VIAC and VMC have a working session with Singapore Society of Mediation Professionals (SMP) and ResoX

Apr 24, 2024

On the afternoon of April 8 and April 9, 2024, Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC) and Vietnam Mediation Centre (VMC), a division of VIAC had a working session with representatives of Singapore Society of Mediation Professionals (SMP) and ResoX (1) at the headquarters in Hanoi.

VIAC and VMC welcomed representatives of SMP and ResoX to their headquarters in Hanoi

Dr. Vu Tien Loc – Chairman and President of VIAC and Mr. Linda Heng – Member of SMP Executive Committee

On behalf of VIAC and VMC, there were Mr. Vu Anh Duong, Permanent Vice President cum Secretary General of VIAC, Mr. Phan Trong Dat - Acting Director of VMC, Ms. Vu Thi Hang - Deputy Director of Secretariat, Mr. Nguyen Trung Nam – Deputy Director of VMC, along with VMC – listed mediators who are lawyers and experts in the field of mediation. Representing SMP and ResoX were Ms. Linda Heng - Honorary Treasurer, SMP Executive Committee member, ResoX Director, along with experienced lawyers specializing in dispute resolution through mediation. Both parties have exchanged practical information as well as the experience of Singapore in promoting the use of commercial mediation. 

At the meeting, representatives from VIAC and SMP exchanged about the practices of Arbitral Tribunals encouraging parties to engage in mediation. They also discussed some professional skills of Arbitrators in recommending mediation or conducting mediation in arbitral proceedings to avoid conflicts of interest. Ms. Hang emphasized that the parties should participate in this procedure instead of just having lawyers involved as in international arbitration to increase the chance of the proposal being adopted by both parties.

Representing VMC, Mr. Phan Trong Dat provided an overview of VMC's operations. As the first commercial mediation center established following Decree No. 22/2017/ND-CP dated February 24, 2017 on commercial mediation, VMC has a list of 69 mediators so far, including 54 Vietnamese mediators and 15 foreign mediators. In addition, VMC has also actively promoted international cooperation as well as promotional and training activities to further develop commercial mediation in Vietnam. VMC has received a total of 39 requests for mediation/offers to mediate, including those where the other party did not respond to the request for mediation. Mr. Dat identified this as a major challenge that VMC needs to overcome in the upcoming time and expressed a desire to learn from Singapore's experience.

Representatives of VMC, including Mr. Phan Trong Dat – Acting Director of VMC, Mr. Nguyen Trung Nam – Deputy Director of VMC, and VMC’s Listed Mediators, including Ms. Nguyen Kim Dung, Mr. Tran Van Nam, Mr. Duong Quoc Thanh

On behalf of SMP, Ms. Linda Heng has shared some insight into the development of mediation in Singapore. During the period from 2000 to 2010, Singapore adopted a “soft” approach by gradually raising awareness among individuals, businesses, and legal practitioners about mediation. As part of this approach, mediation centres in Singapore collaborated with the Courts to educate the community and businesses on resolving disputes through commercial mediation. This was done with the aim of disseminating mediation methods to the legal community and businesses.

Representatives of SMP, including Mr. Michael Lam, Ms. Donna Ross, Ms. Linda Heng, Mr. Dixon Soh and Mr. Stephen Poh

Ms. Linda Heng also emphasized the role of the courts in motivating/encouraging/being a driving force of parties to resolve disputes through mediation. This is shown by the fact that the Singaporean courts have issued/implement/made ‘tougher’ decisions to encourage the parties involved in litigation to mediate before taking it to court. This includes the imposition of sanctions on a party for refusing/declining mediation when appropriate.

Following the discussion, the VMC’s Listed mediators and SMP experts had actively shared their knowledge on the regulations as well as practices in resolving disputes through mediation in the United States and Australia. In addition, the experts expressed their hopes in Vietnam – a dynamic nation to soon sign and ratify the 2018 Singapore Convention on Mediation.

Besides, the parties also further discussed other issues such as the law on commercial mediation in Vietnam, mediation training in legal training institutes, enforcement of foreign mediation agreements, and the accession to the Singapore Convention,… It was a lively discussion between representatives of the parties with useful information on the practices of commercial mediation in Vietnam and around the world shared.

Mr. Phan Trong Dat – Acting Director of VMC and Ms. Linda Heng – Member of SMP Executive Committee 

To conclude the meeting, VMC along with representatives from ResoX also had a discussion on future cooperation activities, with hopes that the two parties shall have more meetings to strengthen the cooperative relationship. Furthermore, VMC hopes to have more practical discussions in order to learn from Singapore’s experience in developing dispute resolution through mediation, thereby applying it appropriately to promote the development of the aforementioned dispute resolution method in Vietnam.
(1) ResoX is an online platform that provides aid in dispute resolution by connecting the parties with lawyers, arbitrators, and experts in the field of dispute resolution.

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