Singapore has embraced mediation as an alternative dispute resolution method, including recent amendments to law and proposed process enhancements for the mediation of employment claims and telecommunications and media disputes. Organisations should consider updating their contracts and equipping key representatives with mediation skill sets to stay current and prepared for the growing wave of mediation referrals.
Mediation of Telecommunication and Media Disputes
In February 2017, the Telecommunications Act was amended to establish an alternative dispute resolution scheme for the telecommunication and media industries. This was followed in January 2018 by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announcing that it would be proposing to mandate a two-stage mediation and adjudication scheme for the resolution of disputes with telecommunication and media service providers (the Scheme).
IMDA’s current proposal is for the Scheme to apply to individual customers and small businesses and to service providers that have a direct billing relationship with consumers in respect of disputes relating to service agreements, billing arrangements, or incurrence of one-off charges with the service providers. IMDA’s consultation closed on 21 March 2018 and received 14 responses from various parties, including the Consumer Association of Singapore, M1 Limited, and Singapore Telecommunications Limited. We are of the view that mediation of such quantifiable disputes is likely to be approved and that the Scheme will be put forth for approval within the year.