Responding to news that 46 countries - including China and the US - have signed up to the new United Nations' Singapore Convention, Jan O'Neill, a professional support lawyer in Herbert Smith Freehills' disputes practice, says "If the Convention is widely adopted globally – and the early signs are very positive – it should encourage businesses trading internationally to take greater advantage of all the well-known benefits of mediation for resolving commercial disputes quickly and cost-efficiently, compared to litigation or arbitration."
She says: "A strong global enforcement regime clearly has the potential to solidify mediation as a reliable option for resolving cross-border disputes, which courts around the world will recognise. The hope is that it will achieve for mediation what the New York Convention has done for international arbitration.
"It is likely that more states will sign the Convention in the near future. Of course, its full impact, and in particular whether it will be as significant for international commerce as the New York Convention, remains to be seen. But the strong early uptake is very promising."