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Asia’s first specialised mediation framework for aviation22 March 2024

On 21 February 2024, the Hague Court of Arbitration for Aviation (the “CAA”) and Singapore International Mediation Centre (“SIMC”) signed a memorandum of understanding for a first-of-its-kind specialised mediation framework for the aviation industry in Asia. This agreement marks a welcome milestone for the promotion of aviation-specific mediation in the region.

"This agreement marks a welcome milestone for the promotion of aviation-specific mediation in the region."

The MOU brings together Singapore’s significant role in the global aerospace landscape and its commitment to being the pre-eminent centre for alternative dispute resolution in Asia. It reflects the growing popularity of mediation and its potential significance in an industry where speed and flexibility are key.

Used effectively, mediation can offer a speedy method of resolving disputes, either before or during formal litigation or arbitration proceedings. As many aviation disputes involve highly specialised issues, the ability to select a mediator with technical expertise is particularly helpful, since it helps to ensure compromise can be reached without needing to explain the aviation industry and standard dealings to somebody who is otherwise unfamiliar.

Further, as aviation often involves cross-border elements, disputes can include the use of court or arbitration protocols which are foreign to one or both parties. By contrast, mediation offers an informal process with greater flexibility and avoids potentially damaging publicity that can arise from litigation. Given mediation can be undertaken on a without prejudice basis, then if mediation fails, parties can still proceed with litigation or arbitration without the failed mediation influencing proceedings.

Overall, the MOU is a welcome step towards the smooth resolution of disputes in the aviation sector in Asia and we look forward to following the CAA’s and SIMC’s collaboration with interest.

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