Global experts discuss dispute resolution at Singapore Convention Week 2023

2023.09.15 10:57:02 | 2023.09.15 13:04:56

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Singapore’s commitment to becoming a global dispute resolution hub took center stage at the Singapore Convention Week (SC Week) 2023, a flagship week-long event to discuss, network, and exchange ideas on the latest trends and developments in international dispute resolution. The event, held from August 28 to September 1 and organized by the Singaporean Ministry of Law in partnership with 29 prestigious organizations, attracted over 4,500 participants, including dispute resolution experts, legal scholars, government officials, and legal practitioners, from around the world.

The highlight of SC Week was the UNCITRAL Academy, co-organized by the Singaporean Ministry of Law and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). Themed “Tomorrow’s World Today: Leading the Future of Dispute Resolution,” the academy’s Conference and Capacity-Building Workshops, held from August 29 to 31, delved into the rapidly evolving landscape of dispute resolution. Discussions centered on adapting to a digital-first world while considering issues of multiculturalism, sustainability, and rapid changes in these fields.

Edwin Tong SC, Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law, emphasized the country’s dedication to becoming a global leader in dispute resolution during his welcome address. He also highlighted the Singapore Convention on Mediation, which boasts 56 signatories and 11 parties to the convention, expressing confidence that more nations would join the international effort.

The UNCITRAL Academy also featured engaging discussions on various aspects of dispute resolution. In the Dispute Resolution in the Digital Economy panel, panelists focused on the challenges and opportunities of using artificial intelligence (AI) in dispute resolution, including the need to safeguard core principles while embracing efficiency-enhancing technology.

In a session moderated by Deputy Attorney-General of Singapore Lionel Yee SC, Hab Marcin Czepelak, Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), an intergovernmental institution dedicated to the settlement of international disputes, highlighted emerging trends in international dispute settlement, including the growing role of mediation. Czepelak expressed the PCA’s desire to partner with Singapore to promote mediation, which offers a legitimate and trust-building approach to dispute resolution.

In the Investor-State Mediation panel, experts shared their experiences and discussed why mediation is an effective option. They identified obstacles to wider use of investor-state mediation and explored solutions such as the recently adopted UNCITRAL model treaty provisions and guidelines on investment mediation.

The complexities and legal challenges of carbon market disputes were also explored in the Dispute Resolution for Carbon Markets panel, which highlighted the intricacies of navigating the emerging field.

Meanwhile, the Industry Capacity-Building Workshop, titled “Mediation Advocacy: From Breakdown to Breakthrough,” emphasized the importance of mediation advocacy for clients, counsel, and mediators. The workshop shared practical tips, including how to prepare for mediation and identifying the ideal modality, whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid.

The UNCITRAL Academy Conference closed with a debate on whether “Robots are Better Arbitrators and Mediators than Humans,” with two opposing teams delivering perspectives on whether AI can replace humans in arbitration.

In addition to the Conference and Industry Capacity-Building workshops, two other capacity-building workshops were offered at the UNCITRAL Academy that provided government representatives with insights into the Singapore Convention on Mediation and the latest developments in investment mediation.

SC Week has been a critical platform for thought leaders, practitioners, and policymakers to exchange insights and best practices in the ever-evolving global landscape of international dispute resolution.

By Pulse

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