The Convention (the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation) enables enforcement of international mediation settlements by the courts of the state in which the relevant assets are located. It removes the need for entities to litigate breaches of these agreements: if an entity seeking enforcement of a mediation agreement produces a copy of the settlement agreement and evidence that the agreement was reached through mediation, the State parties are required to recognise and enforce that agreement. It is analogous to the New York Convention 1958, which enables recognition and enforcement of international arbitration awards.
To date, 53 states have signed the Convention, including the world’s two largest economies, China and the United States.
Only six states have ratified or approved the Convention (Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Fiji, Belarus and Ecuador) and so it currently applies only to mediation settlements where two or more parties are based in those states.
The European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and other Commonwealth countries are conspicuously absent. There are reports that the European Union is somewhat skeptical about the need for the Convention, and while the United Kingdom has published a draft illustrative statutory instrument showing how the Convention could be implemented, it has not taken any other steps towards signing or ratifying the Convention.
New Zealand has not signed the Convention. New Zealand is a mediation-friendly jurisdiction, and a number of our trading partners (for example China, the United States and a number of Latin American jurisdictions) have already signed up. In due course it may be perceived that there is an advantage to New Zealand in ratifying the Convention.
For a more detailed examination of the Singapore Convention, see our previous article here.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is current at the date of publishing and is of a general nature. It should be used as a guide only and not as a substitute for obtaining legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought where required.