Speech by SPS Rahayu Mahzam at SIMC Appreciation Event and Empanelment Ceremony
31 August 2022 Posted in [Speeches]
Mr George Lim SC, Chairman of SIMC
SIMC Board Members
SIMC International Mediators and Specialist Mediators
Friends and Colleagues
- Very nice to see some very familiar faces here – friends as well as guests from overseas who have joined us in our SC Week celebrations. I hope you have had a good morning.
- It is a pleasure to be here, to empanel 22 new specialist mediators, who attended the recent 4th run of the Specialist Mediators Workshop in Singapore in July this year.
- Thank you for inviting me, to be part of this empanelment ceremony.
Importance of Diverse Panel of Mediators
- I am very happy to see the SIMC family growing bigger, with over 220 specialist mediators of 12 different nationalities, based in 7 different jurisdictions, specialising in 17 different sectors, speaking 13 different languages and dialects.
- For 220 people, this diversity is impressive.
Having such a multi-nationality, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi-disciplinary panel like this, has become essential in today’s globalised world.
a) Businesses are trading across borders, and investing in projects overseas. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in 2021, global trade hit record high of US$28.5 trillion. Foreign direct investment (FDI), although not a record, was the highest since 2016, at nearly US$1.6 trillion.
b) The transactions therefore increasingly involve parties from multiple jurisdictions, each with their own business environment, cultural nuances, and legal frameworks.
c) If disputes arise, they will definitely benefit from having mediators who are familiar with the operating context of both.
- The case study, I understand, discussed by the panel just now, is a good example of a complex, multi-jurisdictional dispute – a dispute between a US company and a Korean company, with five arbitrations across three jurisdictions: London, Seoul and Singapore.
I took a look at the names of the participants who will be empaneled today – all of you are:
a) Leaders in your fields, be it M&A, shipping, restructuring, IP, fintech, or aviation; and
b) Active in different markets – ASEAN, China, India, Japan, Korea, etc.
c) And hence, bring different expertise and experience to the table.
- So, we are very fortunate to have all of you as brand ambassadors and advocates of, not just SIMC, but Singapore mediation.
Importance of Mediation
- I am sure that you participated in the workshop, because you see the value of mediation.
- Clients see their lawyers as their problem solvers. They expect their lawyers to integrate legal considerations with other aspects of their problems. When I was in practice, especially when I was doing family law - a lot of divorces and marriages - before I joined the government, I also dealt with many cases where there were underlying non-legal concerns.
Mediation has the benefit of enabling a non-legal solution to a legal problem. I am an advocate. As Wee Meng mentioned earlier, I took a course, and I feel very small in this room of very established mediators. But I am an advocate of dispute resolution because it has a lot of benefits. Mediation, in particular, has the benefit of enabling a non-legal solution to a legal problem.
a) For example, it could be a discount on the next purchase, to compensate for the defective goods received this time.
b) In a litigation or an arbitration, the outcome would have been monetary compensation from one party to another.
c) Oftentimes, this causes the relationship to break down, because one side loses and one side wins.
d) But in mediation, it is a win-win outcome, because both parties agree to it.
- For MinLaw, we see a lot of potential in mediation as a means to resolve international commercial disputes, especially in the region, where maintaining relationships, peace and harmony are important in our culture.
- The COVID-19 pandemic and the geopolitical tensions further accentuated this, as businesses face greater uncertainty and continual upheavals, disruptions and global shifts.
- Businesses appreciate the value of being able to resolve their disputes fairly, efficiently and effectively, so that they can move on, and not face uncertainty both within and without.
Singapore as an International Commercial Mediation Hub
Singapore is well-placed to help businesses resolve their international commercial disputes.
a) We are a global business and financial centre.
b) We have a strong rule of law, and a trusted legal system.
c) We are a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual country, with global talents from around the world.
d) And of course, now, we have the Singapore Convention on Mediation, which allows international mediated settlement agreements to be enforced cross-border. I know I am speaking to the converted, but we need to kind of remind ourselves of these wonderful things, and how suitable Singapore is, for this to grow further.
(i) Singapore is among the first countries to sign and ratify the Singapore Convention.
(ii) To date, 55 countries have signed and 10 countries have ratified the Convention.
(iii) We are encouraging more countries to do so, so that the Convention can become more effective.
- This empanelment ceremony, taking place against the backdrop of the Singapore Convention Week, is especially meaningful. The strong sign-ups for the events this week are an indication of the increasing relevance of, and interest in, mediation. I have had the good fortune to meet some of you, to also speak to a lot of the participants here, and there is a lot of buzz, a lot of energy, a lot of interest to take this further.
- I am confident that there are much opportunities out there.
- I hope we can all work together, and capture these opportunities.
- I look forward to celebrating your achievements in your new-found skill, as you bring more cases to SIMC, and mediate them.
- Congratulations once again! Thank you very much.
Last updated on 31 August 2022