Mediation Wish List for 2017
2016 was an eventful year for mediation in Singapore: there were amendments to the Supreme Court Practice Directions on the provisions for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for civil cases; the Family Justice Courts started ordering suitable cases to attend private mediation; the 1st in the series of the Global Pound Conference took place in Singapore; and the Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy was launched.
With the passing of the Mediation Bill this month, more changes to the dispute resolution landscape in Singapore may be underway in 2017. In anticipation of an even more exciting year for mediation, SMC has invited our friends and mediators to share their thoughts and wishes for mediation for the rest of 2017:
“We have two wishes for the year. First, given in particular the burgeoning number of mediations conducted in the course of civil proceedings, for counsel to be fully cognisant of the integral role which they can play in the making (or breaking) of a negotiated agreement. Second, we invite mediators to have the courage to walk the fine line between appropriately utilising reality testing techniques and evaluating the merits of the dispute, whether merely perceived or otherwise.”
Ms Lie Chin Chin, Managing Director, Characterist LLC
"I wish for Mediation to be regarded as a mainstream dispute resolution option instead of just an alternative process. This means a state of affairs where disputants regard Mediation as a viable option to dispose of a dispute with certainty and finality, rather than as a pre-litigation or pre-arbitration, optional process. I can see 2 ways to do this: legislate (sledgehammer approach) or advocate (persuasion). I personally hope for something in the middle- a light-handed approach to legislation coupled with an appealing incentive to mediate (eg fiscal or monetary), and public education that starts with our young (eg inculcate the expectation of using Mediation in early education). As an inhouse counsel, I believe that Mediation has the potential to reduce costs, time and the stress of litigation proceedings."
Ms Neoh Sue Lynn, Vice President, Singapore Corporate Counsel Association (views expressed are the writer's own)
“Mediation has been good for my clients for 2016. Some of them have managed to settle matters and this has allowed them to focus on new challenges in these difficult times. For 2017, I hope that the settlement rate at the mediation centre will continue to improve but more importantly, that parties to mediation will forge new ways to maintain their working relationship and be more forward looking.”
Mr Lawrence Tan SL, Partner, Eldan Law LLP
“In 2016, my firm referred several high conflict cases involving probate, commercial, family and medical negligence issues for mediation. The resolution of these cases through mediation has brought peace of mind to my clients and enabled them to move on with their lives. In one case, parties were actually discussing the prospect of further business after a successful mediation and during the drafting of the settlement agreement.
Currently, most Singapore mediators are trained in the facilitative style of mediation. I believe that mediation practice in Singapore has reached a stage where mediators should explore other styles of mediation such as evaluative and transformative or a blend of all 3 styles. This is especially important if Singapore is to take centre-stage in international mediation as different cultures may require different approaches in mediation and our mediators should be trained to acquire such flexibility. Another prospect going forward in 2017 is for a mediation process that would enable the mediator to protect a party who is in a weaker position or unrepresented.”
Ms Engelin Teh, SC, Managing Director, Engelin Teh Practice LLC
For more information on mediation, please visit www.mediation.com.sg
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January 2017 Issue. For past issues, read more here.