Jamaica signs international mediation treaty

Friday, August 16, 2019

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JAMAICA is among 46 countries that recently signed a new United Nations (UN) international treaty on mediation in Singapore, at a conference organised by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and the Singapore Ministry of Law.

At the opening ceremony for the signing of the UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation — also called the “Singapore Convention on Mediation” — last week Wednesday, country representatives also discussed emerging issues relating to business, international trade and dispute resolution.

Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck, who inked the agreement for Jamaica, headed a delegation that included his ministry's Chief Technical Director Grace Ann Stewart McFarlane, Director of Legal Services Karen Wilson, and Christopher Malcolm, secretary general, Jamaica International Arbitration Centre (JAIAC).

The conference focused on mediation as an important commercial dispute resolution tool and its future as a critical component of the global dispute management eco-system.

Under the agreement, JAIAC, with support from the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), says it is committed to the buildout of a robust framework for the effective management of commercial and other disputes.

The framework is expected to complement the local court system, using mediation and other mechanisms which focus on dispute avoidance and the prevention of unnecessary escalation of disputes.

According to the JAIAC, its approach will “avoid disruption of business operations and lessen the impairment of balance sheets with difficult to predict contingent liabilities related to, for example, ongoing litigation. It should also result in tangible cost-saving and profit-maximising benefits for the commercial sector and will promote Jamaica as a place where optimal participation in international trade, investment and commerce is fully supported by a well-considered dispute management eco-system.

The JAIAC was first established as the Mona International Centre for Arbitration and Mediation in November 2015 and rebranded in April 2017.

The centre was established with institutional support from the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration, a relationship which has been formalised under a memorandum of understanding.

The JAIAC also has an institutional agreement with the JCC, providing support for domestic, regional and international arbitration, mediation, adjudication, neutral evaluation, and other services. Additionally, the centre administers and provides support for ad hoc arbitrations.

The centre is Caribbean-focused and currently operates as a virtual entity out of the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James, and the JCC.


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