- Number of matters mediated jumped 57% to 337 in 2014 from 214 in 2013 as more parties are seeking mediation as a cost- effective form of dispute resolution.
- Most disputes were from construction matters, followed by disputes from companies and/or shareholders, and disputes from the sale and supply of goods and services.
– The Singapore Mediation Centre (“SMC”) handled a record number of mediation matters last year. A total of 337 matters were mediated in 2014 - a 57% jump from the 214 matters mediated in 2013 and more than double the number in 2012. This is the highest number of matters mediated by SMC since its inception in 1997.
SMC mediated 49 matters related to construction disputes last year, an increase of 75% from the previous year. Disputes arising from companies and/or shareholder matters rose 56%, followed by a 41% increase in matters relating to the sale and supply of goods and services.
Lawyer Lawrence Tan, Partner of Eldan Law explained that his “clients from the construction industry generally prefer to have their cases mediated as the cases are held on a confidential basis and can have very much faster results than going to the courts.” He added, “The quick resolution of disputes through mediation will enable my clients to focus their energies on the next project. Earning new money can be better than fighting over old money.”
Businesses and individuals embroiled in disputes can seek subject matter experts from SMC in 10 fields such as banking, shipping, healthcare, insurance and construction. SMC has noticed an increasing demand for these specialist mediators from businesses who value their expertise in helping to resolve conflicts of a technical nature.
Mr Loong Seng Onn, Executive Director of SMC, said “Mediation has gained much traction with businesses and individuals, especially when they realise the amount of costs and time they save by settling disagreements out of court. As awareness of mediation and its benefits spreads, we expect more businesses to choose mediation as a means of conflict resolution.”
Besides time and cost savings, mediation is confidential and allows parties to explore their options in a safe environment without negative publicity about their dispute. Mediation also allows parties to take ownership of the outcome and only settle for solutions that are acceptable to all parties involved. With a focus on commercial disputes, SMC has to-date facilitated over 2,600 mediation matters, with over 3.2 billion dollars’ worth of disputes. The highest disputed quantum mediated was 209 million dollars. With a 75% success rate, parties have a 3 in 4 chance of settling their dispute. More than 90% of its successful cases were completed within a single day.
Mr Loong encourages organisations to include clauses in their contracts referring disputes to mediation. “Resolving disputes early and having a conflict management strategy helps businesses to save costs, be better protected against risks, and have better control over commercial relationships.”
Established in 1997, the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) pioneered the use of mediation as the mainstream mechanism for dispute resolution, as well as training in negotiation and conflict management. Today, SMC offers a suite of alternative dispute resolution services which brings clarity and objectivity to complex situations. These services include mediation, neutral evaluation and domain name dispute resolution. Through our panel of professional mediators with legal and industry expertise, SMC is well-placed to manage difficult negotiations and unlock standstills for businesses by providing cost-effective and timely solutions. At SMC, our vision is to help all businesses fully appreciate the value of mediation as a strategic risk-management tool that they can count on in commercial dealings.