UK Government announces intention to join the Singapore Convention on Mediation

The UK government has confirmed its intention to sign and ratify the Singapore Convention on Mediation following consultation on the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (New York, 2018) (the “Singapore Convention” or the “Convention”).

The Singapore Convention is a private international law agreement which enables a party to a settlement agreement resulting from mediation to apply to the courts of a State which is a Party to the Convention to enforce the terms of that settlement without needed to launch an action for breach of contract. Once the UK has become a member state, it will have a duty to recognise and enforce settlement agreements from any jurisdiction, provided they meet the international and other criteria of the Convention.

The UK will not apply either of the two permissible reservations under the Convention, namely mediated agreements involving government or state parties will not be excluded from the Convention, and the Convention will automatically apply to any commercial cross-border mediated settlement agreement. Parties will, however, be able to opt-out of the Convention by expressly excluding it in their contractual agreements.

Ratification of the Convention in full, will allow the UK to reaffirm its position as an attractive centre for international dispute resolution and to signal the UK’s ambition to remain a global leader in Private International Law. The UK will also be able to contribute to the development of the interpretation of the Convention’s provisions through judgments given on the Convention by UK courts.

The government has confirmed that it will sign the Convention as soon as possible, but has not yet provided specific information in respect if timing. Ratification will subsequently take place once all of the necessary implementing legislation and rules have been put in place to facilitate the Convention’s smooth operation in the UK.

The Convention will come into force in the UK six months after the UK has deposited its instrument of ratification with the UN Headquarters in New York.

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