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The Covid-19 global pandemic gave rise to court closures around the globe, which resulted in a backlog of cases. This caused many governments and judicial bodies around the world to actively encourage parties to disputes to engage in mediation to settle their disputes, rather than going to court. As a result, there has been a greater uptake of mediation and it is growing in popularity as a form of highly effective alternative dispute resolution.
Mediation is one of the most popular forms of alternative dispute resolution. It is a flexible, confidential and without prejudice consensual process in which parties to a dispute appoint a neutral individual (the mediator) to facilitate negotiations between them, with a view to achieving a settlement. In many cases, mediation will be a quicker and cheaper form of dispute resolution than court proceedings. It has the advantage that the parties can settle their dispute in any way they see fit, rather than being confined to the relief that a court is able to order. It can also help the parties to preserve an on-going commercial relationship – something that is particularly important in long-term contractual situations.
In most jurisdictions, a settlement agreement arising from a mediation is regarded as a contract and enforceable as such. However, in 2019 the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, also known as the Singapore Convention on Mediation, opened for signature. Under the Convention, parties are able to apply directly to the courts of states that have ratified the Convention to enforce settlement agreements resulting from mediation there, without needing to initiate new proceedings. It is hoped by the Convention’s promotors that this will make mediation agreements easier to enforce, reinforcing mediation’s position as an effective and attractive form of alternative dispute resolution.
Mediation can be conducted in whatever manner the parties choose, including live screen or telephone conference. During lockdowns caused by Covid-19, when more traditional forms of dispute resolution were less accessible, mediation provided an attractive and viable alternative.
This comparative review provides an introduction to mediation in our network of 19 countries across the globe.
Read our overview of commercial mediation.
Welcome to our interactive review of the approach to mediation in 19 jurisdictions around the globe.
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