The Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) is a nonprofit organisation established in 1997 to provide commercial mediation services. It is structured as a company limited by guarantee of the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL). The SMC was launched by the Honourable Chief Justice Yong Pung How on 16 August 1997.
With the support of the Singapore Judiciary, the SAL, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and various professional and trade associations, the SMC has successfully spearheaded the mediation movement in Singapore and continues to promote the use of mediation and other non confrontational dispute-resolution methods.
The SMC’s functions include:
- the provision of mediation and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services;
- the provision of training in negotiation, mediation and conflict management;
- the accreditation and maintenance of a panel of mediators and other neutrals;
- the provision of consultancy services for dispute avoidance and dispute management; and
- the promotion of amicable means of dispute resolution in Singapore and the region.
More than 1000 matters have been referred to the SMC, and the settlement rate Approximately 80 percent . Of these, more than 90 percent are settled within one working day.
Of the more than 1,000 disputants who participated at the mediations conducted at the SMC, 84 percent reported cost savings, 88 percent reported time savings and 94 percent would recommend the process to other persons in the same conflict situation.
The types of cases include (and are not limited to) banking disputes, construction disputes, contractual disputes, corporate disputes, contested divorces and divorce ancillary matters, employment disputes, family disputes, information technology disputes, insurance disputes, negligence claims, partnership disputes, personal injury claims, shipping disputes and tenancy disputes. Construction cases account for about 38% of the caseload.
The SMC and Its Partners
Over the years, the SMC has formed many alliances and partnerships with institutions in the private and public sectors, and in both Singapore and overseas. It has entered into Memoranda of Understanding with the following institutions:
- ASP Alliance Chapter;
- Association of Banks in Singapore;
- Association of Consulting Engineers Singapore;
- Association of Singapore Marine Industries;
- Board of Architects / Singapore Institute of Architects
- Eagles Mediation and Counselling Centre;
- General Insurance Association;
- Institute of Estate Agents;
- Institution of Engineers Singapore;
- Life Insurance Association;
- National Association of Travel Agents Singapore;
- Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore;
- Renovation and Decoration Advisory Centre;
- Sembawang Corporation Limited;
- Singapore Contractors Association Limited;
- Singapore Furniture Association;
- Singapore Institute of Arbitrators;
- Singapore Institute of Building Limited;
- Singapore International Arbitration Centre;
- Singapore Power Limited; and
- Society of Project Managers.
- Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and Hong Kong Mediation Council;
- Hong Kong Mediation Centre;
- International Academy of Mediators (an international association of mediators based in the United States of America);
- Japan Commercial Arbitration Association;
- LEADR (or Lawyers Engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution, an ADR organisation based in Australia and New Zealand); and
Tokyo Maritime and Arbitration Commission of the Japan Shipping Exchange, Inc. 1
Further, two advisory committees have been set up to promote ADR and to advise its members on how disputes can be prevented and resolved in an amicable manner. The advisory committees include the Advisory Committee on Construction Mediation (ACCOM) 2 and the Singapore Information Technology Dispute Resolution Advisory Committee (SITDRAC).3
Increasing Productivity by Reducing Costs of Disputes
The SMC has saved tremendous costs and time for its institutional partners and supporters. For example, the Supreme Court alone recorded a savings of more than $12.6 million and 1,944 court days. Individual disputants benefit extensively as well. According to the figures provided by the Supreme Court, it is estimated that the savings in legal costs for the parties are substantial. In a High Court case involving 2 parties, it is not uncommon for parties to save as much as $80,000 in total.
Our partners, clients and supporters are appreciative of the savings that mediation and other non confrontational methods have produced. In particular, they value the positive impact that the use of non confrontational methods has on relationships and the work environment. The following is a partial list of the SMC's institutional partners, clients and supporters:
- Cambodian Centre for Conflict Resolution;
- CapitaLand Commercial Limited;
- Civil Service College;
- European University Centre for Peace Studies;
- Jurong Town Corporation;
- Malaysian Bar Council;
- Malta Institute of Management;
- Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia;
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
- National Trades Union Congress;
- Philippine Judicial Academy;
- Singapore Management University;
- Singapore Police Force;
- Singapore Technologies Engineering Limited;
- Subordinate Courts of Singapore;
- Supreme Court of Singapore; and
- Supreme Court of the Philippines.
The SMC and Its Panel of Neutrals
The group of people who are primarily responsible for the satisfaction enjoyed by our partners, clients and supporters are members on the SMC Panel of Mediators and Neutrals. The SMC has a panel of accredited mediators and other neutrals that includes retired Supreme Court judges, members of Parliament, former judicial commissioners, senior counsel and leaders from different professions and industries. All SMC neutrals have undergone formal mediation training and rigorous evaluation. They are accredited and appointed to the SMC panel only after they have been assessed to have the necessary skills and correct temperament. There are presently 112 such mediators on the SMC panel. The SMC has also established an international panel of mediators that consists of internationally renowned neutrals.
The SMC and Its Training and Education Work
Apart from helping individuals and organisations to resolve disputes in an amicable manner, the SMC has also established itself as a training expert in the field of negotiation, mediation and conflict management in Singapore and the region.
Training workshops are conducted in Singapore for organisations on a weekly basis. Our clients include Government Ministries and Departments, tertiary institutions, professional and trade associations and business organisations. The workshops are highly rated. For example, in a recent two-day pilot training programme conducted for the Ministry of Education, 100 percent of the workshop participants in a summary evaluation of the overall workshop rated it as "very good" and "Excellent." 100 percent of the workshop participants also rated the course instructors as "very good" and "excellent" in terms of their substantive knowledge, ability to respond to questions effectively and ability to provide practical guidance.
The reputation of the SMC as a premier training institution has also generated training work in Austria, Cambodia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, the Philippines and Thailand. The workshops conducted overseas are similarly highly rated. As a result, the SMC has enjoyed repeat engagements from our foreign clients as well.
The Singapore Mediation Centre is located at 1 Supreme Court Lane, Level 4, Singapore 178879. Tel: (65) 6332 4366; Fax: (65) 6333 5085; firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Under the memoranda of understanding, the SMC will provide mediation and consultancy services, as well as conduct training for the various institutions. They also provide for collaboration, and for the institutions to assist, support and promote the work of the SMC, and to refer disputes for mediation at the SMC.
2 ACCOM’s functions include promoting proper training in and use of mediation within the Singapore construction industry, overseeing the provision of mediation services to the construction industry, assisting in developing a pool of qualified mediators from the construction industry, and providing expert knowledge of the construction industry and its individual players. ACCOM’s members include representatives from:
3 SITDRAC’s functions include the referral of IT disputes and the provision of its expert knowledge of the IT industry to the SMC and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). They further include the education of IT providers and users on issues, practices and other matters pertaining to the resolution of IT disputes. SITDRAC’s members include representatives from:
- the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore;
- the Information Technology Management Association;
- the Singapore Computer Society;
- the Singapore Information Technology Federation; and
- the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.