Mediate First – Harmony from now to beyond

The Mediation Week 2022 organised by the Department of Justice (DoJ) will be held in the first week of May (from May 2 to 6). It features the Mediation Conference 2022 and a series of thematic events to promote the use of mediation in resolving a multitude of disputes in an effective and amicable manner.

The theme of this year’s Mediation Week is “Mediate First – Harmony from Now to Beyond”. The events will showcase how mediation can preserve harmony in dispute resolution in different sectors both locally and internationally, and its potentials in resolving disputes in novel developments such as virtual reality.

To kick off the Mediation Week, we have a group of young aspiring mediators who will display their mediation skills under the Secondary School Peer Mediation Competition. I believe that the culture of mediation should be nurtured amongst students in order to let them appreciate the importance and the usefulness of mediation skills as life skills. Mastering the skills of resolving conflicts cordially is also vital to maintain their personal relationships and ultimately contribute to the building of a harmonious community.

On a more local level, there are thematic events exploring how mediation can be applicable in family disputes, as well as in the school and medical setting. There will also be a seminar on the new Integrated Mediation Office (West Kowloon) of the Judiciary with a sharing session on mediation in Small Claims Tribunal cases.

On an international level, the UNCITRAL Working Group III on ISDS Reform - Forum for Further Preparatory Work on Investment Mediation will explore specific key issues relating to the proposed model clauses and guidelines on investment mediation.

The Mediation Conference 2022, being the highlight of the Mediation Week and a celebration event of the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the HKSAR, will be held on May 6. We are honoured to have invited prominent international and local experts and practitioners to share their insights on the recent developments of mediation. The Conference will cover topics including exploring the possibility of a reciprocal recognition and enforcement mechanism for family mediated settlement agreements in the Greater Bay Area in light of the mechanism under the new Mainland Judgments in Matrimonial and Family Cases (Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement) Ordinance. Panelists will explore how and why mediation may be the better way to resolve COVID-19 related disputes. Last but not least, we will also take a glance at the “metaverse”, which has been the talk of the town these few years, by illustrating the possible legal issues behind, what may cause disputes to arise and how mediation may be the most suited means for resolving such disputes.

As an amicable and cost-effective means to effectively resolve conflicts, mediation is one of the common modes of alternative dispute resolution. It is conducive to the promotion of the rule of law through the provision of efficient and effective dispute resolution mechanisms. We will continue to roll out other programmes to promote the rule of law, including the Rule of Law Enlightenment programme under the Vision 2030 for Rule of Law initiative. I am pleased to announce that a very special guest will join us at the award presentation ceremony of the “Key to the Future” Short Video Competition for secondary school students on May 7. Please follow our dedicated webpage and stay tuned!

April 30, 2022