Singapore: Newly Signed Singapore Convention To Make International Settlement Agreements Directly Enforceable In Convention States

On August 7, 2019, forty-six nations signed the Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (the "Singapore Convention")[1] in Singapore. Negotiated and agreed under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law ("UNCITRAL"), this new treaty seeks to facilitate the global enforcement of international settlement agreements that have been reached through the use of mediation. Among the signatories to the Singapore Convention are China, India and the United States. Twenty other countries have also indicated their intention to sign the treaty. Notable absentees from the current list of signatories include the European Union and its Member States.[2] The Singapore Convention will enter into force six months after ratification by three countries.

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution involving discussions that are supervised and facilitated by an independent third-party mediator. The mediator's role is to find compromises between the parties, with an emphasis on commercial, rather than legal, considerations. Mediation is generally a more amicable method of resolving disputes than litigation or arbitration. If mediation is successful and a settlement is reached, parties typically memorialize their mediated settlement in a written settlement agreement.

Mediation has generally been disfavored in cross-border disputes due to the absence of an international framework for direct enforcement of the resulting settlement agreement. If a party refused to pay or perform, the non-breaching party would generally be required to sue under the settlement agreement, obtain a judgment or award, and attempt to enforce that judgment or award in the foreign jurisdiction where the judgment debtor's assets were located—often wholly negating the litigation/arbitration-avoidance impetus for mediation to begin with.

Some institutions have sought to ensure direct cross-border enforceability of mediated settlement agreements by combining mediation with features of arbitration. Such processes include "Arb‑Med-Arb" (as developed by the Singapore International Mediation Centre[3]) and "Med‑Arb" (as is common in China and some other Asian jurisdictions, including Japan). In these processes, the parties attempt to settle their dispute through mediation and, if successful, have an arbitral tribunal record the mediated settlement agreement as a consent award enforceable under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the "New York Convention"). Despite meeting this objective, "Arb-Med-Arb" and "Med-Arb" processes are seldom used in cross-border disputes, possibly due to the cost and process inefficiency of requiring both a mediator and an arbitrator.

The Singapore Convention addresses these concerns by obliging Convention States to enforce international settlement agreements reached through mediation directly, without requiring the non-breaching party to sue under the agreement (like arbitral awards). The enforcing party need only produce a copy of the settlement agreement together with evidence that the agreement was reached through the use of mediation. Convention States are only allowed to refuse enforcement on enumerated grounds including: (a) invalidity of the settlement agreement; (b) prior performance of the obligations in the settlement agreement; (c) unclear or incomprehensible obligations; (d) serious breach of (procedural) standards applicable to the mediation; (e) undisclosed partiality or lack of independence by the mediator; (f) public policy of the enforcing State; and (g) subject matter being incapable of mediation in the enforcing State.

It is unknown at present when the Singapore Convention will go into effect. Before ratifying the treaty, Convention States will need to take steps to ensure compliance with their treaty obligations at the national level, likely by adopting domestic legislation mirroring or approximating the treaty. In order to promote consistency of national laws, UNCITRAL has proposed a "Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation"[4] for adoption by Convention States, which largely mirrors the treaty itself. It remains to be seen how national courts will react to applications for enforcement of international settlement agreements, particularly if those agreements are poorly drafted or inconsistent with domestic practices in the enforcement State. The grounds for non‑enforcement in Article 5(1)-(2) of the Singapore Convention are noticeably broader and more substantive than those found in Article V(1)-(2) of the New York Convention.

In conclusion, although arbitration remains the dispute resolution method of choice for international disputes, the Singapore Convention is a welcome addition to the alternative dispute resolution toolkit.

[1] Cara Wong, "46 countries sign international mediation treaty named after Singapore," The Straits Times, August 7, 2019,

[2] Before the signing ceremony, Singapore's Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugan explained that the European Union had not signed because it was examining whether it could sign the treaty on behalf of its members or whether the member states would need to sign the treaty individually. Y.C. Tham, "US, China to sign Singapore Convention for Mediation," The New Paper, July 30, 2019,

[3] Singapore International Arbitration Centre-Singapore International Mediation Centre Arb-Med-Arb Protocol.

[4] UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Mediation and International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation,

Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Morrison & Foerster LLP. All rights reserved

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions