Authors: Janet C. Checkley is a researcher at (Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy), Professor Nadja Alexander is a director at (Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy)
To satisfy the needs of an increasingly diverse set of legal cultures meeting in the global marketplace today, dispute resolution mechanisms must continually evolve. One of the recent solutions to arise out of the blending of legal cultures is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, because it is in fact not new at all: multi-tiered dispute resolution.
The simple idea behind multi-tiered dispute resolution is to provide several possible avenues to dispute settlement within one dispute resolution procedure. The result is a mechanism that combines various dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and arbitration, in different ways.
Clauses incorporating multi-tiered dispute resolution are a recent development in commercial and cross-border contexts.
Yet in some parts of the world, such as mainland China and other civil law countries, it is standard for judges and arbitrators to attempt to facilitate settlement in the course of trial and arbitration.
Multi-tiered dispute resolution provides a dynamic solution for cross-border disputes. It combines the flexibility of negotiation and mediation with the promise of finality and expedited enforcement through arbitration under the UN Convention for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. It also presents a unique set of considerations for parties to navigate.