– To manage rising legal costs, parties in a dispute can now also resort to a more affordable method of dispute resolution – Neutral Evaluation. This new service provided by the Singapore Mediation Centre (“SMC”) is part of its suite of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) services.
Neutral Evaluation is a confidential process through which parties in a dispute may obtain a binding decision on the merits of their case from an independent Neutral appointed by SMC. Neutral Evaluation enables parties to save time and costs as compared to fighting out their whole case in court or in arbitration.
“Unlike lengthy and formal court and arbitration proceedings which can involve months of preparatory work and weeks of hearings, Neutral Evaluation can be a significantly faster process as parties have greater flexibility and autonomy over timelines and how they want the neutral evaluation to be conducted,” said Mr Loong Seng Onn, Executive Director of SMC.
While Neutral Evaluation helps parties save time and costs, this does not come at the expense of the quality of the decision as SMC’s panel of neutrals comprises former Supreme Court Judges and Judicial Commissioners as well as select Senior Counsel and industry experts.
Where parties are unwilling to settle disputes amicably, lawyers can now consider Neutral Evaluation as a viable alternative dispute resolution mechanism.
Established in 1997, the Singapore Mediation Centre (“SMC”) has become synonymous with excellence in mediation services for the resolution of commercial disputes. In tandem with its aim of promoting amicable and fair settlement of disputes, Neutral Evaluation has been added to SMC’s suite of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) services.
SMC’s Neutral Evaluation procedure provides for a decision to be rendered 25 to 30 days from the initiation of proceedings. However, as the Neutral Evaluation process is controlled by the parties, timelines can be shortened to suit parties’ needs.
In addition to the professional fees of the neutral, parties also pay an administrative fee ranging from $700 to $2,000 depending on the quantum of their claim.
Currently SMC’s panel of neutrals include former Supreme Court judges Mr Kan Ting Chiu, Mr Goh Joon Seng, Mr G P Selvam and former Judicial Commissioners Mr Goh Phai Cheng, SC, Mr Michael Hwang, SC and Mr Amarjeet Singh, SC, in addition to select Senior Counsel and industry experts.