What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process involving a neutral third-party known as the mediator who helps disputing parties reach an amicable resolution in private and without going to court. It enjoys a high settlement rate and, in many instances, is a cheaper and faster alternative to litigation.

Unlike the highly-charged and adversarial environment of litigation, mediation is a facilitative process which resolves disputes in a confidential and non-confrontational manner. This enables disputing parties to preserve their relationship post-mediation.

The flexibility of the process also gives disputing parties an opportunity to identify and communicate their differences effectively. Parties are guided by the mediator to focus on issues that are important to them that need to be resolved and consider pragmatic solutions which are mutually acceptable.

Mediation as a dispute resolution process caters to a wide range of disputants, from individuals who face disagreements with family members, to former employees or customers who need to seek recourse for a commercial transaction, to businesses dealing with issues involving their suppliers, partners or customers.

All types of disputes, no matter the size of the claim, can be mediated. The exceptions are:
  • Criminal cases
  • Cases which require a precedent (e.g. a class action situation)
  • Cases where only the courts can give an appropriate remedy (e.g. an injunction or a personal protection order)
  • Disputes involving public policies

SMC’s mediation fees are generally pegged to the sum of the claim and counterclaim, whether it is above $60,000 or less than or equal to $60,000.

There are also various subsidised schemes jointly developed with key industry partners for disputes in these sectors: private education, media freelancers, intellectual property, tenancy, healthcare and sports.

SMC also has Family Mediation Procedure Rules to resolve matrimonial disputes with the help of a third-party mediator.

The rates vary from scheme to scheme. For more information on SMC’s fees, refer to the fee schedules on the respective services pages.

Benefits of mediation

  1. Saves time and money

    At SMC, 70% of all disputes referred to mediation reach full and final settlement. Of these cases, almost 90% are settled within one working day. Sessions can be arranged quickly and, in urgent cases, within 24 hours. This is in contrast with litigation which can be expensive and drawn out, stretching to months or even years.

  2. Control over outcomes

    SMC’s mediators help disputing parties arrive at creative and sensible ways to end their disputes. Parties will have control over the outcome of the mediation as they can choose to settle only when they are satisfied with the proposed terms. Once the parties enter into a settlement agreement, the terms will be binding and enforceable in a court of law.

  3. Preserves relationships

    SMC’s mediators facilitate open communication between parties and help improve relationships where possible. This strategy is especially useful when parties need to continue to work together.

  4. Maintains confidentiality

    Mediation is for parties who value their privacy. Matters discussed in the mediation sessions will be kept confidential. Also, because mediation is a “without prejudice” process, matters discussed behind closed doors cannot be used against the parties in court or in arbitration.

How do I apply for mediation?

Businesses or individuals can download the relevant application form for SMC’s mediation services and return the form to us by email, fax or mail. Click here for forms.

Face to Face Mediation

* For fees applicable, click here.
** Parties who wish to choose their own mediator may choose from SMC’s mediator panels.
The mediator’s commercial rates will apply.