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In December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (the “Singapore Convention on Mediation” or “the Singapore Convention”).[1]

On August 7, 2019, the Singapore Convention was signed by 46 United Nations members, including the United States and China.[2] By way of comparison, the now well-known Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) received only 10 signatories on its first day in 1958.[3]

The goal of the Singapore Convention is to have a global framework that will give businesses greater confidence to settle international disputes through mediation instead of taking those disputes to court, which can be both time consuming and expensive.[4] 

Essentially, the idea of the Singapore Convention was to replicate the mechanisms that exist under the New York Convention for arbitration awards.[5]

The Singapore Convention remains open for signature at the United Nations headquarters in New York, and will come into force six months after it is ratified by the legislatures of three signatories.[6]

[1] The text of the Singapore Convention can be viewed online

[2] See Singapore Ministry of Law Press Release, August 7, 2019, “46 States Signed New International Treaty on Mediation”, available online. Notably, neither Canada nor the United Kingdom nor the European Union are signatories as of yet; however, delegates from the United Kingdom did attend the Singapore Convention Signing Ceremony and Conference.

[3] See “New York Arbitration Convention, Contracting States”, available online.

[4] See “U.N. members sign mediation convention to settle trade disputes”, Reuters, available online .

[5] See “The Singapore Convention: A breakthrough for international trade” in the CBA National, available online.

[6] See Articles 11(1) and 14(1) of the Singapore Convention, supra note 1.