The Singapore Mediation Centre was opened by the Singapore Academy of Law on August 16 1997 to provide a full range of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services, in particular private, non-court based mediation, as an alternative to litigation. At the launch, the Chief Justice said that "for businesses, litigation undermines their competitiveness by eating up management time and damaging business goodwill and reputation". Echoing the government's strong commitment to mediation, the Attorney-General's Chambers have recommended that future government contracts should carry a clause on the referral of disputes for mediation when appropriate.
The Centre replaces the Commercial Mediation Service, a pilot project launched in December 1996 to institutionalize mediation as an ADR mechanism. The Centre has entered into memoranda of understanding with various professional organizations in Singapore to provide its services to, and for further cooperation with, them. It also has links to a number of internationally-renowned ADR institutions. Its mediators comprise senior lawyers and leaders from professional and industry groups.
The Centre also advises on the benefits of ADR and provides comprehensive training in ADR techniques and consultancy services in dispute management and conflict avoidance. It eventually hopes to export its mediation services abroad.