At this seminar, Mr Lok Vi Ming SC shared his vast experience in mediation with the audience, specifically focusing on its advantages, its role in the Arb-Med-Arb dispute resolution mechanism and the concerns over the arbitrator also being the mediator in an Arb-Med-Arb situation.
Mr Lok was quick to draw the attention of the audience to the SIMC Arb-Med-Arb Model Clause and suggested that agreement drafters should always have this in mind when choosing an appropriate dispute resolution mechanism between parties. This suggestion came strongly on the basis that a 75-85% success rate of settlement has been achieved through this dispute resolution route.
One other area of the seminar that drew the attention of the audience was contingency and conditional fees which are presently prohibited in Singapore. Mr Lok put forward a case for this to be changed in time to come. In particular, this prohibition had put Singaporean lawyers at a disadvantage on the international field as they are subjected to the prohibition which does not equally apply to their foreign counterparts. More importantly, Mr Lok formed the view that lifting such prohibition would encourage more mediation to take place as it would allow greater alignment of interests between lawyers and their clients in achieving resolution of the dispute. However, it was pointed out that the prohibition against contingency and conditional fees comes from age-old rules which would require time to overhaul – it is more likely that the lifting of the prohibition, if any, would be done on a cautious graduated scale.
The seminar was well-received and there was a lively discussion following the presentation – Mr Lok had definitely left the crowd with valuable insights on mediation after an engaging night.
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Wynne Tay-Practice Trainee, MPillay