The advantages of mediation are evident and also recognized not only by dispute resolution professionals, but also, to a significantly increasing degree, by the users of alternative dispute resolution services. Empirical data, however scarce it may be, shows that compared to adversarial dispute resolution methods such as litigation or arbitration, mediation offers genuine time and cost effectiveness. In terms of the value and sustainability of the outcome that stands at the end of the mediation process, success rates of well above 50 per cent are also compelling. By way of the European Mediation Directive, the European Union catalysed a process for the harmonization of mediation legislation throughout its territory. It also set the groundwork for a unified standard of quality in mediation through the European Code of Conduct for Mediators. Under the Singapore Convention on Mediation, which is due to enter into force in September 2020, States are held to the commitment to enforce international settlement agreements resulting from mediation in a unified expedited procedure that echoes the principles of the New York Convention (1958). Hand in hand with other international instruments negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, in particular the UNCITRAL Model Law on Commercial Mediation, it contributes to the further harmonization and development of best practices in alternative dispute resolution in a world of strongly entwined commercial relations. This year will also likely see the adoption of further momentous instruments, namely the UNCITRAL Mediation Rules and the UNCITRAL Notes on Mediation. Taken together, these instruments establish a well-rounded, strong and legally binding international framework for commercial mediation. With these new instruments in place and a new awareness and openness towards the use of consensual methods in professional dispute resolution processes, commercial mediation will flourish further and show its full potential in the years to come, not only in Europe but throughout the world.
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