Singapore Mediation Centre
The Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) is the flagship mediation centre of Singapore. It was incorporated on 8 August 1997, and officially launched by the then Chief Justice Yong Pung How on 16 August 1997. The SMC is a non-profit organization guaranteed by the Singapore Academy of Law. It is linked institutionally with many professional and trade associations and receives the support of the Supreme Court of Singapore, the Subordinate Courts of Singapore and the Singapore Academy of Law1.
The SMC has successfully spearheaded the mediation movement in Singapore and is dedicated to the promotion of amicable and efficient settlement of disputes. It aims to create an environment in which people can work together to find enduring solutions to conflicts and tensions created by human interactions. It contributes to the building of a harmonious society, and a thriving business community, by broadening awareness of, and providing access to, constructive means of dispute resolution and conflict management2.
SMC mediators are a diverse group of retired judges, senior counsel, legal, medical and other professionals, businessmen, and top government employees. SMC offers co-mediation and mediation services in English, Mandarin and Malay.
Terms of Mediation
Prior to the commencement of mediation, parties must sign an Agreement to Mediate which preserves, inter alia, the confidential nature of the mediation.
Legal System of Singapore
Singapore’s legal system has its roots in the English legal system. While there have been developments in the law since independence, substantively the Singapore legal system still carries strong links to English law3. The Singapore judiciary has developed a distinctive jurisprudence, continuing to absorb and modify the common law as well as best practices from other mature legal systems. Developments in Singapore law reflect an acute awareness of the need to recognize and accommodate current international business and commercial practices4.
Attitudes towards Mediation5
Mediation has been embraced in Singapore at many levels. Beginning from the institutional development of mediation in the Subordinate Court and the Singapore Academy of Law, mediation is now a key feature of the Court system. Court based mediation has been extensively implemented in the Subordinate Courts. The High Court also strongly encourages mediation in the form of reduced Court fees for parties who have attempted (but failed at) mediation at the SMC. The Singapore Government strongly encourages the adoption of mediation at the SMC in its contracts.
More information can be obtained at the website of the Singapore Mediation Centre at http://www.mediation.com.sg.
1.From the website of the Singapore Mediation Centre.
3.Lim Lei Theng, “Singapore” in Dispute Resolution in Asia 3rd Edition, (Kluwer Law International, 2006), Michael Pryles Ed.
4.From the Singapore Law website at www.singaporelaw.org.sg, last accessed 8 January 2008.
5.Last updated 8 January 2008.