As businesses grow, more are increasingly turning to mediation as a strategic conflict management tool. At SMC, we empower parties to take charge and gain positive outcomes in complex business environments.
MEDIATION AS A STANCE
Having a clear and strategic view on how to manage potential conflicts that arise as part of today’s dynamic business environment is a critical function in the boardroom.
SMC focuses on both prevention and resolution of conflicts to help organisations stay on track and in control of their businesses.
What this means
Mediation and the host of other services provided by SMC should be viewed as part of a collective management strategy that ensures that organisations are equipped to handle conflict be it in terms of disagreements with customers, vendors, suppliers and even internal staff.
We believe in helping you achieve cost and time effective solutions, that would allow you to minimise your risk when resolving difficult situations.
APPROACH TO MEDIATION
Mediation in a nutshell
Mediation is a solutions-driven, problem-solving process. Instead of pitting parties against each other, we facilitate an objective discussion on how to advance difficult situations. The goal of mediation is to find a practical solution and settlement that is acceptable to all involved.
Our process is carefully managed and facilitated by one of our professional mediators. All SMC mediators have undergone mediation training of the highest standards. They are respected, senior members of the legal profession or are industry experts in their own particular fields. Their experience and training help parties identify issues, negotiate constructively and explore different ways of settling.
Key to mediation is that parties make their own decisions, often with the help of their lawyers. They are in complete control of the outcome and do not run the risk of having an unfavourable decision imposed upon them by a judge or arbitrator.
Leveraged properly, mediation is an effective approach to managing a wide-array of disagreements and conflicts.
Can my case be mediated?
All types of disputes, regardless of the size of your claim or geographical reach can be mediated, so long as it is not criminal in nature.
Generally, all cases are suitable for mediation except cases where a precedent (eg class action situation) is required; and where only the courts can provide an appropriate remedy (eg injunction, personal protection order).
Why should I mediate?
1. Cost and time saving
At SMC, the majority of the cases are settled within one working day. Both individuals and organisations have reported enormous savings in time, and expressed how quickly they were able to untangle themselves from a potentially long-drawn dispute. Mediation sessions can be arranged quickly and in urgent cases, within 24 hours.
Some complicated matters may take months of preparatory work with your lawyers and in trial, incurring substantial costs to have your dispute resolved. While cost-savings will vary from case to case, the expediency of mediation ensures you keep your costs to a minimum.
2. Control over outcome
The 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 have control over the outcome as you and the other party get to decide on the terms of settlement. By contrast, in a lawsuit or arbitration, you face the risk of having a judge or an arbitrator deciding against your case.
3. Preserves relationships
Mediation is non-confrontational and our mediators ensure communication is objective and positive, aiding in the improvement of relationships where possible. This approach has been particularly effective when there is the need to maintain an on-going commercial or working relationship, and experience has shown that settlement agreements resulting from mediation are more durable.
4. Private & confidential
Mediation is a process for parties who value their privacy as matters discussed in the mediation are generally confidential. SMC, its mediators and the parties involved are bound by an agreement and are generally prohibited from disclosing any information relating to the mediation. As a result, the parties are given a safe environment to explore issues and different solutions. As mediation is a ‘without prejudice’ process, any matter discussed during the mediation cannot be used against parties in court or in arbitration. In such a setting, parties are more likely to arrive at creative and pragmatic solutions to their disputes.
How do I apply for mediation?
You may apply for mediation under SMC’s mediation schemes by downloading and filling in the relevant application form. You may send it to us by email, fax or mail. SMC’s Commercial Mediation Scheme caters to disputes over $60,000. The Small Case Commercial Mediation Scheme caters to disputes up to $60,000.
What happens at the mediation session?
Generally, individuals should attend the mediation in person. For cases involving an organisation, you should appoint an authorised representative who can make decisions and settle on behalf of the organisation.
The mediation will be conducted 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 will be permitted to be present during the mediation.
There the process is flexible, a mediation will generally include the following stages:
- The mediator will begin with an opening statement to introduce the parties to the process.
- The parties will then be invited to share their concerns.
- The next step in the process will be to draw up a list of all relevant issues to be discussed.
- The mediator will then lead and encourage the parties to consider each issue in turn. At some point in time, the mediator may request to see the parties privately. They may subsequently be brought together again for further joint discussions.
- Where a settlement is reached in the mediation, the terms of the settlement will usually be 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 bring their lawyers to the mediation because the lawyers play an important role in assisting the mediator and advising the parties throughout the settlement process. In addition, the lawyers usually assist parties to draft the settlement agreement. However, it is not mandatory for parties to be represented by lawyers during mediation.
SMC does not provide legal advice, and is unable to make recommendations on lawyers. You may wish to consult The Law Society of Singapore website to find a lawyer.
How much will it cost?
SMC’s commercial mediation fees are pegged to the sum of the claim and counterclaim. For commercial disputes above $60,000, the mediation fee starts from S$963 (inclusive of GST) per party per day. For commercial disputes up to $60,000, mediation is free for the first 2 hours. Thereafter, it starts at $80.25 (inclusive of GST) per party per hour or part thereof.
If you choose one of SMC’s Industry Mediation Schemes, the rates vary from scheme to scheme and are designed to make mediation affordable. Please refer to the fee schedules of the respective schemes for more information.
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 the promotion of strategic conflict management solutions, SMC is guided by a Board of Directors and a Board of Advisors.
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 & Co
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
IBM Singapore Pte Ltd
National Heritage Board
BOARD OF ADVISORS
Our Board of Advisors provides strategic advice to enable SMC to achieve its mission.
Ministry of Law
State Courts of Singapore
Supreme Court of Singapore
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Construction Adjudicator Accreditation Committee
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).
As an Authorised Nominating Body, SMC provides and manages adjudication services under the legislation. This includes establishing and maintaining a register of Adjudicators.
The Construction Adjudicator Accreditation Committee was formed by SMC, comprising established and recognised leaders in the Singapore construction industry, to provide advice on suitable persons who may serve as SMC Adjudicators. The members oversee the training and assessment programme of potential Adjudicators as well as serve on the Complaints Panel to hear complaints received about Adjudicators. The Committee also provides SMC with guidance on issues pertaining to adjudication services.
The members are:
Equitas Chambers Pte Ltd
Panther Capital LLP
Eldan Law LLP
Pinsent Masons MPillay LLP
TEP Consultants Pte Ltd
We have a proven track record of success. Over 2700 matters have been mediated at SMC. About 75% of the cases mediated are settled.
Of cases that are settled, more than 90% are concluded within one working day. Of the parties who provided feedback, 84% reported costs savings, 88% reported time savings and 94% would recommend the process to other persons in the same conflict situation.
Of cases that are settled,
- More than 90% are concluded within one working day
Of the parties who provided feedback,
- 84% reported costs savings
- 88% reported time savings
- 94% would recommend the process to other persons in the same conflict situation
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, Director, Langdon & Seah 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
SINGAPORE MEDIATION CHARTER
Recognising the benefits of mediation, many companies and organisations have come forward to formally pledge their commitment to resolve disputes outside traditional litigation channels. The pledge is cost-free and not legally binding. SMC invites all organisations in Singapore to become signatories.
PLEDGE TO MEDIATE
A signatory makes a public, policy statement signalling its commitment to the promotion of mediation through five core actions:
- Action 1: Considering mediation as a first resort to resolve the organisation’s disputes with other persons or organisations
- Action 2: Inserting a mediation clause(s) in agreements and forms that the organisation is a party to, whenever appropriate
- Action 3: Engaging its staff and members in programmes which equip them with the knowledge and skills of mediation
- Action 4: Displaying its name as a signatory to the Mediation Charter on the SMC website
- Action 5: Where applicable, display the SMC logo or a link which is hyper-linked to SMC's website in the form and design designated by SMC on your website
An organisation can become a signatory by signing the Singapore Mediation Charter Form 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 the following exclusive benefits:
- A free one-hour talk, ‘Introduction to Mediation at SMC’, for a minimum of 30 attendees identified by the signatories;
- Free legal consultation on the drafting of mediation clauses for the organisation’s use;
- For quantum of claim above $250,000, signatories enjoy $500 off their mediation fees (discount is not applicable for the $267.50 filing fee)
- 15% discount off published rates for staff of the signatories who register for the SMC’s conflict management workshops and seminars;
- 15% off customised in-house conflict management workshops conducted by SMC;
- Listing of the organisation’s name as a signatory to the Mediation Charter on SMC’s website; and
- Invites to exclusive and invitation only events, which include SMC or SMC supported mediation-related events.
All discounts offered by SMC are for a period of two years from the date of signing the Mediation Charter.
What is the difference between SMC and SIMC?
Although SMC and Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) both offer mediation services, SMC focuses on domestic commercial disputes whereas SIMC focuses on international commercial disputes. This focus is evident from the different composition of SMC and SIMC’s respective panels of mediators, with SIMC’s panel being largely comprised of international mediators and SMC’s panel being largely comprised of local mediators.
SIMC is a mediation service provider only and its mediators are required to be certified by the Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI), which is an independent body that sets standards for mediators. SMC, in addition to providing mediation services, also acts as a training and assessment body leading to SIMI credentialing.
For more information about SIMC, please visit http://simc.com.sg/.
When should a case be referred to SMC and when should it be referred to SIMC?
Parties are free to choose whether they prefer to mediate at SMC or SIMC, bearing in mind that SMC focuses on domestic commercial disputes and SIMC focuses on international commercial disputes.
What is the difference between SMC and SIMI?
SIMI is a professional standards body for mediation which implements and maintains a credentialing scheme for mediators, as well as audits and ensures that high standards are met with registered partners who conduct training and/or provide mediation services. SIMI does not conduct training or assessment courses that lead to accreditation or certification with SIMI, and does not offer mediation services.
SMC provides mediation services and offers mediation training and assessment programmes leading to SIMI credentialing. It is also the first organisation to be recognised under SIMI’s Registered Training Programme and its Qualifying Assessment Programme.
For more information about SIMI, please visit http://www.simi.org.sg/.