International settlements will soon benefit from the newly created enforcement powers that the Singapore Convention on Mediation will provide.

The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, (“Singapore Convention on Mediation”), will first enter into force on 12 September 2020, and enables parties to an international settlement agreement resulting from mediation, including (foreseeably) those between airlines and passengers, to enforce their settlement agreement through the courts of a State Party to the Convention.

Prior to this Convention, parties of cross-border dispute resolutions would have to commence litigation to enforce a mediated agreement, which was both costly and time-consuming. Even though the Singapore Convention on Mediation is designed to promote mediation as an effective alternate method of resolving trade disputes, there are ample other opportunities for parties to legal disputes to benefit from the bolstering of international settlements by mediation that the Convention provides, including the prevention of enforcement litigation across multiple jurisdictions, and commercial certainty.

As a legally qualified mediator who has unique experience in acting for clients in international air crew and passenger death, injury, delay and economic damages claims, Joseph Wheeler, Principal at IALPG, is encouraged by the international community’s progress in this area.

Unfortunately, at this early stage while 52 States have so far signed the Convention, signalling their intent to be bound by it, including key economic powers of China, India, South Korea and the United States—Australia has not.

IALPG hopes that Australia will recognise the benefit to international trade and wider international dispute resolution agreements by mediation and sign onto the Convention soon.