On 30 November 2011, the Hong Kong Government introduced the Mediation Bill into the Legislative Council. The introduction of this bill into the legislative Council is an indication of the Governments desire to encourage parties to adopt mediation as a favoured alternative dispute resolution avenue.
The Government aim’s to promote and encourage timely resolution of disputes as well as protecting parties’ communications confidentiality throughout the process.
The mediation bill outlines provisions that allows for communications during mediation to be disclosed in very limited circumstances. In all other instances the bill aims to adequately protect communications, in case the dispute fails to settle. It also clearly defines ‘mediation’ as term.
The practice direction on mediation (PD31) which was enacted on 1 January 2010 does not make mediation compulsory for parties to civil litigation; however a party’s willingness to participate in the process has been looked upon more favourably by the Hong Kong Courts.