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Hong Kong Mediation Regulations To Come Into Effect

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

24 October 2012

Hong Kong’s Department of Justice has disclosed that the new Mediation Ordinance, which was enacted in June this year, has been published in the Government Gazette and will come into operation on January 1, 2013.

The Ordinance provides a regulatory framework for the conduct of mediation without hampering the flexibility of the mediation process. The aim of the Ordinance is to promote, encourage and facilitate the resolution of disputes by mediation, and to protect the confidential nature of mediation communication.

"With mediation becoming increasingly used in many different jurisdictions around the world to resolve disputes other than through litigation in the courts, the Ordinance will enhance Hong Kong's status as a leading centre for dispute resolution in the Asia-Pacific region," a spokesman for the Justice Department said.

Mediation is a structured process in which an impartial mediator, without adjudicating a dispute, assists the parties to identify the issue in dispute, and explore ways in which a resolution can be reached. The Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Limited was incorporated and established in August this year.

Mediation communication is confidential and must not be disclosed except under situations as specified in the Ordinance. The Ordinance provides legal certainty regarding the confidentiality and admissibility of mediation communications in evidence, and standardizes the terminology and Chinese renditions for ‘mediation’ and conciliation’.

It has also been noted that Hong Kong’s government has spared no efforts in promoting the development of other dispute resolution methods rather than litigation. In addition to the Mediation Ordinance, the new Arbitration Ordinance came into effect in June 2011 and Hong Kong has also made continuous efforts to internationalize its arbitration services.

Apart from the existing Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce also has a branch of its Secretariat in Hong Kong.

TAGS: court | business | legal services | law | legislation | Hong Kong | regulation | services

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