On 29 March 2019, the Family Mediation Symposium convened at the Auditorium of the Supreme Court of Singapore. The Symposium brought together more than 130 experts and practitioners in the field of family mediation to discuss issues and challenges in mediating family disputes, both in a domestic and in a cross-border context. This event, a joint collaboration between the Family Justice Courts of Singapore and the Permanent Bureau, was attended by an audience comprised of judges, academics, government officials, lawyers, mediators from 18 jurisdictions, including Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, China (Hong Kong S.A.R.), Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand and the United States of America.
The Symposium discussed the relevance of the HCCH Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, of the HCCH Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children and of the HCCH Convention of 23 November 2007 on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance in today’s world and as a framework for the effective promotion of the use of mediation in family disputes. The discussions highlighted the usefulness of mediation as a collaboration-based and outcome-focused alternative to family court proceedings, in particular in disputes involving children.