On the evening of 25 November 2020, SMP was privileged to hear from two leading mediators from the region, Ms Shanti Abraham (from Malaysia) (“Shanti”) and Ms Jody Sin (from Hong Kong) (“Jody”) who shared on recent developments in their respective countries, in a wide-ranging discussion moderated by SMP Chairman Lim Tat.
The evening commenced with a discussion on the opportunities and challenges with mediating in these jurisdictions (after a short survey that polled the experiences of the audience). Shanti shared about the appointment process for mediation in Malaysia, and how mediators in most matters in Malaysia are appointed by counsel rather than by institutions and how experience (perceived or actual) matters. Jody shared about how it was important, even as one develops a mediation practice, to have trusted advisors, and shared her own personal journey. In relation to the Hong Kong landscape, the appointment process is somewhat more variegated, at times as a result of client recommendations, but other appointments are by institutions.
There was also a robust discussion about professionalising the mediation landscape in both Hong Kong and Malaysia, given the possible disconnect between supply and demand in some jurisdictions, and the importance of society understanding the value proposition for mediators in any dispute resolution process (and to price them into such dispute resolution process). There was also a wide-ranging discussion on rates and remuneration for conducting mediations.
After a further survey on individual practices in mediation amongst the audience, the speakers also shared their own experiences in their jurisdictions about whether, and to what extent, a structured process is employed in mediations in their jurisdictions, and in their personal practices. The speakers also highlighted the importance of taking into account cultural nuances and cultural norms in any mediation.
The session also touched on the future prospects of mediation, including the continued ascent of online mediation and the impact of the Singapore Convention on the mediation landscape in their respective jurisdictions. The speakers also spoke about some challenges that comes from the rise of online mediation (getting more senior lawyers on board, confidentiality given the possibility of covert recordings).
The speakers capped off their presentations with advice that they would provide to other mediators based on their own experiences and war stories about how some memorable mediations panned out.
The evening’s event involved a diverse audience from mediators and others hailing (and logging in) from multiple jurisdictions, which apart from Singapore, including those from Japan, Australia and Korea. SMP thanks Shanti and Jody for their wonderful sharing and we look forward to continuing the conversation in the years to come!
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