Mediation in Singapore

Last updated on January 9, 2024

Mediation is not a new concept and it is relatively well established as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. This article serves as a comprehensive guide to mediation in Singapore.

Reasons for Mediation

Any type of civil dispute can be mediated and there is no limit to the type of dispute that can be mediated at the Singapore Mediation Centre. There is also no limit on the amount you may claim in a dispute.

Mediation helps to resolve misunderstandings by providing a neutral and objective platform for parties to work on their issues. In addition, a business that takes into account conflict management, such as mediation, is a business that is in a better position to tackle disputes and has greater control over its management of commercial relationships.

Features of Mediation

In a mediation session, a mediator, who may be a lawyer or a qualified individual, facilitates the mediation process by assisting the parties in:

  • Identifying the issues in the dispute
  • Looking at the available options
  • Negotiating a settlement agreement

The terms of the settlement agreement are solely a result of the negotiations between the parties, and the mediator does not impose a decision on either of them.

If the parties cannot agree on a settlement even after mediation sessions, they are free to take legal action if they wish to do so.

Advantages of Mediation

1. You save money

The process of mediation will generally be less costly because the parties will save on legal fees, such as for hiring a lawyer, court hearing fees and other costs involved in preparing and going for a trial.

2. You save time

On average, a mediation session can be set up within 2 weeks. Through mediation, dispute are generally settled within one working day or at most, between an estimated duration of 3 – 4 sessions.

In contrast, court proceedings usually take months, especially if the case goes to trial. It should be noted that spending long periods of time in court proceedings will consequently result in higher legal fees.

Thus, through mediation, parties will avoid spending a substantial amount of time preparing for court proceedings and instead use the time for other meaningful purposes such as tending to their businesses.

3. Private and confidential

The whole mediation process is confidential and this means that parties are able to safely explore their options without generating any negative publicity about their dispute.

In contrast, court proceedings are open to the public and may be reported in the media. This aspect of the mediation process is especially important to any individual or business that wishes to maintain a good image in the public sphere.

Moreover, if the parties are able to reach a settlement, they may also decide to keep the details of their settlement agreement confidential.

4. Flexibility

The mediation process is very flexible and more informal than court proceedings, which provides a great opportunity for interaction between the parties to the mediation and the mediator. The parties are able to arrive at a creative or unorthodox solution without being strictly bound by the law.

In contrast, court proceedings and the ensuing trial are formal. This is because the judge has a duty to ensure that the court procedures and the existing legal principles are followed throughout the process.

5. Preserve business relationships

The ultimate goal of mediation is to allow the parties to the mediation to settle their disputes amicably and ensure that there are no losers in the process.

Accordingly, mediation helps to preserve relationships, such as ensuring the continuity of a tenancy pursuant to the lease agreement with little disruption to the business of either party.

6. Ownership over the process and outcome

Throughout the mediation, the mediator’s role is not to make a judgment or a determination as to who is at fault in the dispute. Rather, the mediator’s focus is on facilitating the mediation process so as to be able to help the parties to the mediation find solutions that will address their concerns and needs.

Given the foregoing, the goal of mediation is to help the parties reach a practical solution that is acceptable to everyone involved. This is because the parties to the mediation are the ones who will decide how to settle their dispute, and the details of their settlement agreement. Thus, the outcome of the  dispute is firmly within their control and either party is able to avoid the risk of losing in court should they decide to seek legal recourse through the Singapore courts.

In contrast, by seeking legal recourse through the Singapore courts, the parties are giving up a significant amount of control over the dispute to a judge in a trial who will listen to the evidence, which includes the facts and witness testimonies, and make a decision that is binding on all parties to the dispute.

7. Without prejudice

It is important to note that the discussions during a mediation session are “without prejudice“. This means that what is said by the either party to the dispute will not be used against them as evidence if the case does proceed to trial.

In contrast, everything and anything that is said in a court hearing is evidence and may be used against either party in future court proceedings.

Disadvantages of Mediation

Despite having a settlement agreement, there may be circumstances where either party to the dispute fails to adhere to the terms of the settlement agreement. This could result in further mediation and unnecessary wastage of time and resources.

Moreover, a breach of the terms in the settlement agreement would mean that the innocent party would have to commence separate legal proceedings to enforce the terms of the settlement agreement against the party in breach.

In contrast, seeking legal recourse through the Singapore courts ensures that the dispute is firmly resolved upon judgment being delivered by the judge. If there is failure to abide by the judgment by the losing party, then the other party can make another application to the court to ensure that there is adherence to the orders given by the judge.

Also, the chances of a party failing to abide by a judgment from the court are low. The value of deterrence inherent in a judgment given by the court is often much greater than the value of deterrence that is inherent in a settlement agreement obtained in mediation.

If you are unsure about whether your dispute is best resolved through mediation or by going to court, you should consult a lawyer, especially one that has had experience participating in a mediation process.

Before Making a Claim
  1. Drafting an Enforceable Settlement Agreement in Singapore
  2. Should I Make A Police Report or Should I Sue?
  3. Differences between Criminal Law and Civil Law
  4. Should You Sue? 8 Things to Think About Before Suing
  5. How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter in Singapore
  6. Limitation Periods: What's the Deadline for Suing in Singapore?
  7. What to Do If Someone Sues Your Singapore Business
  8. Arbitration and Mediation: When They Can be Useful for Business Disputes
  9. Can I Sue a Foreigner or Foreign Company in Singapore?
  10. Mediation in Singapore
  11. Arbitration: When and How to Arbitrate Business Disputes in Singapore
  12. Third-Party Funding for Litigation in Singapore
  13. Using Neutral Evaluation to Resolve Civil Disputes in Singapore
Making a Claim - The Beginning of a Dispute
  1. What is a Breach of Confidence and How to Prove It
  2. Victim of a Wire Fraud? Here’s What You Can Do
  3. How to File an Originating Claim in a Singapore Lawsuit
  4. How to Bring a Class-Action Lawsuit in Singapore
  5. Letters of Demand and Their Usages in Singapore
  6. Law on Writ of Summons in Singapore
  7. Received a "Without Prejudice" Letter? Here’s What It Means
  8. What if I Cannot Find the Party I Want to Sue?
  9. Filing a Claim with the Small Claims Tribunals in Singapore
  10. First Meeting With Your Business Dispute Lawyer: What to Expect
  11. Negotiating a Settlement in a Business Dispute
  12. Security of Payment Act: Claiming Progress Payments for Construction Work Done
  13. Engaging a Queen’s Counsel or King's Counsel in Singapore
The Litigation Process
  1. Can You Withdraw Your Court Case in Singapore?
  2. Wasting the Court’s Time and Resources: Legal Consequences
  3. Natural Justice Explained: Your Right to a Fair & Unbiased Hearing
  4. Civil Litigation: How to Sue in Singapore (Step-by-Step Guide)
  5. Originating Application: What It Is and How to File in Singapore
  6. Notice of Intention to Contest or Not Contest: What is It?
  7. Affidavits in Singapore: What Are They & How to Prepare One
  8. Default Judgments and Summary Judgments in Singapore
Matters relating to Witnesses and Evidence
  1. Can My Minor Child be Subpoenaed to be a Court Witness?
  2. Giving Evidence via Video Link in a Singapore Lawsuit
  3. Prima Facie: What Does It Mean and How to Establish
  4. Hearsay Evidence: Admissibility and Objection of It in Singapore
  5. Admissibility of Evidence in the Singapore Courts
  6. Subpoenaed to be a Court Witness in Singapore: What You Need to Do
  7. Who is an Expert Witness and How to Use Expert Evidence in Singapore
  8. Destroying and Tampering With Evidence in Singapore
  9. A Guide to Legal DNA Testing in Singapore
Remedies Available for Civil Litigation
  1. Types of Injunctions in Singapore
  2. Specific Performance: Obtaining this Equitable Remedy in Singapore
  3. Judicial Review in Singapore: What is It and How to Apply
After the Lawsuit
  1. After the Lawsuit: Who Has to Pay Whom, and How Much?
  2. Enforcement of Court Judgments and Orders in Singapore
  3. How to Get an Order for Seizure and Sale to Enforce a Judgment