SINGAPORE - Resolving differences on your own is a better alternative to going to court.
This should be encouraged even as such solutions - achieved through mediation, for example - are gaining prominence in the court system, said Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong, referring to a set of legal processes known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
"While ADR currently has a prominent role in the court system, it should not ultimately be court-centric," he said.
"A culture of holistic resolution of disputes has to be nurtured within the community and be incorporated into individual daily lives."
Chief Justice Chan was speaking at the first ADR conference in Singapore held at the Supreme Court auditorium yesterday.
The two-day meeting that began yesterday was attended by about 600 people, including members of the judiciary, lawyers, academics, and policymakers from 15 countries - among them, Australia, Brunei, Fiji, the Maldives, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and the United States.
While ADR has gained significant recognition since the 1990s, its use among local legal practitioners and the public has not been "phenomenal", said Chief District Judge Tan Siong Thye in his opening remarks yesterday. In this context, the ADR conference comes at an opportune time, he said.
"Through the forum, we hope to raise awareness of ADR among legal practitioners, the business community and the general public."