Mediation Bill Draws Support from Labour MP

Businesses and Freelancers involved in cross-border commercial disputes will find it easier to have their cases mediated if the Singapore Convention on Mediation Bill passes.
By Ian Tan Hanhonn 04 Feb 2020

NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Patrick Tay spoke in favour of the Singapore Convention on Mediation Bill during Parliament today, stating that the Bill will enhance dispute resolution in Singapore by giving greater recognition to mediation and international commercial settlement agreements.

The Bill, first tabled on 6 January 2020 by Law Minister K. Shanmugam, is an international treaty on mediation that addresses the need for an effective means to enforce cross-border commercial mediated settlement agreements.

Mr Tay commended the Bill, stating that mediation allows for greater control over the outcomes and resolutions of disputes; the details of the disputes are kept confidential unlike in litigations; legal costs are reduced; and that the relations of the parties involved in the dispute can be maintained, allowing business relations to continue.

On Freelancers and the Bill

During the Second Reading, tabled by Law Senior Minister of State Edwin Tong, he stated that the Bill would also cover Intellectual Property rights issues that arise from commercial disputes.

He was responding to a question raised by Mr Tay, on whether the Bill would cover Intellectual Property rights, as there is currently a growing community of freelancers who are looking to venture overseas.

Mr Tong said: “… So long as the settlement agreement pertaining to Intellectual Property rights relates to matters arising from a commercial dispute, then it can fall within the scope of the Bill…”

This Bill comes shortly after NTUC’s Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit (U FSE) and the International Institute of Mediators (Singapore) Limited signed an agreement in December 2019 to better serve the needs of the freelancer community in Singapore. If passed, the Bill would complement the agreement between the two entities, providing improved dispute resolution for U FSE members.

The agreement represents the congress’ commitment towards its freelance members. With this collaboration, NTUC’s U FSE members will also enjoy discounted rates for mediation services provided by the International Institute of Mediators.