I picked up this announcement in the Standard (HK) about the launch of a Mediation Information Office in Hong Kong. There will be no Court mediators and the parties will choose their own mediator. I feel that this is a real improvement on schemes where the court appoints mediators. It would be great to see schemes like this take root in England and Wales. What do you think?
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 Mediation Information 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. [Emphasis added]
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.