All over the world many businesses and economies were negatively influenced by the global pandemic. The supply chains of all kinds were also damaged: the cases of non-compliance with contractual obligations grew in numbers immensely. This caused a high demand for more effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods in many jurisdictions including Singapore.
Filing a lawsuit was always an expensive and time-consuming option that became even more complicated after many governments put in place strict quarantine measures. That is why the newly opening businesses in Singapore and other countries should keep in mind that mediation might be the best mechanism for settling commercial disputes, especially since the pandemic is still not over.
In search of an expedited, economical, and effective for resolving disputes during COVID-19 times, Singapore has come up with the SIMC (Singapore International Mediation Centre) Protocol. Originally, it was designed to become an addition to the existing legislation. Mainly, the Protocol is focused on mediating international commercial disputes without the need to spend big funds on legal proceedings since the economic uncertainty is still growing.
The local lawmakers stated that settlement agreements are enforceable under the Singapore Convention on Mediation. The Protocol would be in force till the end of June 2021. The goal of SIMC Protocol is to mediate disputes caused by the pandemic itself or by legislation implied because of the pandemic.
It is also important to mention the key features of the Protocol:
- Mediation is conducted online;
- Filing for mediation goes through a request form and includes a filing fee S$250;
- SIMC organizes the mediation within 10 days, finds a fitting mediator;
- The fees for mediation are calculated on the basis of the dispute values.
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