Numbers speak volumes — and statistics testify to Singapore Mediation Centre’s (SMC) standing as the premier provider of conflict management and dispute resolution services.
More than 3,300 matters have been referred to SMC. About 70% of the cases mediated are settled, with 90% of them being resolved within one working day.
As the flagship mediation centre, SMC has partnered industry chiefs to put in place focused mediation schemes for every sector. Internationally, SMC played a key role in the formation of the Asian Mediation Association. We are also a founding member of the Netherlands-based International Mediation Institute, which sets out competency standards for mediators worldwide.
SMC is not only the go-to institution for mediation in Singapore. Our sphere of influence has expanded via training to some 20 countries from Austria to the United Arab Emirates. Our training workshops, both local and overseas, are equally well-rated.
More than 3,300 matters have been mediated at SMC. The rate of settlement is about 70%, with 90% of them being resolved within one working day.
Of the more than 1,700 disputants who took part in the mediations held at SMC’s offices at the Supreme Court, more than 84% reported saving costs while more than 88% said they saved time. Also, more than 94% said they would recommend the process to other persons in the same conflict situation.
Construction disputes account for about 40% of the cases that SMC handles. Other types of cases run the gamut of banking, contractual, corporate, employment, information technology, insurance, partnership, shipping and tenancy disagreements. SMC also intercedes in contested divorces and its related matters, family feuds, and negligence and personal injury claims.
As part of its functions, SMC:
• Provides mediation and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services
• Trains individuals on how to negotiate, mediate and manage conflict
• Accredits and maintains a panel of mediators and other neutrals
• Consults in dispute avoidance and dispute management, and
• Promotes alternative ways of settling conflicts in Singapore and abroad.
Our partners, clients and supporters whom we have trained value the positive impact that peaceable methods have had on business and co-worker relationships, and their work environment. Find our list of institutional partners, clients and supporters here.
SMC, which comes under the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL), is a not-for-profit organisation providing commercial mediation services. SMC was launched by the then Chief Justice Yong Pung How on 16 August 1997.
SMC counts the support of the Singapore Judiciary, Singapore Academy of Law, Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and professional and trade associations, in its successful spearheading of the mediation movement in Singapore and its expansion overseas.
The judiciary has always been supportive of mediation and will continue to do so. Mediation is here to stay. ... The public and commercial sectors will have to shift out of the litigation gear and be willing to attempt mediation. The Singapore Mediation Centre should be the first stop for the parties to try to resolve their dispute.
Yong Pung How, Former Chief Justice of Singapore, Launch of the Singapore Mediation Centre, 16 August 1997
My experience with mediation has been a positive one. It really facilitates a level of communication between parties that is often not possible in litigation. The staff at the Singapore Mediation Centre really listen carefully to the needs of the parties and try to be accommodating. I have recommended the SMC to my clients and would be happy to do so again in future.
Kuah Boon Theng, Legal Clinic LLC
The SMC is a highly professional outfit which has the single-minded aim of delivering a process which has integrity and is scrupulously fair. It has more than achieved its goal.
Davinder Singh, Senior Counsel, Chief Executive Officer, Drew & Napier LLC
Mediation often results in mutual accommodation, and the avoidance of costly, and often highly contentious, litigation.
Joseph Grimberg, Senior Counsel, Consultant, Drew & Napier LLC
I have been involved with SMC ever since its inception, and have admired its development into a powerful instrument for amicable dispute resolution over the years. Its success reminds us that pressing a dispute to adjudication by litigation or arbitration is not always the best policy, and other methods of dispute settlement may be cheaper, faster and ultimately more satisfactory.
Michael Hwang, Senior Counsel, Michael Hwang Chambers
SMC undoubtedly plays a pivotal role in fostering mediation as an expedient and efficacious means of settling disputes. In this respect SMC has fulfilled its role admirably. I am confident SMC will build on its recognition and make mediation the preferred choice of dispute resolution.
Seah Choo Meng, Senior Advisor, Surbana Jurong Pte Ltd
Our clients have benefitted from the expertise and quality of the mediators from SMC in resolving construction-related disputes. The mediators work closely with the parties to try and effect creative methods of achieving a “win-win” outcome. This in turn helps the parties to save a lot of time and money.
Edwin Sim, Director, Lexton Law Corporation
I would highly recommend mediation as a great way to resolve conflicts. The mediation process is entirely in the hands of the parties involved. It can be as cost effective and as efficient as the parties would like it to be. Singapore Mediation Centre helps by providing highly competent mediators.
Quek Bin Hwee, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
As lawyers, our paramount interest in a matter is always that of our clients. Mediation at SMC with their very patient and effective mediators is something that I would commend to parties who are minded to resolve a dispute without going through the rigours and stress of protracted litigation.
Mr Lee Soo Chye, Senior Partner, Aequitas Law LLP
Thanks to George Lim and the Singapore Mediation Centre, Fiji has been given relevant training and encouragement. We are confidently on the road forward for the integration of mediation into our justice system. We have miles to travel. However with SMC’s loyal commitment to assist us in that travel gives us the necessary encouragement to persist.
Chief Justice Anthony Gates, Fiji
Thank you for the most interactive and results-oriented training I have ever attended. SMC is a top notch training provider for those seeking hands on experience in mediation. Participants gain practical mediation skills and feel prepared to mediate in their cases.
Jehad Kazim, Director, Legal Service, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry
- SMC is formed under Singapore Academy of Law to promote mediation services for civil disputes in the High Court. It is launched by former Chief Justice Yong Pung How
- First batch of mediators are accredited to SMC’s Panel of Mediators
- SMC starts Mediation Week providing free mediations, held annually till 2000
- International Panel of Mediators is established and first mediation workshops held overseas
- SMC launches Neutral Evaluation (targeting disputes between new home buyers and developers over housing defects)
- SMC holds the Inaugural Singapore Mediation Conference
- Mediation Awareness Month is launched with (3 seminars organised with CMC, Sub Courts and grassroots councils, among others)
- Singapore Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy is developed
- SMC holds its first mediation workshops Europe
- SMC’s list of institutional clients for training grows, and mediation gains prominence
- SMC holds workshops almost weekly, increasing training revenue by 44.3%
- MOU signs MOU with HK Mediation Centre and International Federation of Asian and Western Pacific Contractors’ Association
- SMC holds the first Train the Trainers course overseas for Philippine Judicial Academy Court of Appeals Mediation Project
- New training modules are designed for institutional clients such as MinLaw’s Community Mediation Centres
- First training and certification course for adjudicators are held
- First Associate Mediator Accreditation Course held for the public
- Launched the Small Case Commercial Mediation Scheme for disputes worth $30,000 and below
- First mediation workshop held in Fiji for the Ministry of Labour and first mediation seminar held in the Middle East for Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry
- SMC celebrates its 10th anniversary
- It becomes a founding member of Netherlands-based International Mediation Institute and an MOU with regional peers to form the Asian Mediation Association
- First Mandarin mediation workshop held locally for judges from Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court and in Taipei for Chinese Arbitration Association
- Hosts the first Asian Mediation Association Conference, more than 300 participants from 19 countries
- Hosts the first Asian Mediation Association Conference, Mediation Diversity – Asia and Beyond
- Establishes the Council for Private Education Mediation-Arbitration Scheme
- SMC holds workshops in China, Fiji, Thailand, Hong Kong
- SMC-Medical Council Mediation and Council for Estate Agencies Mediation-Arbitration schemes are established
- Singapore Mediation Charter launched to encourage businesses to look to mediation as the first resort in dispute resolution
- Mediation Skills Elective for Preparatory Course leading to Part B of Singapore Bar Examinations is introduced
- SMC launches the Singapore Mediation Lecture Series
- Premier Mediation Scheme with Subordinate Courts of Singapore is launched
- Collaborative Family Practice Service is launched
- Holds the first Mediation Advocacy workshop with support of Singapore’s Subordinate Courts of Singapore and Law Society
- Overseas workshops in Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, Fiji, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Brunei
- SMC rebrands and launches its inaugural event for the business community, Unfolding Conversations
- Singapore Business Federation Fair Tenancy Framework is launched
- MOU with SIMC, Thailand Arbitration Centre and Singapore Business Federation
- SMC co-hosts the first of the Global Pound Conference series
- Launches mediation schemes with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore
- Launches the Info-communication Media Development Authority Subsidised Mediation Scheme
MEDIATION AS A STANCE
As businesses grow, the complexities and fast pace of changes may give rise to differences, leading to serious conflicts. Head honchos need a clear overview on how to strategically manage — better yet, prevent — misunderstandings.
Organisations need to put in place a system of how they will handle disagreements with customers, vendors, suppliers and staff. So that matters do not escalate into long-drawn and expensive lawsuits, ruining productivity and, possibly, bottom lines.
SMC equips your organisation with problem-solving and conflict resolution know-how. Our mediation methods, that are cheaper and faster, bring about a pragmatic solution that both sides can agree on. Parties avoid legal wrangles where there is a risk of them being handed down a ruling that is against their favour.
APPROACH TO MEDIATION
Mediation begins with the end in mind — to find the middle ground that feuding parties can settle on. Unlike in court, mediation does not pit parties against each other. Rather it seeks a peaceable outcome.
Our professional mediators are all trained to sterling mediation standards. Respected authority figures, they comprise senior members of the legal profession and industry experts. Using their standing and experience, they hear both sides of the story, identify issues, negotiate and guide the parties on ways to settle.
What’s key: disputing parties, with their lawyers, decide on the outcomes both sides can live with. They do not run the risk of having a judge or an arbitrator hand down a decision they are unhappy about.
Turn to mediation as an effective way of managing a wide range of conflicts.
Can my case be mediated?
All types of disputes, no matter the size of the claim, can be mediated. The exceptions are:
- Criminal cases
- Cases which require a precedent (for example, a class action situation)
- Cases where only the courts can give an appropriate remedy (for example, an injunction or a personal protection order).
Why should I mediate?
1. Save time and money
At SMC, most cases that are resolved, are settled within one working day. Both individuals and organisations who have experienced SMC’s mediation, applaud the speed at which they were able to untangle themselves from a potentially long-drawn conflict. Sessions can be arranged quickly and, in urgent cases, within 24 hours.
Complicated matters which go to court take months of preparatory work with your lawyers, and in trial. Avoid such hefty costs. While savings of SMC-mediated cases vary, the swiftness of settling will keep a lid on your legal expenses.
2. Control over outcome
Parties settle only when they are satisfied with the terms that they have mutually agreed to, with the help of their mediators. The settlement terms are binding on the parties.
You control the outcome as you and the other party decide on the terms of settlement. In contrast, in a lawsuit or arbitration, you face the risk of having a judge or an arbitrator deciding against your case.
3. Salvages ties
Rather than have parties butt heads, SMC’s mediators work to sieve out the rancour in discussions. They even aid to improve relationships where possible. This strategy is useful when parties need to continue to work together. Finally, evidence shows that settlement agreements resulting from mediation stand the test of time.
4. Maintain confidentiality
Mediation is for parties who value their privacy as matters discussed in the sessions are kept confidential. SMC, its mediators and the parties involved are bound by an agreement and are not allowed to disclose any information about the sessions.
Also, because mediation is a “without prejudice” process, matters discussed behind closed doors cannot be used against the parties in court or in arbitration. So persons at loggerheads are more likely to arrive at creative and sensible ways to end their dispute.
Apply under SMC’s mediation schemes by downloading and filling in the relevant application form. Return the form to us by email, fax or mail.
SMC’s Commercial Mediation Scheme caters to disputes above $60,000. The Small Case Commercial Mediation Scheme applies to disputes up to $60,000.
What happens at the mediation session?
Individuals should attend the session in person. Organisations should appoint an authorised representative who can make decisions and settle on its behalf.
The session will be held in confidence, and no transcript or formal record will be made of the proceedings. Only the mediator, the parties and/or their authorised representatives and advisers are allowed to be present.
The mediation process is flexible. Typically, it includes these stages:
- Mediator begins with an opening statement to introduce the parties to the process
- Parties are asked to voice their concerns
- Next, parties draw up a list of all relevant issues to be discussed
- Mediator then leads and encourages the parties to consider each issue in turn. At some point, the mediator may request to see the parties privately. They may be brought together again for further talks
- Where a settlement is reached in the mediation, the terms are usually recorded in writing and signed by or on behalf of the parties.
Do I need a lawyer to come with me to the mediation?
SMC encourages parties to have their lawyers present because the lawyers assist the mediator and advise the parties throughout the settlement process. Also, the lawyers usually help parties to draft the settlement agreement. However, it is not a must for parties to be represented by lawyers during mediation.
SMC does not provide legal advice nor recommends lawyers. You may consult The Law Society of Singapore website to find a lawyer.
How much does mediation cost?
SMC’s commercial mediation fees are pegged to the sum of the claim and counterclaim.
For commercial disputes above $60,000, the fee starts from $963 (includes GST) per party per day. For commercial disputes up to $60,000, mediation is free for the first 2 hours. After which, it starts at $80.25 (includes GST) per party per hour or part thereof.
The rates for SMC’s Industry Mediation Schemes are designed to be affordable. The figures vary from scheme to scheme. For more information, refer to the fee schedules of the respective schemes.
Any dispute arising out of or in connection with this agreement must be submitted for mediation at the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) in accordance with SMC’s Mediation Procedure in force for the time being. Either/any party may submit a request to mediate to SMC upon which the other party will be bound to participate in the mediation within [45 days] thereof. Every party to the mediation must be represented by [senior executive personnel, of at least the seniority of a Head of Department] or its equivalent, with authority to negotiate and settle the dispute. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the Mediator(s) will be appointed by SMC. The mediation will take place in Singapore in the [English] language and the parties agree to be bound by any settlement agreement reached.
SMC is a not-for-profit organisation run by a dedicated team of experienced professionals. Charged with promoting strategic conflict management, SMC is guided by a Board of Directors and a Board of Advisers.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SMC’s strategic directions are charted and overseen by a Board of Directors.
Supreme Court of Singapore
Home Team Volunteers Network
Wee Swee Teow LLP
Wee, Tay & Lim LLP
Equitas Chambers Pte Ltd
Singapore Academy of Law
Singapore International Commercial Court & Court of Appeal
Keppel Infrastructure Fund Management Pte Ltd
National Heritage Board
BOARD OF ADVISERS
Our Board of Advisers provides strategic advice to enable SMC to achieve its mission.
Supreme Court of Singapore
of the State Courts of Singapore
Ministry of Law
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Supreme Court of Singapore
Construction Adjudicator Accreditation Committee (CAAC)
SMC was appointed as an Authorised Nominating Body in 2005 by the Building and Construction Authority under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (Cap 30B).
In this role, SMC provides and manages adjudication services under the legislation. SMC established and maintains a register of Adjudicators as part of the services.
The CAAC, formed by SMC, comprises veterans in Singapore’s construction industry. The Committee advises on suitable persons who may serve as SMC Adjudicators. The members oversee the training and assessment programme of potential Adjudicators. They also serve on the Complaints Panel to hear feedback received about Adjudicators. The Committee also guides SMC on issues related to adjudication services.
Equitas Chambers Pte Ltd
Panther Capital LLP
Eldan Law LLP
Pinsent Masons MPillay LLP
Surbana Jurong Private Limited
TEP Consultants Pte Ltd
SINGAPORE MEDIATION CHARTER
Many organisations see the benefits of mediation and have pledged their commitment to resolve disputes without resorting to lawsuits. The pledge is free and not legally binding.
Grow the mediation movement: become an SMC signatory.
PLEDGE TO MEDIATE
A signatory makes a public policy statement, signalling its commitment to promote mediation through five core actions:
- Action 1: consider mediation as the first step in resolving the organisation’s conflicts with other persons or organisations
- Action 2: insert mediation clause(s) in agreements and forms that the organisation is a party to, whenever appropriate
- Action 3: engage its staff and members in programmes which equip them with the know-how of mediation
- Action 4: display its name as a signatory to the Mediation Charter on SMC’s website, and
- Action 5: where applicable, display the SMC logo or a hyperlink to SMC’s website in the form and design specified by SMC on its website.
Become a signatory
Sign and return the completed Singapore Mediation Charter Form to SMC. We shall follow up with your organisation and advise you of the next steps and your exclusive benefits as a signatory.
and returning the completed Form to SMC. SMC will thereafter follow up with your organisation and advise you of the next steps. As a signatory, an organisation will also enjoy exclusive benefits from SMC.
BENEFITS OF BECOMING A SIGNATORY
SMC offers signatories these exclusive benefits:
- One free one-hour talk, ‘Introduction to Mediation at SMC’. You need to secure a minimum of 30 attendees
- Free legal consultation on the drafting of mediation clauses for your organisation’s use
- For quantum of claim above $250,000, enjoy $500 off your mediation fees. (The discount does not apply to the filing fee of $267.50.)
- 15% discount off published rates for staff of signatories who register for SMC’s Conflict Management workshops and seminars
- 15% off customised in-house conflict management workshops conducted by SMC
- Listing of your organisation’s name as a signatory to the Mediation Charter on SMC’s website, and
- By-invitation-only entry to SMC or SMC-supported mediation-related events.
All discounts offered by SMC are for two years from the date of signing the Mediation Charter.
What is the difference between SMC and SIMC?
Both SMC and Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) offer mediation services. However, SMC focuses on domestic commercial disputes whereas SIMC focuses on international ones.
The focus is evident from the composition of SMC and SIMC’s panels of mediators: SIMC’s panel mainly comprises international mediators whereas SMC’s panel is made up of mostly domestic mediators.
SIMC is only a mediation service provider and its mediators are required to be certified by the Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI), which is an independent body that sets the standards for mediators. In contrast, SMC also provides other dispute resolution services (such as adjudication) and offers training and assessment programmes leading to credentialing (SIMI and IMI).
For more information about SIMC, visit http://simc.com.sg/.
When should a case be referred to SMC and when should it be referred to SIMC?
You are free to choose to mediate at SMC or SIMC, depending on whether yours is a domestic or international commercial dispute.
What is the difference between SMC and SIMI?
SIMI is a professional standards body for mediation. It implements and maintains a credentialing scheme for mediators, and audits and ensures that high standards are met with registered partners who run training and/or mediation services. However, SIMI itself does not run training or assessment courses that lead to accreditation or certification. It also does not offer mediation services.
In addition to mediation services, SMC also offers training and assessment programmes leading to SIMI (and IMI) credentialing. It is also the first institution to be recognised under SIMI’s Registered Training Programme and its Qualifying Assessment Programme.
For more information about SIMI, visit http://www.simi.org.sg/.