Politics & International Studies

Mediation in Neighbour Disputes in Southeast Asia

Mediation in Neighbour Disputes in Southeast Asia

To get the benefits of cordial resolution of disputes leading to peace and harmony between the parties, the path of mediation should be preferred over litigation.


Harsh Mahaseth, Assistant Professor at Jindal Global Law School, and a Senior Research Analyst at the Nehginpao Kipgen Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.

Tanvi More, law student at Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


It is unavoidable for disagreements to arise between neighbours, it is one of the most common problems that is faced by a lot of people, what is important is to find mutually acceptable solutions that meet the standards of both the parties in dispute. In the process, miscommunication may arise as it is not easy for two parties to easily agree on a common ground, and this delays the process of resolution.

This is where mediators play an important role, as they take up the role of an impartial third party. The job of the mediator is to help both the party understand each other, wherein both parties should try working on a workable solution taking into consideration the situation and interest of the respective parties.

Although there might be a case, where the dispute has escalated to a point where the court appears to be the only best solution to resolve the issue. But it is strongly advised that the parties should go through a mediation process first so as to eliminate the misunderstanding and gain clarity on the issue at hand, and then after the parties can decide on the method, they want to use to resolve the issue.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth (MCCY) in Singapore, it is believed by them that tribunal should be used only as a “last resort,” even if there are cases which is more appropriate for the court to handle, the opinions on this matter was very varied because some believed that even though mediation would be useful in bringing disputing parties but at the same time mandating the process may have a negative impact as it might undermine the essence of the process that is used to punish the neighbours.

The main reason that arbitration and mediation are seen as adversaries is that there is a palpable fear that arbitration will lose its status as the most preferred form of alternative dispute resolution: the difficulty of enforcing mediated settlement agreements has long been a major disadvantage of mediation.

Published in: Modern Diplomacy

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