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Mediation Bill to be gazetted

November 16, 2011
The Mediation Bill, which seeks to establish a proper legislative framework for conducting mediation without hampering the flexibility of the mediation process and to assist in the promotion of the more extensive and effective use of mediation in Hong Kong, will be gazetted on November 18 and tabled at the Legislative Council on November 30.
The Department of Justice said mediation is a structured process in which a mediator, without adjudicating a dispute, assists the parties to the dispute to identify the issue in dispute, explore options and communicate with one another with a view to reaching a resolution.
The bill is necessary to provide legal certainty regarding confidentiality of mediation communications and admissibility of mediation communications in evidence.
Mediation communication is confidential and must not be disclosed except under specified circumstances. They may be disclosed, for example, with the consent of all parties and the mediator or where there are reasonable grounds to believe the disclosure is necessary to prevent danger of injury to a person or of serious harm to the well being of a child.
In the absence of the exceptional circumstances set out in the bill, a person who seeks to disclose mediation communications can do so only for certain justifiable purposes with the leave of a specific court or tribunal.
A person must also apply for leave of the court or tribunal in order to adduce mediation communications in any proceedings. The bill sets out matters the court or tribunal must take into account in granting leave for a mediation communication to be disclosed or admitted in evidence.
The bill also seeks to standardise the terminology and Chinese renditions for “mediation” and “conciliation” used in existing ordinances.

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