Qatar has expressed its support for the new ‘Singapore Convention’ on mediation, which encourages the use of mediation to settle international trade disputes.
In a statement to Gulf Times Wednesday, Qatar International Centre for Conciliation and Arbitration (Qicca) general counsel Dr Minas Khatchadourian explained the new ‘Singapore Convention’ on mediation and why it is important for Qatar.
Khatchadourian said the UN Commission on International Trade Law’s (Uncitral) Convention on the Enforcement of International Settlement Agreements was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 20, 2018.
Also known as the ‘Singapore Convention’ on mediation, Khatchadourian said “it will come into force when it is signed by at least three states.” The signing ceremony for the convention is slated on August 7, he continued.
According to Khatchadourian, the intent of the ‘Singapore Convention’ is to bring certainty to the international framework on mediation and facilitate the promotion of mediation as an alternative and effective method of resolving international trade disputes.
Also, it enables parties to the settlement of an international dispute by mediation to enforce the settlement in the same manner that international arbitral awards are recognised and enforceable under the UN’s Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention), he said.
“Beyond being an instrument to facilitate enforcement of international settlement agreements resulting from mediation, referred to here as international mediated settlement agreements (iMSAs), the deeper intention behind the ‘Singapore Convention’ is to provide a regulatory foundation to support the rise of mediation into the main international dispute resolution arena alongside arbitration,” Khatchadourian stressed.
Qicca board member for International Cooperation Sheikh Dr Thani bin Ali al-Thani said that since last year, the centre has been monitoring the drafting of the ‘Singapore Convention’, “and appraise the role played by Uncitral and its secretary general, Anna Joubin-Pret.”
“We shall be glad to see that the ‘Singapore Convention’ receiving the same success of the New York Convention and for Qatar to take advantage by ratifying the new convention of an anticipated rise in cross-border commercial mediation,” Sheikh Thani emphasised.
Khatchadourian further explained that international surveys indicate that corporate users “would feel more confident” turning to mediation for cross-border commercial disputes if there was an internationally-recognised expedited enforcement mechanism for iMSAs, something like the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) but for mediation.
“The ‘Singapore Convention’ on mediation addresses this concern and it, in many aspects, was inspired by the New York Convention on Arbitration. The new convention elevates the effect of iMSAs into a novel type of legal instrument, representing final and conclusive dispute resolution outcomes, which may be recognised and enforced in accordance with international law along with foreign judgments and arbitral awards.
“The ‘Singapore Convention’ lends mediation the regulatory legitimacy needed to become a major player in international dispute resolution practice. From a users’ perspective, the convention promises a risk management mechanism accessible in terms of its flexibility and affordability to cross-border business players from traditional large multi-national corporations, to sole traders, and also to start-ups,” Khatchadourian said.