Singapore High Court Orders Specific Performance to Compel Compliance With Obligation to Mediate Disputes

31 Mar 2023 CaseWatch

Can a party be compelled to mediate? Mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution, is a process in which a neutral third party attempts to help the parties reach a mutually satisfactory solution to their problem without the element of compulsion.

Consensus or mutuality is an essential element of mediation. Indeed, the mediation process has been described as having the greatest potential as an alternative dispute resolution process due to its “emphasis on consensual settlement”. In layman’s terms, mediation is possible only where parties voluntarily participate in a discussion to settle and/or compromise disputes, and are imbued with proper authority to do so.

Recently, the General Division of the Singapore High Court (High Court) had the opportunity to consider the novel question of whether the remedy of specific performance is available to a party where the other party failed to comply with its contractual obligation to refer their dispute to mediation: Maxx Engineering Works Pte Ltd v PQ Builders Pte Ltd [2023] SGHC 71.

This update takes a look at the High Court’s decision.

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