Singapore reaffirmed its support for China’s pursuit of high-quality development and welcomed China’s continued commitment to reform and opening up. China spoke highly of Singapore's longstanding participation in China’s modernisation journey.
Of course, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was high on the agenda during the meetings leading to the Announcement. On the same day, the Supreme Court of Singapore and the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on “Cooperation on the management of international commercial disputes in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative through a Litigation-Mediation-Litigation (“LML”) Framework”. The MOU describes how the Singapore International Commercial Court and the China International Commercial Court will develop and implement an LML framework for the management of BRI international commercial disputes.
The LML framework developed and implemented by each court will have the following features:
“(i) Case management conferences may be convened for the court to determine the procedural steps (such as in the form of a court ruling, case management memorandum or notice, where applicable) and to give directions for the timely and cost-efficient management and resolution of the dispute;(ii) The court may grant a stay of court proceedings for a specified period for the parties to the dispute to reach a settlement through mediation, and any party to the dispute may, for good reason, apply for an extension of that period;(iii) Every mediation is to be conducted on a “without prejudice” basis, and is private and confidential;(iv) Where the parties to a dispute reach a settlement as a result of mediation, the court may give a judgment, or issue a statement having the effect of a judgment, to facilitate the recognition and enforcement of the mediated settlement;(v) The parties to a dispute are entitled to have a mediation conducted in accordance with the mediation rules of a mediation institution chosen by those parties, or the rules agreed or submitted to by those parties in accordance with the applicable law.”
Recommended wording for dispute resolution clauses has also been laid out in the MOU. It is stated that Singapore and China have agreed to promote the LML framework by recommending the adoption of the following LML Model Clauses:
(i) Where the parties choose to resolve the dispute in the SICC: Each party irrevocably submits to the exclusive jurisdiction of the SICC any dispute arising out of or in connection with this contract (including any question relating to its existence, validity or termination), and the parties agree that after the commencement of court proceedings, they will attempt in good faith to resolve any dispute through mediation in accordance with the LML Protocol of the SICC.
(ii) Where the parties choose to resolve the dispute in the CICC: Each party, according to the procedural law of the seat of the court, irrevocably submits to the exclusive jurisdiction of the CICC any dispute arising out of or in connection with this contract (including any question relating to its existence, validity or termination), and the parties agree that after the commencement of court proceedings, they will attempt in good faith to resolve any dispute through mediation in accordance with the Procedural Rules of the CICC.
The legal community of Singapore has generally welcomed these developments, but await further details as to how the MOU and LML framework will be implemented.