Institutional or ad-hoc mediation?

You’ve heard about how mediation can save you time and money and preserve business relationships. But do you know which is better - to make private arrangements (ad-hoc mediation) or seek the services of a dedicated mediation centre?

‘One-stop’ centre

Outside the courts, SMC is the most popular institutional mediation provider in Singapore, with more than 300 cases a year. Perhaps one reason for this is SMC’s ‘one-stop’ approach in providing a full package of services, from recommending suitably experienced mediators and settling logistics (including the venue and refreshments) to encouraging and persuading the other party to attend. This saves you the hassle of organizing the mediation and allows you to focus on what matters most – reaching a settlement that reflects your priorities. On the other hand, ad-hoc mediation is generally preferred by large companies with in-house legal departments and the manpower to handle organizational details.

Choosing the right mediator

When you apply for institutional mediation at SMC, a dedicated secretariat examines your case and recommends a mediator with the appropriate expertise. With a pool of 486 accredited mediators from diverse industry and cultural backgrounds, SMC is able to match you with the right person for your specific situation, and can even arrange for co-mediation (e.g. a lawyer and an industry expert) if necessary. SMC’s panel of mediators operate according to a tried and tested set of Mediation Procedure Rules, and in 2014, achieved a successful settlement rate of 75% (out of 337 cases).

Ad-hoc mediation gives you absolute flexibility in the choice of mediator. However without the assistance of a dedicated secretariat, the burden of driving the process often falls solely on the mediator, making the choice of mediator even more critical. Furthermore, if parties cannot come to an agreement, this may lead to satellite disputes. Leaving the appointment of mediator to an institution instead will prevent this from happening.

Getting things going

Additionally, one of the main concerns of initiating mediation is the ability to convince the other party to attend mediation as it is a voluntary process. In institutional mediation such as at SMC, SMC plays the role of a neutral facilitator that invites both parties to a session and gets things moving. In this way, both parties can ‘save face’ and come to the negotiating table without appearing to be ‘giving in’ to the other side’s demands.Where else in ad-hoc mediation, the onus is on you to convince the other party to attend, which can be tough if you don’t have their trust.

Still not sure what’s best for you? Give us a call at SMC and we’ll be happy to respond.

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May 2015 Issue. For past issues, read more here.


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Singapore Mediation Centre | 1 Supreme Court Lane, Level 4, Singapore 178879 Tel +65 6332 4366