The Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy (SIDRA) has released the results of their survey on the use of dispute resolution mechanisms. The survey had responses from over 300 corporate and external counsel around the world. It covered choices about disputes between 2016 and 2018.

According to the Ministry of Law press release enforceability was a key factor as to why arbitration remained the most often used dispute resolution mechanism. This despite dissatisfaction with the cost of arbitration. The timing of the announcement was designed to coincide with the signature of the Singapore Convention on Mediation. The Convention should significantly improve the enforceability of mediation agreements. According to the survey current enforceability regime for mediation was what users was least satisfied with.

The SIDRA survey is based on actual use rather than mere preferences. All respondents had experience with dispute resolution between 2016 and 2018. The responses were designed to capture the considerations they had in mind and the decisions they made when faced with a dispute in the last three years.

Full details of the survey results have yet to be released, but understanding what drives choices will help inform decision making in the future. If lawyers and others spend their time educating their clients on the advantages of mediation, but neglect to deal with the challenges of enforcement, the message may not get through.

The Singapore Convention on Mediation should deal with the challenge of enforcement, although some have expressed concerns about the Convention. As always only time will tell if the Convention truly addresses the concerns of clients and ultimately changes their preferences when it comes to dispute resolution.

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