Karl Bayer came across this interesting recent reform affecting the resolution of disputes in Hong Kong:
Monday, January 04, 2010
Mediation, a process that aims to resolve disputes and keep them out of the courts, takes another step forward today with the Judiciary opening an information office on the practice.The MediationInformation Office has been established under the Judiciary’s Practice Direction 31 on Mediation, which came into operation last Friday.
The practice direction covers relevant civil cases in the Court of First Instance and District Court. It contains the procedure to be followed by disputing or litigating parties to engage in mediation after the commencement of a court action by writ.
The office provides litigants with information to help them consider whether they should attempt mediation to resolve their disputes, and to enable them to seek it from professional bodies.
“The target users are parties who have commenced or are about to commence civil proceedings in the High Court or District Court, including unrepresented litigants,” a spokesman for the Judiciary said yesterday.
The office, which is in the High Court Building in Queensway, will serve as a focal point of inquiries for all court-related mediation.
“As the Judiciary has to maintain its independent and impartial position, mediation will not be provided by its staff but by accredited mediators to be appointed by the parties themselves,” the spokesman said.
Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung is leading a cross-sector working group to promote mediation. A report is to be released for public consultation early this year.