Archive for the ‘Singapore’ Category

I’m pleased to announce this year’s Harry Elias-Singapore Mediation Centre-Singapore Management University annual lecture in mediation.

The speaker will be Dr. Hans Peter Frick; and his topic will be “Embracing a Mediation Culture: How your Company Benefits”.

Further information on the lecture and registration can be found here: http://law.smu.edu.sg/SML2015


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I’m pleased to let you know that the Annual Singapore Mediation lecture will be held on Friday 26th September, at Singapore Management University. The speaker this year is Mr Brackett Denniston III, Senior Vice President, Secretary and General Counsel for General Electric Company (GE). His theme will be: “The Mediation Imperative: Why Successful Companies Embrace Mediation.”

The Singapore Mediation Lecture is proudly brought to you by Harry Elias Partnership LLP and Singapore Mediation Centre, in collaboration with the Singapore Management University.

Admission to the lecture is free but your registration is required, through the website address below.

For information on the lecture, please visit: http://law.smu.edu.sg/SML2014


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From the Ministry of Law’s website: http://www.mlaw.gov.sg/news/press-releases/icmwg-recommendations.html –

1.            The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) welcomes recommendations made by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group (ICMWG) to develop Singapore into a centre for international commercial mediation.  This will add to Singapore’s vibrant dispute resolution sector that has been growing on the back of a significant rise in commercial transactions in Asia and the corresponding increase in the number and complexity of cross-border disputes.

Recommendations by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group

2.            The ICMWG submitted its recommendations on 29 November 2013.  The recommendations include:

a)    Quality Standards – Establish a professional body to set standards and provide accreditation for  mediators;

b)    International Mediation Services – Establish an international mediation service provider which will offer as part of its service offerings, a quality panel of international mediators and experts, as well as user-centric innovative products and services;

c)    Legislative Framework – Enact a Mediation Act to strengthen the framework for mediation in Singapore;

d)    Exemptions and Incentives – Extend existing tax exemptions and incentives applicable for arbitration, to mediation; and

e)    Judicial Support – Enhance rules and Court processes to encourage greater use of mediation.

3.            Co-Chair of the ICMWG, Mr Edwin Glasgow QC said, “With its excellent legal system, infrastructure, connectivity and geographical location, Singapore is ideally placed to be the centre of excellence for international commercial mediation.  The feedback we have already received from international players and corporate users has been extremely positive. I hope and believe that the Working Group’s recommendations will help Singapore to acquire in respect of international commercial mediation, the reputation which it already unquestionably enjoys in the equally important field of arbitration.”

4.            Co-Chair Mr George Lim SC said, “By building up Singapore’s mediation capabilities and expertise, particularly to deal with international commercial disputes, commercial users will be able to choose from a full spectrum of dispute resolution services, ranging from facilitative mediation to binding arbitration.  This will enable users to tap on the dispute resolution process that best addresses their specific needs.  I believe that mediation, where successful, can help commercial parties save considerable time, costs and achieve flexible, mutually acceptable solutions to otherwise seemingly intractable disputes.”

5.            The Chief Justice and Minister for Law have expressed their appreciation to the Working Group for the work and effort put into this review.  MinLaw will follow up with the relevant stakeholders to see how the various recommendations can be implemented.  A summary of the ICMWG’s recommendations is at Annex A.


6.            In April 2013, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and the Ministry of Law appointed Mr Edwin Glasgow CBE QC and Mr George Lim SC to co-chair a nine-member working group to propose plans to develop the international commercial mediation space in Singapore.  The group comprised international and local members to provide a wide range of expertise and views.

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International Arbitration : Private Parties and Public International Law

click here

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the annual Herbert Smith Freehills – SMU Asian Arbitration Lecture.

Our distinguished speaker, The Rt Hon. the Lord Collins of Mapesbury, will be speaking on “International Arbitration : Private Parties and Public International Law”.


About the Speaker 

Lord Collins of Mapesbury (Lawrence Collins) was until 2011 a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Before that he was a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2009), a member of the Court of Appeal (2007-2009) and a judge of the Chancery Division (2000-2007) and of the Commercial Court (2006-2007). He now practises as an international arbitrator at Essex Court Chambers, London, and sits as a non-permanent member of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.

He qualified as a solicitor and was a partner in Herbert Smith & Co (later Herbert Smith, and now Herbert Smith Freehills) from 1971 to 2000. He was appointed a deputy High Court judge and a Queen’s Counsel (one of the first two solicitors to be so appointed) in 1997.

Lord Collins is the author of books and articles on private and public international law, and he has been since 1987 the general editor of Dicey and Morris (now Dicey, Morris & Collins) on the Conflict of Laws, currently in its 15th edition, 2012. He is also a Professor at University College London; emeritus and honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge; and has recently been a visiting professor at New York University Law School and Columbia Law School.

He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Institut de Droit International.


Synopsis of Lecture

The lecture will deal with the increasing importance of public international law in disputes involving private parties. This is not a new phenomenon, and the lecture will trace the history of the impact of state immunity in international commercial arbitration and the choice of public international law in choice of law and in arbitration agreements. Today there is controversy over the role of principles of diplomatic protection and state responsibility in arbitrations involving private parties and states, including the scope of fair and equitable treatment, expropriation; and there are unresolved questions on the relationship between international arbitration and foreign relations law. This lecture will endeavour to highlight the problems and suggest some solutions.



Admission is free.  Please click here to register by 12 September 2013.  Attendance is by registration only.

Further details can be found at the Herbert Smith Freehills – SMU Asian Arbitration Lecture website.


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From the Centre for Dispute Resolution at SMU:


It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the 2nd Singapore Mediation Lecture.

The Singapore Mediation Lecture series aims to enhance the understanding and use of mediation in resolving cross-border commercial disputes.

Our distinguished speaker, The Right Honourable the Lord Woolf will speak on “Mediation: The Way Forward.”

Lord Woolf has been at the forefront of the development and mainstream acceptance of mediation as the preferred way to deal with disputes. His name is particularly associated with the promotion of access to justice, not only through the improvement of access to conventional legal services, but also through encouraging the pursuit of alternatives to litigation.

Lord Woolf’s lecture will deal with why mediation is the way forward, and the factors that have been holding it back. In particular, the lecture will deal with training and standards of mediators, and the role of lawyers as gatekeepers of dispute resolution processes. It will also touch on compulsory mediation, med-arb, and role of mediation from the perspective of the client. Lord Woolf will also consider the prospects for the further development of mediation in Singapore and the neighbouring region.

The Singapore Mediation Lecture is proudly brought to you by Harry Elias Partnership LLP and Singapore Mediation Centre, in collaboration with the Singapore Management University.

For registration: https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1272890

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Survey on the Use of Mediation in the Asia Pacific Region

The International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) is a U.S.-based nonprofit think tank. The organization was founded more than 30 years ago by multinational corporations to examine ways to avoid time consuming and expensive litigation. Since that time, CPR has worked in conjunction with our law firm and corporate members to develop techniques to assist businesses in resolving their disputes by more expeditious and cost effective processes.

CPR members are increasingly doing business in the Asia Pacific region and have asked that we conduct a survey of businesses and law firms in the region to gather information about the use of mediation to resolve business disputes, to identify barriers to the use of mediation, and to, ultimately, make recommendations as to how to overcome these barriers. Working in conjunction with our Asia Pacific Advisory Council, CPR has created the attached survey, which will enable us to collect data and to quantify the results with a view to identifying those countries which might benefit from seminars or training on mediation.

We would greatly appreciate your assistance in completing the survey.  Please use the link below.  All information gathered will be kept strictly confidential, and your company name will not be identified. If you have any questions, please contact us. In addition, if you know of any corporations or law firms that should be included in this survey, please feel free to forward this email or the following link to them:

Thank you in advance for taking the time to assist CPR in this important endeavor.  


Thank you in advance for taking the time to assist CPR in this important endeavour.  

With kind regards,

Beth Trent
Senior Vice President and Director of Programs
International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Dispute Resolution

CPR’s Asia Pacific Advisory Council:

Prof. David L. Sandborg
Law Office of David Sandborg

Cecil Abraham
Zul Rafique & Partners

Professor Lawrence Boo
Arbitration Chambers

Professor Seung Wha Chang
Seoul National University -School ofLaw

Teresa Cheng
Des Voeux Chambers

Justice Florentino Feliciano
SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

Yukukazu Hanamizu
Yuasa and Hara

Michael Hwang
Michael Hwang SC


Yu Jianlong
China Intl Economic & Trade Arbitration Commission

Sumeet Kachwaha
Kachwaha & Partners

Dr. Hyun Kim
Sechang & Co

David L. Kreider
Vodafone New Zealand Limited

Nigel Li
Li and Lee

Fali Nariman
Bar Association of India

David Newton
Accord Group


Perry L. Pe
Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura

Vinayek Pradhan
Skrine Malaysia

Pallavi Shroff
Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co.

Gary Soo
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre

Sir Laurence Street

Jingzhou Tao
Jones Day

Hiroyuki Tezuka
Nishimura & Partners



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Following recent meetings with some of the mediation “stakeholders” in Singapore, I’ve been thinking about another dimension of culture and mediation. We typically think in terms of the impact of culture on process, perceptions of conflict, relationships and so on; but what becomes apparent is the impact of context and culture on the foundation of mediation – that is, on how mediation fits the normative and cultural life of a community or society and how, in it’s more modern versions, mediation programmes are initiated.

Part of the question here arises because there are perceived to be challenges in getting mediation going – even though it is, in many respects, well established. And it now seems blindingly obvious to me that some of the obstacles to developing – or more likely exporting – mediation in and to new locations arise because of questions of cultural “fit”.

This now is how I look back on the same questions I addressed in looking at why mediation seemed to be slow in developing in Germany, notwithstanding the fact that the same sociology, the same issues of access to justice etc were all being considered in Germany at the same time as in the US, the UK, NZ etc. If I think of the literature I read at that time, the issue may well be this:

1. the German response was one of constitutional and legal caution, hesitating to adopt a process that seemed not to have solid constitutional and legal foundations;
2. the American literature on the founding ideals of “alternative” dispute resolution emphasised autonomy, critiques of legal formalism, the primacy of participation and choice . . . all of which are in fact challenges to core principles of legality;
3. at the same time, note the parallel critique of ADR from people like Fiss and Luban, concerned at the loss of the public domain in law and norms – a critique not unlike the early German reservations;
4. when, however, mediation can be given a place within the structures of law – through legislation, through court-annexed processes, or through judicial mediation, then at least some of those reservations are dimmed.

So, if I think about the issues of establishing mediation in, say, Singapore, some of the elements are these – especially when the question turns to locating the right “champion” to assist in the promotion of mediation, or determining the government agencies that need to be brought onside:

1. What values of mediation are being promoted (or are contested)?
– access to justice
– equity (including economic and indigenous equity issues);
– autonomy, responsibility
– efficiency and cost saving
– social cohesion, civic values

2. What process of mediation is promoted?
– independent, ‘alternative’
– indigenous
– court-linked
– professional
– Western, Asian . . .

3. What agencies are engaged?
– professions (new turf wars?)
– courts
– government (legislation)
– community bodies
– indigenous, faith or cultural groups
– civil society

4. What outcomes are expected?
– cost and time saving
– capacity building
– autonomy and participation
– settlement
– civic and civil dialogue (cf médiation sociale)

5. What constraints and critiques?
– public values (vs. private settlement)
– constitutional, formalist
– limiting court access (rights issues)
– loss of precedent
– emergence of parallel faith-based systems

6. What history is invoked (in promoting mediation)?
– the rise of informalism
– critiques of legalism
– community activism
– efficiency aims
– pluralism and indigenous & faith-based processes
– democratic participation and dialogue (e.g. in negotiated rule making)

7. What politics and policy issues?
– liberal individualism and values of autonomy, choice;
– identity, indigeneity, pluralism
– state interests in efficiency, costs, court backlogs
– negotiated rule making: participatory politics
– normative coherence (and managing mediation)

8. What jurisprudence is invoked?
– pluralism: substantive, procedural
– soft law and the role of the state;
– justice: again, procedural and substantive
– legitimacy – either [and these seem to be competing values]:
• by maintaining links to the legal mothership or
• by fostering wider access to resolution/justice
– role of state institutions in decision making
• what distance between mediation and law?
– institutional & political priorities:
• e.g. Singapore’s “hub” aspirations
• what policy reasons for promoting mediation
• civic and community values;
• mediation as a form of informal social ordering (cf Abel)

9. What cultural norms and values?
– recognition and inclusion of cultural processes
– creation and recognition of separate processes
– a cosmopolitan approach to the negotiation of pluralism
– or liberal assumptions (Brian Barry) of sufficient inclusiveness
– faith-based claims to distinctiveness
– indigeneity claims

10. What idea of agency in legal process and development?
– who are the drivers and champions
– what is the scope for initiative
– how is agency shaped by expected outcomes – e.g.
• efficiency
• civic order
– how is agency also shaped by the political context
• what ‘permissions’ are needed
• what scope for critical alternatives

The cultural point then is that adapting mediation involves more than adjustments to style, process, language etc – it seems to involve addressing what actually are underlying principles of legitimacy. And my recollection of the German literature on this is that that issue was in fact paramount – not least in the concern that there might be constitutional impropriety in having people making their own decisions which is directly an affront to principles of adjudication and public justice.

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