UK to adopt Singapore Convention on the enforcement of mediated settlement agreements


Following consultation last year (see my paper on that subject by clicking here - ) the UK Ministry of Justice has announced that the UK is to join the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation (Singapore Convention). The effect is that settlement agreements reached through mediation relating to cross border (international) disputes can be directly enforced in the jurisdictions of signatory states, without first having to bring proceedings for breach of contract.

Click here to look at the convention -

Qualifying requirements

In order to benefit from the provisions of the convention a number of qualifying criteria have to be met, including:-

  • The settlement must result from mediation. That is a question of evidence. Including a recital to that effect and having the mediator sign the agreement should settle the point;
  • The agreement must be in writing, which is common practice in any event;
  • The dispute must be commercial in nature; family, employment and consumer claims do not qualify;
  • The dispute must be international, i.e. at least two of the parties must be based in different states, or if they are not the subject matter of the dispute (e.g. place of performance) must be in a different location.


The convention has been signed by 55 countries and ratified by 10 of those states. The EU is not a signatory; the US is but has not yet ratified the treaty. The UK has not published a timetable for signature and ratification, but has said it will proceed as soon as possible to signature and plans to ratify within the following 6 months. The convention can only be relied upon in relation to those states who have brought it into force through their domestic law.


As mediation continues to grow, both domestically and internationally, it makes sense to have a simpler way of enforcing mediated settlement agreements relating to cross border disputes. The UK is keen to promote mediation as it strives to reduce civil justice spend and reduce the load on the court system. It is also aware of the UK’s status as a centre for the resolution of international disputes, and anxious to bolster that reputation. How useful in practice the convention will be depends in part depend upon how quickly the US and the EU join, given the level of trade and associated disputes arising between the UK and those trading partners, and also upon how quickly current signatories ratify.

10th March 2023

Mike Henley