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A quick guide to Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation

Typically, when there is a legal dispute between parties, the trial is often the last stage that parties have to undergo to achieve an outcome. However, trials are a costly and time-consuming affair. As such, there are other methods of dispute resolution available for one to take. In recent decades, the legal landscape in Singapore has shifted and geared towards the development of the ADR sector.  Two prevalent and popular means of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) is mediation and arbitration. In this article, we shall explore the mediation as one of the methods of ADR.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a typical ADR process which involves the parties in a dispute heard before a neutral third party, such as a mediator, who shall guide and expedite negotiations between parties to, hopefully, reach an agreement to settle the dispute. A significant role of the mediator is that he or she will not force any of the parties to come to an agreement; this agreement shall be a voluntary one. Parties are also actively encouraged, before trial, to attempt in a session of mediation, although parties cannot and will not be forced to do so by the Courts.

There are several agencies and tribunals available for mediation, such as the Centre for Dispute Resolution in the State Courts, and the Singapore Mediation Centre, which is located within the Singapore Supreme Court.

Pros and Cons of Mediation

More Cost-friendly

Mediation is more economical and cost-friendly for parties as proceeding for trial is more costly. From the commencement of a suit to trial can be a very lengthy process in comparison. Moreover, parties in dispute often underestimate the effects of litigation, whereby it can result in a reduction in productivity and even profits, especially for business owners. As such, the courts are highly encouraging when it comes to having parties attempt mediation; unless they cannot come to an agreement to settle or do not show any interests in attempting mediation, parties will then proceed to trial. This also gives parties an extra chance to attempt to resolve the dispute earlier without having to hear the matter at trial.

 

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Preservation of Relationships

As the process of mediation is naturally less adversarial and confrontational than litigation, the relationship between the parties in dispute is maintained. This is often a consideration of business owners who wish to retain good relationships for the benefit of the business in the long-run.

Confidentiality

For parties concerned with the confidentiality of the process, one can be assured that the information shall only remain with the parties present at the mediation session. There are no judgments to be released to the public and do not attract the media’s attention like that of high-profiled cases at trial. If one is concerned with one’s reputation or one’s business’s reputation, mediation is a highly beneficial method to resolve the dispute discreetly.

Other benefits of mediation in comparison to going for trial would be that in mediation, parties have to come to an agreement to settle voluntarily. As such, often it is a fairer outcome or a win-win situation for both parties, instead of leaning heavily to one winner, with the other party deemed to have lost the suit. However, one should bear in mind that this is not a guaranteed outcome of the mediation. Ultimately, the ability to settle and how favourable the outcome is, depends on the disputing parties involved – how willing are parties willing to settle? That being said, it can be observed that parties may find that there is more control with mediation as opposed to a trial. 

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The information contained within this website contains general information about our lawyers, Law Firm and procedures and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
Any person viewing or receiving information from this Website should not act or refrain from acting, on the basis of any such information without first seeking appropriate legal advice.
Please consult a lawyer for specific review of your case and advise. 

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