When do I apply for mediation for civil cases?
Mediation is provided by the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution for cases that have been filed in the State Courts.
If you have a case in State Courts, you may request for mediation after confirming that all the other parties are agreeable to use mediation. This request has to be filed in the eLitigation system.
A judge in the State Courts may also refer your case for mediation at any stage of proceeding. For instance, if the plaintiff (the person making a claim) has filed a summons for directions, all parties and their lawyers have to complete and file the ADR Form before the hearing. At the summons for directions, the judge may refer your case for mediation after looking at each party's ADR Form and discussing with the lawyers. For more information, please refer to Part VI of the State Courts Practice Directions.
Note: If you are claiming for less than $3,000 in a non-injury motor accident case, your claim has to be heard by the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre Ltd (FIDReC) before you file an action in court. FIDReC will manage your claim through mediation and will also make a determination if necessary. The determination or award of the adjudicator will be binding on the motor insurer, but you are free to choose whether to accept it. For more information, please refer to FIDReC's website and a Practice Direction.
Do I have to be present at a mediation session?
If you are notified by the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution to attend a mediation session, you should appear at the first mediation session regardless of whether you have a lawyer representing you.
Motor accident cases, as well as other personal injury cases (such as industrial accidents) are not listed for mediation, but for brief neutral evaluation. Lawyers normally represent the relevant insurers and clients at the brief neutral evaluation session. In general, you need not attend the first session. Where necessary, you may be directed to be present in subsequent sessions.
Who will be the mediator?
Your dispute will be mediated by either:
(a) a Judge in the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution; or
(b) a court volunteer mediator.
The letter letter notifying you of the date of mediation will indicate who the mediator will be.
The court volunteer mediators in the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution are legally trained mediators who have been accredited by both the State Courts and Singapore Mediation Centre. They mediate cases in the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution on a voluntary basis.
All mediators in the State Courts are governed by the State Courts' Code of Ethics and Principles of Court Mediation. This Code sets out the ethical principles underlying mediation in the State Courts. It elaborates on Court mediators' shared values and the key principles governing how mediation should be conducted in the State Courts.
What happens during a mediation session?
A typical mediation has the following stages:
The lawyers usually brief the mediator on the facts of the dispute and the issues to be discussed during the mediation session. You and the other party need not be present in the mediation chamber during this time.
Joint meeting with all parties and lawyers present
The mediator will introduce you and the other party to the mediation process. Each of you will have the chance to speak about the dispute, and the mediator will facilitate a discussion on the issues.
If necessary, the mediator will hold separate meetings with either you or the other party, together with your respective lawyers. This is a time to discuss further matters and concerns with the mediator, and to explore possible solution. What you have shared with the mediator will not be disclosed to the other party unless you allow the mediator to do so. There may be several of such meetings, depending on the circumstances of each dispute.
Conclusion of mediation
Once you and the other party have reached an agreement, everyone will meet the mediator together with your lawyers to review and confirm the terms of your settlement. These terms will be recorded before a Judge.
Will the information that I provide be kept confidential?
Yes. All information will be kept strictly confidential and will not be revealed in court in the event that no settlement is reached after mediation.
The mediator may also call for a private meeting where he or she will speak to each party separately. Confidential information revealed during such private meetings will not be revealed to the other party.
How many mediation sessions will there be?
In general, there should not be more than three sessions. There also have been many cases in which settlement occurred within a single session. However, the actual time taken and the number of sessions required depends upon the situation of each individual case, such as the nature and level of complexity of the case, as well as the attitude of the parties.
What happens when there is no agreement reached after multiple mediation sessions?
When a case cannot be settled through mediation, the parties will be directed to take the necessary steps within certain time frames for the matter to proceed for a court trial (e.g. filing affidavits of evidence-in-chief). Such a trial will be heard before a Judge in the civil courts. The Judge who may have mediated your case will not be the trial Judge. The information discussed during the mediation process will remain confidential and will not be revealed to the trial Judge.