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First reading of two Bills to enhance Singapore's dispute resolution hub status

THE Law Ministry (MinLaw) has introduced in Parliament the first reading of two Bills which are part of on-going efforts to strengthen Singapore's position as a premier international commercial dispute resolution hub.

One of them is the proposed changes under the Civil Law (Amendment) Bill 2016 that provides a framework for third-party funding here that will give businesses another financing option for international commercial arbitration.

Currently, an agreement between a non-party and a claimant in return for financial gain such as a share of the damages awarded should the claim succeed, is not binding.

The new Bill changes this by setting out the criteria in subsidiary legislation in which an entity can provide such funding.

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Lawyers may also refer funders to their clients as long as they do not receive direct financial benefit from the introduction. They may also act for their clients in relation to the third-party funding contract.

The Mediation Bill 2016 that supports international commercial mediation by strengthening enforceability of mediated settlements was also introduced in Parliament.

This Bill is applicable to all types of mediation and will codify certain issues now dealt with under common law, such as confidentiality of communications in the mediation context, in turn giving greater clarity for commercial parties who opt to conduct mediation here.

Extensive closed and public consultations for the reforms of both Bills were carried out between March and July this year.