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Judiciary's Mediation Information Office opens tomorrow

The following is issued on behalf of the Judiciary:

     To promote the wider use of mediation to facilitate early and satisfactory settlement of disputes, the Judiciary issued the Practice Direction 31 on Mediation and in support of its implementation, established a Mediation Information Office (MIO).

     The Practice Direction, applicable to all relevant civil cases in the Court of First Instance of the High Court and the District Court, came into effect on January 1.

     It stipulates the procedure to be followed by the disputing/litigating parties to engage in mediation after commencement of a court action begun by writ.

     The MIO, which will open tomorrow (January 4), aims to provide litigants with information on mediation so as to assist them in considering whether they should attempt mediation in resolving their disputes, and to facilitate them to seek mediation from professional bodies.

     "Its target users are parties who have commenced or are about to commence civil proceedings in the High Court or the District Court, including unrepresented litigants," a spokesman for the Judiciary said today (January 3).

     Manned by properly trained staff, the MIO serves as a focal point of enquiry for all court-related mediation.  

     The spokesman said, "As the Judiciary has to maintain its independent and impartial position, mediation will not be provided by its staff but by accredited mediators outside the Judiciary to be appointed by the parties themselves.

     "Also, staff of the Judiciary will not provide legal advice or offer any comment or assistance on the conduct of specific court cases and proceedings."

     The MIO offers enquiry service and holds information sessions on mediation service free of charge, the spokesman added.    

     Members of the public are welcome to visit the MIO in Room LG104, Lower Ground First Floor of the High Court Building, 38 Queensway, Hong Kong.  Please call 2825 0470 or e-mail for enquiries, and click for more information.  

     The MIO opens from 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm, Mondays to Fridays.  

Ends/Sunday, January 3, 2010
Issued at HKT 10:01


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