Mediation Setting Should Balance Social Power; Not Promote A Culture Of Impunity: Justice Chandrachud10th July 2021
India - Singapore Mediation Summit 2021 Sees Unprecedented Participation.
Speakers and Participants from India, Singapore, and around the world, included representatives from the Judiciary and the Government, and members of the legal, business, and mediation communities.
The Summit also saw encouraging participation by independent journalists and large media houses.
ISMS2021 had over 16,000 viewers on the official ISMS2021 platforms and other media channels that live streamed the Summit.
GUESTS OF HONOUR, AND KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
The Honourable Justice
Chief Justice of India
Guest of Honour, and Keynote Speaker
The Honourable Chief Justice
Chief Justice of Singapore
Guest of Honour, and Keynote Speaker
FIRESIDE CHAT PANELLISTS
The summit brought together leaders from the judiciary, the government, the business community, the legal fraternity, and the mediation industry, to discuss the increasingly important role of mediation in civil and commercial dispute resolution, within the country and across borders.
The Fireside Chat Panellists were: Justice A. K. Sikri International Judge, Singapore International Commercial Court, and former Judge, Supreme Court of India; Mr. Sriram Panchu Senior Advocate and Mediator; Ms. Mayuri Khatu Head of Legal, Tata International Limited; Ms. Lai Wei Lin Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Law, Singapore;
and Mr. George Lim SC Chairman, Singapore International Mediation Centre.
The Fireside Chat was moderated by Mr. Gregory Vijayendran SC President, Law Society of Singapore.
The India - Singapore Mediation Summit was hosted by Mr. Chuan Wee Meng, Chief Executive Officer of Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC). Ms. Rukmani Menon, Mediator and Director, CAMP Arbitration and Mediation Services, gave a vote of thanks, and Mr. Mehernosh Shapoorjee, Co-Founder of Mediation Mantras gave the closing remarks.
ISMS 2021 PROGRAMME SUMMARY
July 17, 2021, New Delhi: The inaugural India – Singapore Mediation Summit (ISMS2021) was held today, featuring the Chief Justice of India, and the Chief Justice of Singapore, among other luminaries, who took the stage to share their views on Mediation as an increasingly relevant method of civil and commercial dispute resolution in these difficult times.
The Chief Justice of India, the Honourable Mr Justice N.V. Ramana; and the Chief Justice of Singapore, the Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, were the guests of honour, who shared the stage as keynote speakers.
Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Second Minister for Law, Mr Edwin Tong SC was the special guest at the event, who spoke about the Singapore Convention on Mediation, in the context of the vibrant business relations between Singapore and India.
Niti Aayog CEO, Mr Amitabh Kant offered felicitations and offered his views on the importance of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation in resolving commercial disputes speedily.
The summit saw unprecedented attendance from across the highest levels of Judiciary, Government, Legal, and Business sectors. There were over 3,000 registrations.
The summit showcased the Mediation process, and discussed the opportunities and challenges around Mediation, and highlighted how all stakeholders can collaborate, to make Mediation a mainstream method of dispute resolution in India, Singapore, and around the world.
Mediation has existed in different forms in our cultures for centuries. However, Mediation in its modern form has been witnessing a revival around the world, including India and Singapore. Internationally, there is growing awareness of the need to provide for an efficient and effective way to resolve disputes, that complement other existing dispute resolution processes.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruptions to all aspects of our lives and relationships, including in the commercial world. In these trying times, the benefits of Mediation enable it to play an instrumental role in promoting faster recovery and renewal for businesses and the economy.
Internationally, India and Singapore have both signed the Singapore Convention on Mediation, which has been signed by 54 countries and ratified or approved by six countries. The Convention, which allows mediating parties to efficiently enforce their Mediated Settlements across borders, has also strengthened confidence in the use of Mediation by cross-border businesses, which facilitates international trade and investment.
ISMS2021 was organised by Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC), in strategic partnership with the Bengaluru-based CAMP Arbitration and Mediation Practice, and the Gurgaon-based Mediation Mantras.
ISMS 2021 SPEAKER QUOTES
Quotes from the Keynote Address of the Honourable Chief Justice of India, Justice N.V. Ramana:
“Conflicts are unavoidable in any society for a variety of reasons – political, economic, social, cultural, and religious. And with conflicts, there is also the need to develop mechanisms for conflict resolution. India, and numerous Asian countries, have a long and rich tradition of collaborative and amicable settlement of disputes.
Given the growing scope of mediation, it is time for India to enter mission mode.
There is a need to popularise mediation as a cheaper and faster dispute resolution mechanism, so a movement needs to be launched.
Mediation should be a mandatory first step for the resolution of every allowable dispute as this will go a long way in promoting mediation. Perhaps, an omnibus law in this regard is needed to fill the vacuum.”
He further added that “Mediation, being the cheapest and simplest option available to the public at large, can be described as a tool of social justice in the Indian context. Such a party-friendly mechanism ultimately upholds the rule of law, by providing an incentive for parties to utilize their autonomy to the fullest to arrive at a just and equitable outcome. And cooperation between India and Singapore is going to be a significant factor in promoting alternate dispute redressal mechanisms in both our countries, as well as in the entire subcontinent.”
Quotes from the Keynote Address of The Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Chief Justice of Singapore:
“If the Singapore Convention helped to raise awareness of and confidence in mediation, the COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed a greater willingness to undertake mediation and, in this process, to discover its real value as an efficient, effective, and enforceable mechanism for dispute resolution."
He further added "As we look ahead to the future of mediation, we should remind ourselves that legal services – as with all other services – must ultimately be designed with the user at the heart. And for international mediation to come into its own, it must meet the evolving needs of cross-border businesses. I suggest, in this light, that two trends will likely shape the future of mediation.
The first is that, at least in the near term, the real attraction of mediation will lie in its inherent flexibility and consequent ability to complement, rather than compete with, litigation and arbitration...
The second trend we can anticipate, perhaps in the longer term, is the greater integration of mediation into our legal systems as a means of serving the rule of law.
While mediation is largely an out-of-court process, it is a misconception to suggest that mediation hurts the rule of law by taking the law out of the hands of the courts. Rather, the rule of law requires that there be effective access to justice, and this can take place outside the confines of a courtroom.
By enhancing the prospect of achieving final and acceptable outcomes when disputes arise, and by providing an often more timely and cost-efficient alternative to the other methods of dispute resolution, mediation offers a real and vital option in helping to address legal needs that might otherwise go unmet. … ”
Quotes from the Opening Remarks by Mr. Edwin Tong SC,
the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, Singapore:
“While getting a mediated settlement agreement is a good first step, there will always be a niggling worry, especially when you deal with a cross-border party, that the other party may not fulfill their part of the agreement. So, what’s important in the mediation is the assurance that any agreement that parties reached will be complied with.
The Singapore Convention on Mediation, which facilitates the enforcement of mediated settlement of an international commercial dispute, offers this assurance.
So far, 54 countries have signed the Convention, and 6 countries have gone on to ratify the Convention. India was one of the first countries to sign the Convention, and we look forward to India’s ratification soon. We will be happy to share Singapore’s experience in this regard, if necessary.”
Quotes from the Speech of Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog:
"We are at an important cusp in India where justice delivery is being looked at carefully and progressively by both the Courts and by the Government. Mediation provides us an opportunity to assist in creating a framework that allows matters to be resolved before entering the formal court system.
It will be incumbent upon all of us to help mediation benefit from major increases in capacity, capability, and training processes. Mediation provides us an opportunity to assist in creating a framework that allows matters to be resolved before entering the formal court system. Mediation is a vital cog to helping expedite access to justice at every level of commercial and civil disputes.”
Another key highlight of the Summit was the inclusive, high-powered panel discussion, where leaders from the business, government, legal, and judicial communities, engaged with Mediation leaders from India and Singapore, on the opportunities and challenges around the practice and its increasingly important role in resolving disputes, while preserving brand reputations and valuations.
Excerpts from the Welcome Address by SIMC Chairman George Lim:
"In conjunction with the Summit, SIMC, and our partners CAMP, and Mediation Mantras, we are embarking on several new and exciting initiatives.
These initiatives include a new cross-border mediation service for businesses operating along the busy India-Singapore trade corridor during the Covid-19 pandemic; A declaration to encourage business chambers and companies to consider mediation first before embarking on an adversarial process; and training senior practitioners in international mediation”.
SIMC CEO, Chuan Wee Meng further added:
"Mediation and conflict resolution is becoming critical for economic and business growth across the world. While roadblocks and conflicts are inevitable however timely resolution through mediation can help the ease of doing business across borders and catayze growth especially in the post-pandemic era. This event will bring together some of the best minds to discuss the true potential of Mediation and its impact on the future of business.”
“We are truly grateful that the Honourable Mr. Justice N.V. Ramana, Chief Justice of India, and The Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Chief Justice of Singapore, for sharing their wisdom and perspectives on a range of issues affecting mediation, its relevance, and importance, especially when it comes to India and Singapore.”
Laila Ollapally, Founder of CAMP Arbitration and Mediation Practice said:
“Many of us mediators have repeatedly seen the ‘sacred space’ that exists between a failed negotiation and an all-out war. Failure to explore the possibilities that exist in this space can result in immense burden on the system of administration of Justice, businesses losses, destruction of relationships built over generations, and not to mention time, money and effort. We mediators have also seen the immense possibility of opportunities for collaboration in a dispute. ‘Out of the mud comes the lotus’. Disputing parties go back with a joint venture, families rocked by disputes celebrate family reunions, toasting the mediation that enabled them to restructure their business and allowed them to separately grow from success to success.
ISMS2021 brought together voices from the judicial, legal, and business communities, to highlight the role that Mediation can play in transforming the way people resolve their disputes. The participation of the Honourable Chief Justices of India and Singapore at the Summit and members from the Government of both countries, signalled the beginning of a new era in Mediation.”
Mehernosh Shapoorjee, Co-Founder, Mediation Mantras added:
“Having been part of the non-legal corporate world for the past three decades, we see ISMS2021 as a good bridge between the old and the new ways of commercial dispute resolution in India, and a keystone event in enhancing the ease of doing business within and across international borders.
The business world now has access to an increasing number of professional Private Mediators that understand the complex issues and the stakes involved in commercial disputes.
We hope the discussions at ISMS2021, with key stakeholders involved in dispute resolution, will instill confidence among existing and potential litigants and their lawyers, that Mediation is a great option and in their best interests.
Mediation not only helps resolve conflicts in a confidential, collaborative manner, it also helps preserve business relationships, reputations, and valuations.”