New institute housed at NUS Faculty of Law aims to raise awareness and promote the use of mediation
A new institute has been established to set world-class mediation standards in Singapore and the region. The Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI), which is housed at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law, was officially launched today by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education. The launch event was attended by about 100 local and international lawyers, regulators and academics.
The creation of SIMI was the fruition of a recommendation by the International Commercial Mediation Working Group, which was appointed by The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Singapore's Ministry of Law (MinLaw).
SIMI is a non-profit organisation founded by NUS with support from MinLaw. The Institute also shares a partnership relationship with the International Mediation Institute (IMI), a non-profit public interest initiative to drive transparency and high competency standards into mediation practice across all fields, worldwide.
SIMI's operations will run independently from NUS and its role includes setting world-class standards of mediation, providing impartial information about mediation, helping parties make basic decisions about mediation, and to increase awareness and promote the use of mediation.
Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Faculty of Law, said, “As the mediation sector in Singapore expands, key issues that it will confront relate to training, accreditation, and quality control. All these are within SIMI's remit and clear opportunities exist to link those challenges to the research and teaching mission of NUS Law. The result, we hope, will be a strong and sustainable mediation sector, firmly supporting Singapore's claim to be the legal hub of Asia.”
SIMI Leadership Team
SIMI's board of directors is led by Chairman Associate Professor Joel Lee, who is also a faculty member at NUS Law. Assoc Prof Lee runs the Faculty's Negotiation and Mediation Workshops and has extensive experience in the field of meditation as a principal mediator with and the Training Director for the Singapore Mediation Centre, as well as an adjudicator with the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre and a member of the ADR Advisory Council of the Subordinate Courts of Singapore.
He is assisted by the Institute's Deputy Chairman Mr Michael Leathes, who is a member of the IMI Board of Directors and was a prominent in-house counsel for many international companies during his 39-year career until his retirement at the end of 2006, where he had managed a considerable number of disputes worldwide.
The other members of the SIMI Board include Ms Josephine Hadikusumo, regional legal counsel for Texas Instruments; Professor Nadja Alexander, conflict resolution specialist, mediator, and professor of law based in Hong Kong and Mr Poon Hong Yuen, Deputy Secretary of MinLaw.
SIMI's executive team is currently headed by Mr Marcus Lim, a lawyer who was previously with Rajah & Tann LLP, a leading Singapore law firm.
Assoc Prof Joel Lee, Chairman of SIMI, said, “SIMI will operate to develop the mediation space in Singapore and the region in a variety of areas. These include the continued professionalisation of mediation through high standards of accreditation, raising awareness among users of the benefits and suitability of mediation, and spear-heading further research into the field.”
SIMI's Work & Activities
SIMI's work reaches across different stakeholders in the mediation space. The list below summarises how various parties can benefit from SIMI's work.
1. USERS OF MEDIATION - SIMI provides users of mediation with information about SIMI Mediators, from SIMI Accredited Level 1 to SIMI Certified Mediators. This gives users a wide range of experienced mediators to choose from. SIMI also provides users with useful tools to make basic decisions on using mediation and choosing a suitable mediator. As a professional standards body, SIMI does not conduct mediation sessions.
2. MEDIATORS - SIMI offers mediators a credentialing scheme that is broken into tiers to suit mediators of different experience levels. By qualifying as a SIMI Mediator, mediators benefit from having their contact details published on SIMI's website and they can also leverage on SIMI's outreach programmes to raise awareness about their services. Being a SIMI Mediator is a distinguishing mark of quality and will help mediators stand out from the crowd. Mediators who qualify for the highest tier, SIMI Certification, are also eligible for IMI Certification and thus, listing on IMI's website alongside renowned international mediators. Mediators interested in becoming a SIMI Mediator can approach any of the organisations listed in SIMI's website as offering accreditation or certification for the SIMI Credentialing Scheme.
3. MEDIATION SERVICE PROVIDERS - Service providers benefit from having SIMI Mediators because it represents that their mediators have undergone training and accreditation courses approved by an independent and professional standards body. SIMI's work with international leaders in mediation, such as the IMI, will in turn raise the visibility and reputation of the service providers who use SIMI Mediators. SIMI will also work closely with local organisations and firms keen to ensure that their mediation sessions are recognised under SIMI's credentialing scheme. This will provide the service provider's mediators with an assurance that their work will count towards SIMI Certification as well as IMI Certification.
4. MEDIATION TRAINERS - Organisations can look to register their mediation training and assessment courses with SIMI to offer their participants the option of being assessed for the SIMI Credentialing Scheme as a SIMI Mediator Level 1. SIMI will also work closely with various sector and industry professional bodies to assist them in developing courses that incorporate specialised knowledge for each respective industry.
5. EDUCATION & AWARENESS - SIMI will organise education and awareness talks about mediation and how it can work for different organisations. SIMI will also conduct outreach and teaching activities such as seminars and mediation competitions for students. SIMI will work closely with educational institutes to further research in mediation.