Upholding the Rule of Law: The Law Society Mediation Scheme

On 10 March 2017, the Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon officially launched the Law Society Mediation Scheme (“LSMS”) during the Law Society Mediation Forum (“Forum”) organised by the Law Society of Singapore (“Law Society”). Key individuals from Singapore’s mediation scene were invited to share their academic and practice insights on developments in mediation both locally and internationally at the Forum. Certificates of appointment were presented to the Senior and Associate Mediators appointed to the inaugural LSMS Panel of Mediators.

The Honourable Justice Belinda Ang with members of the welcoming party
The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon delivered the Keynote Address, titled “Mediation and the Rule of Law”.1 In his address His Honour proposed that, in light of the ideals of the modern system of dispute resolution, we are encouraged to move away from the conventional concept of the Rule of Law and to re-cast the Rule of Law ideal as a broader concept, being intimately connected with “access to justice” for the disputant, rather than viewing the Rule of Law ideal through narrow measurements of formal legality and the ability of the disputant to participate exclusively in the judicial adjudicative process. His Honour stated:
More importantly, with recourse to different methods of dispute resolution, the great benefit is that parties may now consider the strengths and weaknesses of each approach in order to determine the appropriate mode of dispute resolution that is best-suited to their needs. Developing a more diversified suite of dispute resolution options therefore enhances the ability of the legal system to deliver justice that is customised to the particularities of each case and has the effect of reinforcing the overall legitimacy of the dispute resolution framework. This, in turn, has the potential to foster stronger respect for the norms set within the adjudicative process.2
In essence, the re-characterised Rule of Law ideal is met when the disputant is adequately empowered to participate in an appropriate dispute resolution forum within the legal system. Therefore, His Honour suggested that use of mediation would not be inconsistent with the re-characterised Rule of Law ideal where “access to justice” is paramount.
His Honour’s illuminating speech is the latest clarion call for lawyers to reconsider mediation as being an integral part of contemporary legal practice. On a related note, the Law Society notes that recent amendments were made to the Legal Profession (Professional Conduct) Rules 20153 (“PCR”), where, under the rubric of “act[ing] in the best interests” of the client, a legal practitioner must, together with the client, “evaluate the use of alternative dispute resolution processes”.4
The Law Society takes the view that the LSMS is consistent with His Honour’s notion of “access to justice’”under the re-characterised broader concept of the Rule of Law ideal. The LSMS is a user-centric, low-cost mediation scheme where disputants are free to agree on how, and in what form, to present their civil claims to the mediator. The mediators on the LSMS Panel of Mediators are experienced legal practitioners who have met the Law Society’s stringent criteria of mediator accreditation and case experience. These mediators have essentially agreed to provide quality services at very affordable rates set out in the LSMS Fees Schedule.
For example, the first LSMS mediation of 2017 was settled expeditiously within a short span of two hours. As the quantum of the dispute was above S$250,000.00, a principal mediator and an associate mediator were appointed pursuant to the Law Society Mediation Rules. The Law Society is pleased to report that both mediators have demonstrated exceptional professionalism which has contributed to the initial success of the LSMS.
The Law Society encourages members to view the LSMS as a cost-effective and efficient mediation solution to their benefit, where members should confidently and readily advise their clients to consider mediation under the LSMS.
To find out more about the LSMS, please visit the Law Society’s website.5
Representation and Law Reform Department
The Law Society of Singapore
1 Mediation and the Rule of Law, Keynote Address by the Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Supreme Court of Singapore, The Law Society Mediation Forum, Singapore , 10 March 2017, accessible at

2 ibid, at paragraph 26.

3 (S 706/2015)(ëPCRí)

4 ibid, Rule 17(1) read with 17(2)(e) PCR.

5 See the Law Societyís website at

President presenting Associate Mediator Ms Aye Cheng Shone with her certificate

Chief Justice presenting Senior Mediator Mr Aziz Tayabali with his certificate

The Chief Justice having a browse of the handbook for the scheme

The official launch of the scheme by the Chief Justice together with the President of the Law Society and the Chairman of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee

The Chief Justice pondering the topic at hand while our President looks on