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Singapore Mediation Centre handles record number of disputes in 2014

THE Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) on Wednesday said it handled 337 mediation matters last year, the highest since its inception in 1997.

This represents a 57 per cent jump from the 214 matters mediated in 2013. The figure is also more than double that of 2012.

SMC said the increase is due to more parties seeking mediation as a cost-effective form of dispute resolution.

Of the disputes handled last year, 49 related to construction disagreements, which is an increase of 75 per cent from the preceding year.

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Disputes arising from companies and/or shareholder matters rose 56 per cent. This was followed by a 41 per cent increase in matters relating to the sale and supply of goods and services.

Lawyer Lawrence Tan, a partner of Eldan Law, said that his clients from the construction industry generally prefer mediation as it results in quick resolution.

Last August, SMC unveiled a slew of enhancements, key of which was to give companies easier access to specialist mediators. To this end, businesses with disputes can now seek subject matter experts from SMC in 10 fields, ranging from banking and shipping to construction and energy

Loong Seng Onn, executive director of SMC, said: "Mediation has gained much traction with businesses and individuals, especially when they realise the amount of costs and time they save by settling disagreements out of court. As awareness of mediation and its benefits spreads, we expect more businesses to choose mediation as a means of conflict resolution."

So far, the centre has facilitated over 2,600 mediation matters, amounting to more than S$3.2 billion worth of disputes.

SMC said the highest disputed quantum mediated was S$209 million. It added that it had a 75 per cent success rate and that more than 90 per cent of its successful cases were completed within a single day.