Mediation has acquired a growing and unstoppable implantation during the last years, becoming an alternative dispute mechanism for the resolution of international disputes in civil and commercial matters with a great impact on the comparative and international arena. As a result, the normative responses that have been developed to face the challenges generated by the organisation of cross-border mediation have been successive in recent years, both at national and regional level. However, it was not until recently that the international legislator paid attention to this matter. In this framework, the publication of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements resulting from Mediation (Singapore Convention) constitutes a significant step forward in this direction.
Undoubtedly, one of the major practical difficulties raised by the implementation of mediation to resolve international commercial disputes lays with the cross border enforcement of the agreements resulting from it. Hence the logical aspiration to provide mediation with an international regulatory framework of multilateral origin favoring the international circulation of the agreements resulting from a mediation procedure. This ambition culminated finally in the approval of the Singapore Convention, whose negotiation was not, however, a simple task, but rather plagued by obstacles and complications.
The Singapore Convention represents an outstanding conventional instrument, drawn up within the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), approved by Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on 20 December 2018; its adoption was accompanied by the publication of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, 2018 (amending the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation, 2002). Consequently, the approval and entry into force of the Singapore Convention, on 12 September 2020, is of an extraordinary importance for the global development and promotion of mediation, since it is the first conventional instrument drawn up in this field by the UNCITRAL –and which has already been ratified by 10 States, Parties to the Convention-.
The Singapore Convention constitutes a concise text (with 16 articles), endowed with great flexibility and a clear functional character. Resulting from a high level of compromise, this UNCITRAL Convention not only builds on its precedents and normative models – mainly the 1958 New York Convention on international arbitration – but also offers novel responses and a uniquely advanced circulation model aiming at solving the main obstacle for mediation practitioners: the international effectiveness of mediation agreements.
A timely Commentary, edited by Guillermo Palao Moreno (Professor of Private International Law, University of Valencia) and published by Edward Elgar in its Commentaries in Private International Law Series, offers academics and practitioners an article-by-article examination of the Singapore Convention, as well as insights into the negotiation process through which the Convention was developed.
It provides deep theoretical and practical analysis of the Convention and its consequences for the promotion of mediation as a mechanism to solve commercial conflicts with a cross-border character. In particular, this work includes a comparative approach with perspectives from five continents and a variety of legal traditions, a critical discussion of every stage from the negotiation to the conclusion of the Convention, with proposals for the Convention’s implementation and application by States and regional organisations. A particular feature of the work is that it provides contributions of a diverse group of leading practitioners and academics from diverse legal backgrounds and jurisdictions, including some who participated of the negotiation of the Singapore Convention itself.
Contributors to the commentary include Itai Apter, Gabriela Balseca, Roni Ben David, Ximena Bustamante, Pablo Cortés, Stefano Dominelli, Carlos Esplugues, Nuria González Martín, Mark T. Kawakami, Gyooho Lee, Dulce Lopes, Peter Mankowski, Théophile M. Margellos, Cedr Mciarb, Achille Ngwanza, Guillermo Palao, Afonso Patrão, Ilaria Queirolo, Valesca Raizer Borges Moschen, S.I. Strong, Sven Stürmann, Dai Yokomizo
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