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February 10, 2017 Practice Points

Singapore Passes New ADR Laws

By S.I Strong

Recently, Singapore passed into law two bills that are meant to further improve Singapore's international dispute resolution. The Civil Law Amendment Bill allows for third-party funding in cases involving international commercial arbitration while the Mediation Bill addresses enforcement of mediated settlements.

Third-party funding is a feature in leading arbitration centers such as London, Paris, and Geneva. Singapore now joins those cities, and the Law Ministry said the move will strengthen the country's position globally as a key arbitration seat. A member of Parliament stated, "Third-party funding allows commercial funders to enable the funded party to litigate what the funder perceives to be a legitimate case. In this manner, third-party funders' funding facilitates access to justice by enabling parties who may not have sufficient financial means to prosecute their genuine disputes to do so."

The new mediation provision also includes several interesting components. For example, in addition to allowing parties who reach a settlement after mediation to agree to apply to have the settlement recorded as a court order, which can then be enforced, the new mediation law also indicates that communications arising out of mediation cannot be disclosed to any third party or admitted into evidence without the parties' permission. This law may be of interest to those involved in discussing the new instrument on international commercial mediation at UNCITRAL Working Group II this month in New York.

Keywords: Singapore, international, arbitration, mediation, third-party funding

S.I Strong is the Manley O. Hudson professor at the University of Missouri School of Law in Columbia, Missouri.

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