In a short series of Posts, I will look at mediators and how they experience, and should deal with, the corrupt conduct by one or more parties to the mediation.

The issue is not that a party seeks to influence the mediator. Rather, the Posts concern the situation where corruption played in a role in the transaction that gave rise to the dispute that is mediated. 


Corruption in trade, commerce and investment

Corruption is not a new trend. In 2005, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, remarked in his Foreword to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, that corruption is an:

“… insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life, and allows organized crime, terrorism, and other threats to human security to flourish …”.[1]

Today, corruption in international trade, commerce and investment remains a reality. Recent initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative or the adoption of the 2019 Singapore Convention, shine a spotlight on the issue.[2] The chances that dispute resolution practitioners are called upon to assist with the resolution of a dispute where corrupt conduct could be an issue are ever-increasing.


Corruption and arbitration

For some years now, the issue has been the subject of considerable consideration in the context of arbitration. But far less has been written on the impact such conduct may have in mediations, and in particular on the mediator.

Thus, the following Blogs will consider how mediators can become aware that corrupt conduct of one or more parties to the mediation may be an issue in the mediation as well as the challenges this can present to mediators.

Specifically, I will explain how mediators can learn about, and familiarize themselves with, the tell-tale signs of possible corrupt conduct; the important decisions and decisive steps mediators must take when they suspect possible corrupt conduct; and the – potentially significant – ramifications that may arise if mediators act incorrectly or fail to act entirely.


[1]            K Annan “Foreword to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)”, 2349 UNTS 41 (EIF 14 December 2005).

[2]             See T John and R Gulati “The “One Belt, One Road” Strategy – the role of private international law in combatting and strengthening anti-corruption standards transnationally”, in P Sooksripaisarnkit, S R Garimella (eds) China’s One Belt One Road Initiative and Private International Law, Routlegde (2020). See also Justice Datuk H H S bin Abu Backer FCIArb “Singapore Mediation Convention: Is the Rule of Law Intact?”.