The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Alternative Dispute Resolution (the “APPG”) has recently published a report titled ‘Securing the UK’s position as a global disputes hub: Best practice lessons between Singapore and the UK’ (the “Report). The Report follows from the APPG’s fact-finding visit to Singapore, in which it aimed to learn how Singapore has established itself as a leading global disputes hub in order to apply some of these lessons to ensure that the UK can continue to “consolidate and thrive as a disputes hub”.
The Report makes a number of policy proposals to the UK and Singapore governments on how to foster the use of ADR. Two notable recommendations to the UK government are:
- The UK should take a ‘whole of government’ approach to disputes policy. The Report concludes that, if the government is to drive a genuine paradigm shift in the way commercial disputes are dealt with, policy in this area needs to be cross-departmental and draw from resources and expertise from across the government machinery. The Report further recommends that this process is led by a Minister for Commercial Disputes within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as an integral part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.
- The UK should sign the Singapore Mediation Convention as an integral part of its efforts to encourage the use of mediation for resolving commercial disputes. There are already positive signs that a plan to sign the Singapore Mediation Convention has been in the works. Over the summer, the UK government has indicated that it is considering joining the Singapore Mediation Convention in a policy statement and fact sheet accompanying the Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill (a bill that implements three other international conventions into domestic law after the end of the Brexit transition period). The government has further published a draft statutory instrument demonstrating how the Singapore Mediation Convention could be implemented in the UK.
It will be interesting to see how much traction the Report’s recommendations will gain with the government. The APPG is an informal group comprising Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords with an interest in ADR. As such, the APPG does not have any official status within Parliament and the content of the Report has not been approved by either House.
The APPG Report was researched and funded by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is available here.