On June 4, 2021, Brazil signed the Singapore Convention on Mediation (“Singapore Convention“), which provides a uniform framework for settlement agreements put in writing resulting from mediations entered in one of the contracting states. Under the Singapore Convention, a party can enforce such settlement agreements in the courts of any contracting state, provided that the settlement agreement was issued in that or in another contracting state. Moreover, the party can invoke the settlement agreement in any contracting state, to prove that the matter was already resolved.
The courts of a contracting state may only refuse to grant relief based on the settlement agreement in limited circumstances, such as if: (i) a party to the settlement agreement was under incapacity; (ii) the settlement agreement was not binding, null and void, inoperative or incapable of being performed under the law to which it is subjected; (iii) there was a serious breach by the conciliator of standards applicable to the conciliator, without which breach that party would not have entered into the settlement agreement; (iv) the settlement agreement has already been performed or modified; (v) granting relief would be contrary to the public policy of the contracting party; or (vi) the subject matter of the dispute is not capable of settlement by mediation under the law of that party.
The Singapore Convention does not apply to settlement agreements concluded for with personal, family or household purposes by one of the parties (a consumer), as well as settlement agreements relating to family, inheritance or employment law. It does not apply either to settlement agreements that are enforceable as a judgment or as an arbitral award.
The Singapore Convention is aimed at fostering mediation on disputes related to international trade, as the parties will be able to invoke the settlement agreement so reached in other jurisdictions. The Singapore Convention is expected, in the medium and long run, to have a positive effect on mediation similar to the one that the 1958 New York Convention had on international arbitration.
The Brazilian Congress still has to approve the Singapore Convention, which can take some time.