The last century has seen the rise of treaties building access to justice within alternative dispute resolution (ADR). These include the Singapore Convention (2019) and the New York Convention (1958). Following in step with the globalisation of business to business deals, cross-border commercial disputes have increased considerably, charting the path for increased use of mediation and arbitration as the preferred method of dispute resolution within certain industries.

This article surveys each treaty and offers a look into its creation, history and curiosities.

The Singapore Convention: expanding international mediation

The United Nations convention on international settlement agreements resulting from mediation, aptly called the Singapore Convention for its recent ratification in Singapore on 7 August 2019, is the first treaty of its kind to grant enforcement protections to commercial, cross-border settlement agreements achieved after mediation. Discussions in Singapore included panel topics on multilateralism and rule of law in an evolving world and bridging differences, each festooned with the hope of broadening international dialogue and collaboration.

The Singapore Convention was conceived in sessions of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group II focused on arbitration, conciliation and dispute settlement, meeting in New York and Vienna. On 25 June 2018, drafts for a convention on the enforceability of mediated settlements were finalised after three years of dialogue and debate with key stakeholders (member states, intergovernmental organisations and nongovernmental organisations).

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