Frequently Asked Questions


1. How is mediation different from litigation?

Litigation is a legal process often resulting in a dispute being battled out in court. It can therefore be quite adversarial in nature. The outcome of litigation is not known and is entirely in the hands of the ruling judge. Litigation can be costly and lengthy.

Mediation is based on the principle that people are capable of resolving their own disagreements with the guidance and support of a mediator who is not a judge nor a decision maker.

Rather, the mediator facilitates discussions between the parties in a safe, neutral and confidential environment to help them to find a mutually acceptable solution. There is no surprise ruling since the outcome of the dispute is in the hands of the parties themselves, who could also choose to walk away from the negotiation table at any time. Mediation is usually dealt with in one session and at a minimal cost to parties.


2. What kind of disputes can be mediated?

EMCC can mediate all and any type of dispute, except for criminal matters where the necessary legal authorities are required to intervene.


3. What is the difference between counselling and mediation?

While there are similarities in the skill sets of counselling and mediation, the main difference lies in that mediation is typically always focused on assisting two or more parties to resolve a specific conflict that has arisen between them. It does not go beyond that point in dealing with the individuals’ emotional condition and does not offer therapy.

Counselling focuses on the holistic well-being of the client, and is typically a therapy process which may or may not include dealing with a specific conflict between the client and another person. Mediation generally follows a structured and standard procedure while counselling sessions differ according to the styles and techniques of the specific therapist. Mediation is also typically concluded in one session while counselling therapy can take several sessions.


4. What is the mediation process  and how long will it take?

EMCC’s mediation sessions are usually concluded within one session (3 hours). Essentially mediation runs like a guided negotiation between the parties, with the mediator facilitating the communication, which follows a five-stage format:

Stage 1: Introducing the Process: the mediator will explain the mediation process and the parties agree to a number of guidelines to be observed during the session such as mutual respect and confidentiality.

Stage 2: Exploring Positions and Interests: the parties explain their positions regarding the issue and give an indication of what they want.

Stage 3: Developing Solutions: the parties discuss their interests and possible options for resolving the dispute.

Stage 4: Resolution: The parties, assisted by the mediator, decide on the best possible mutually agreeable solution.

Stage 5: Written Agreement: the agreement reached may be formalised in writing and signed by the parties.


5. Do I need to hire a lawyer for mediation?

No, you do not need to be represented in mediation. However, EMCC welcomes the presence of lawyers if parties so wish.  Where one party is represented, EMCC will advise the other party who will also be free to bring his/her lawyer.


6. Will mediation always result in an agreement or settlement?

Since the outcome of a mediation is dependent on the parties, there is no guarantee that every mediation will end in agreement. However, with the assistance of the mediator, the parties may see a new perspective and explore options they may not have previously considered. At the very least, the mediation process will certainly help you decide on your next course of action.


7. Is the settlement reached in mediation legally binding?

Mediation is a voluntary process: parties can choose whether or not to participate, and can also choose when to end the process. In legal terms, mediation takes place on a “without prejudice” basis – parties must agree that whatever is discussed in mediation will not be used in court should the mediation not result in an settled agreement. It is therefore a non-binding process. However, in the event that the parties wish to record their settlement in a written agreement, such agreement becomes a binding contract under Singapore law.


8. How much will mediation cost?

Mediation is a relatively low cost method of resolving disputes and with EMCC’s subsidised rates, mediation is affordable and accessible to all. See our fee schedule for more details.


9. How effective are EMCC’s mediators?

EMCC mediators have a strong reputation. EMCC was the first organisation to be appointed by the Subordinate Courts to perform mediations in the Family Court in the late 1990s. Since then, EMCC mediators have been among the forerunners in community mediation. Some  are Master Mediators with the Community Mediation Centres, appointed mediators for the Tribunal for the Maintenance of Parents, the Family Court and the Small Claims Tribunal of the Subordinate Courts


10. How do I apply for mediation?

The EMCC centre can be called at +65 6788-8220. The Intake Officer will arrange an appointment for the parties and the mediator(s). EMCC’s fee structure and mode of payment will also be explained by the Intake Officer.