Ministry of Justice has been drafting new provisions since January 2019, and is expected to soon present a new Draft law and bylaws on mediation in line with EU Directives and jurisprudence of the European judicial institutions, as well as the 2018 UNCITRAL Model Law and Singapore Convention on Mediation.
The Singapore Convention together with the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Mediation will create a completely new international legal framework and environment for efﬁcient resolution of international commercial disputes and enforcement of mediated settlements. The successful launch of the Convention will provide additional impetus for mediation providers and practitioners all over the world.
It is our great pleasure to announce that ADR Partners (Serbia) has been invited to participate and support a number of events during the Singapore Convention Week.
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