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This note is less about mediation in Asia, than about the potential Asian role in mediation beyond those geographical boundaries.

It is an article of faith, and a regularly repeated principle of regional – ASEAN and East Asian – politics, that neighbour states do not become involved in the domestic affairs of others. Without going into the reasons for or defences of this policy, it’s interesting to note a recent apparent shift, at least on the part of China. One of the issues that is a subject of comment – at least in Western media – is that the policy of non-intervention in self-serving in that it permits ongoing commercial engagement with nations that have dubious human rights records; and permits aid policies that – unlike many Western aid projects – are linked to the improvement of human rights conditions in recipient countries. The non-intervention policy becomes, in such circumstances, a no-comment policy: aid cannot be tied to domestic policies, on which the donor nation chooses not to comment or pass judgment.

However, recent news items show that China is willing to act as mediator in the ongoing conflict between Sudan and South Sudan: http://thediplomat.com/2014/06/in-south-sudan-conflict-china-tests-its-mediation-skills/

Cynically, the observation is made that this is less about diplomacy than about commercial interests and that the policy of non-intervention can be at least partially waived where (i) there are significant commercial interests of the prospective mediator nation; and/or (ii) that third party nation also has the necessary leverage with both parties to have some impact; and/or (iii) the mediating state has a strong “good neighbour” reputation.

Leave aside the scepticism about motives for a moment – what this does suggest is that we may see more of those ASEAN and Asian states, as regional and even as global mediators, where those states are seen as acceptable third parties; and they may well be acceptable precisely because they do not have the kind of history of political intervention that other “mediating” states have. Consider, as a parallel, the effectiveness of smaller states such as Norway in international politics.

In all cases, however, there will be reason to keep an eye on the reasons for this kind of ‘intervention’, not least as research on international mediation underscores the importance of the leverage of the mediator.

After some time of silence on this blog – you can now find me usually over on the Kluwer Mediation blog: http://kluwermediationblog.com/author/ianmacduff/ – I will simply note here a couple of graduate programmes that may be of interest to anyone who may still be following. First, the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati, in the Basque Country, offers a well-established international Masters in the Sociology of Law. I’ll upload the brochure for the next academic year’s programme.   2014-15_programme                     Second, the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona has a Masters in Conflictology, run in conjunction with the UN Institute for Training and Research. I will also upload the brochure for this programme. UNITAR_UOC Brochure (final) 2_light   As I maintain my links with both of these programmes, I do offer a personal recommendation!

After some time of silence on this blog – you can now find me usually over on the Kluwer Mediation blog: http://kluwermediationblog.com/author/ianmacduff/ – I will simply note here a couple of graduate programmes hats may be of interest to anyone who may still be following. First, the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati, in the Basque Country, offers a well-established international Masters in the Sociology of Law. I’ll upload the brochure for the next academic year’s programme.   2014-15_programme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second, the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona has a Masters in Conflictology, run in conjunction with the UN Institute for Training and Research. I will also upload the brochure for this programme. UNITAR_UOC Brochure (final) 2_light

 

As I maintain my links with both of these programmes, I do offer a personal recommendation!

After some time of silence on this blog – you can now find me usually over on the Kluwer Mediation blog: http://kluwermediationblog.com/author/ianmacduff/ – I will simply note here a couple of graduate programmes hats may be of interest to anyone who may still be following.

First, the International Institute for the Sociology of Law in Oñati, in the Basque Country, offers a well-established international Masters in the Sociology of Law. I’ll upload the brochure for the next academic year’s programme.

 

2014-15_programme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second, the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona has a Masters in Conflictology, run in conjunction with the UN Institute for Training and Research. I will also upload the brochure for this programme.

UNITAR_UOC Brochure (final) 2_light

As I maintain my links with both of these programmes, I do offer a personal recommendation!

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.

Background

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.

The open University of Catalonia (www.uoc.edu) is launching a course on “expertise in online mediation”. Over the past couple of years, an international group of the top people in this field have been pooling ideas, and generating plans for online graduate programmes in aspects of ODR, and this course is the first result. This is worth checking out – especially when you note the Faculty who will be teaching on both the English and Spanish language programmes. You’ll be in the company of the people who are shaping the field.

For information, see http://studies.uoc.edu/en/postgraduate-courses/law-political-science/odr-mediation-expertise-eng/presentation. The Faculty names do not appear to be listed under the “Faculty” tab, but they include:

Ethan Katsh, Colin Rule, Pablo Cortès, Jeff Aresty, Daniel Rainey, David Larson, Graham Ross, Alberto Elisavetsky, Esther Vilalta, Rosa Perez Martell.

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.

 

Registration

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.