Knowledge Highlights 11 September 2020

On 12 September 2020, the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, also known as the Singapore Convention ("Convention"), will enter into force. The Convention is an instrument for the facilitation of international trade and the promotion of mediation as an alternative and effective method of resolving trade disputes. Being a binding international instrument, it is expected to bring certainty and stability to the international framework on mediation.

The Convention was opened for signature in Singapore on 7 August 2019. As at the time of writing, there are 53 signatories to the Convention with six countries - Singapore, Fiji, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Belarus and Ecuador - having deposited their respective instruments of ratification or approval.

The Convention applies to international settlement agreements resulting from mediation (“settlement agreement”). It establishes a legal framework for settlement agreements and their enforcement, addressing the need for an effective means to enforce cross-border commercial mediated settlement agreements.

Parties to the Convention will be obliged to enforce settlement agreements if they meet the following criteria:

  • The settlement agreement is international in that at least two parties have their place of business in different countries or the country where the settlement agreement is to be performed, or the country with which the agreement is most closely connected, is different to the parties' place of business.
  • The settlement agreement resulted from mediation and is concluded in writing by the parties.
  • The agreement does not fall within the excluded category of settlement agreements, including agreements that are enforceable as a judgment or as an arbitral award and those concluded for personal, family or household purposes.
  • None of the specified grounds to refuse enforcement, such as incapacity of a party to the settlement agreement, apply.

Reference materials

Information on the Convention can be found on its dedicated website http://www.singaporeconvention.org/.

The list of signatories to the Convention and the Convention text are available on the United Nations Treaty Collection website treaties.un.org or by clicking here.

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