Article published – ADR reform: one size does not fit all

On 6 March, the Civil Justice Council held a workshop to discuss the recommendations made in its interim report on ADR, which was subject to consultation late last year. The interim report addresses concerns regarding a perceived underuse of ADR within some sections of the civil justice system and suggests a variety of possible corrective measures. The proposals include a power for the court to determine whether costs sanctions should be imposed for unreasonable conduct relating to ADR (such as an unreasonable refusal to mediate) not only at the end of a case, as currently, but during the matter when the decisions regarding ADR are taken.

Jan O’Neill has published a post on Practical Law’s Dispute Resolution blog in which she questions how realistic the suggestion of “midstream” assessment of parties’ conduct relating to ADR would be in practice. She suggests that many of the concerns expressed in the report as to the underuse of ADR are not relevant to many larger, complex claims, and urges the working group to tailor any final recommendations to the specific courts or dispute types for which the evidence suggests they are needed and practicable.

Click here to read the post (or here for the Practical Law Dispute Resolution blog homepage).

 

 

Apology legislation passed in Hong Kong – what does it mean for you

On 13 July, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council passed a law (the Apology Law) intended to facilitate the resolution of civil disputes in the territory. The Apology Law, which is expected to be gazetted and come into force shortly, reforms the legal consequences of making any sort of apology (written, oral or by conduct). An apology will not constitute an admission of fault or liability (even if it includes such an admission), nor may it be admissible in evidence to the detriment of the apology maker. This is the case unless the maker of the apology wishes it to be admitted or it falls to be admitted in the usual way through discovery, oral evidence or any equivalent tribunal processes.

Hong Kong is the first jurisdiction in Asia to enact apology legislation and its Apology Law is the broadest enacted to date worldwide. The driver behind it is that apologies may in some circumstances 'unlock' disputes and lead to settlement without recourse to formal legal action. Since parties (and their lawyers and insurers) may be reluctant to do anything that may be construed as an admission of liability, apologies have to date been sparse. The Apology Law seeks to incentivise disputing parties to make apologies, whether in the direct aftermath of an accident or dispute, or further down the line, should the dispute escalate.

The law has far-reaching consequences for anyone involved in contentious civil disputes, whether before the courts or tribunals in Hong Kong. The Apology Law has the scope substantially to change the way insurance, evidence and settlement are approached in civil proceedings and regulatory and disciplinary matters. The scope for ‘tactical’ apologies by counterparties should be borne in mind as set out below.

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Global Pound Conference Hong Kong – a mandate for change

Hong Kong's status as a leading international dispute resolution hub is well-known. It enjoys a strong, independent judiciary as well as world class international arbitration services. Mediation and other forms of ADR are heavily supported by a myriad of institutions. Although not a compulsory requirement, mediation in the context of civil litigation tends to be interpreted by commercial parties as a mandatory step. Against this backdrop, delegates voted at the recent Global Pound Conference Hong Kong, which saw over 200 delegates from across Hong Kong's disputes market congregate to discuss their approach to commercial dispute resolution. Hong Kong's Secretary for Justice, Chief Justice and Solicitor General headlined the conference.

Click here for our ebulletin on the Hong Kong results, and here for an article on technology in dispute resolution, featuring partner May Tai.

Click here to download our synopsis and infographics on the Hong Kong data as featured on our ADR hub.

Click here to download the aggregated results from the first 18 Global Pound Conference events, which have taken place in 12 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. This includes the very first analysis of the overall trends set to shape the future of dispute resolution globally.

The above provide insights for all stakeholders  – commercial parties, lawyers, experts, judges, arbitrators, mediators and government – on the areas of focus for Hong Kong as it seeks to maintain  – and expand – its position as a leading dispute resolution centre.

ADR in Asia Pacific: Spotlight on Indonesia

The third edition of our ADR in Asia Pacific Guide spotlights alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Indonesia. 

We summarise the state of play in relation to ADR in Indonesia and its interplay with adversarial processes like litigation and arbitration. We delve into the detail of the Supreme Court's new mediation regulation and decree and analyse how these hope to improve rates of settlement. We then look at some practical aspects of mediation and dispute resolution from a lawyer's perspective, highlighting the often novel way in which mediation is deployed in Indonesia. Finally, we summarise the ground-breaking Global Pound Conference (GPC) series which looks at all dispute resolution processes and how these can be improved for commercial parties. Herbert Smith Freehills is proud to be global founding sponsor of GPC.

To download your copy, please click here

 

Hong Kong’s Global Pound Conference featured in Asian Dispute Review

Asian Dispute Review, sponsored by the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators and the Hong Kong Mediation Council, has published an article on the Global Pound Conference Series, and what to expect from the Hong Kong event.

The one day Global Pound Conference is coming to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 23 February and promises to be one of the major dispute resolution conferences of 2017. Delegates from across Hong Kong's dispute market will vote via GPC's voting app, and participate in real time debates by world class speakers.

The full programme is here. Register here before 21 January and benefit from the early bird rate of USD 150.

Herbert Smith Freehills is proud to be a founding sponsor of the Global Pound Conference Series and lead organiser of the Hong Kong event.

ADR in Asia Pacific – Part 3

Further to our earlier posts (here and here) highlighting material from our recently updated Guide to Dispute Resolution in Asia Pacific, we now feature in part 3 the responses from New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam to the question whether parties to litigation or arbitration are required to consider or submit to ADR procedures before or during proceedings.

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Guide to Dispute Resolution in Africa: 2nd edition

Herbert Smith Freehills has published an updated second edition of our Guide to Dispute Resolution in Africa, a publication summarising the key dispute resolution procedures and trends in each of Africa's 54 diverse jurisdictions.

Since its publication in 2013, the first edition of the Guide has proved to be an invaluable resource not just for those facing disputes in Africa but for anyone who is considering investing in unfamiliar territory and would like to understand better the legal landscape of that country.  Whether you want to know the basics of a country's legal system, details on litigation and arbitration procedures, whether ADR is embraced, or what the applicable limitation periods or privilege rules are, this publication should be a first port of call.

Please click here to download the full Guide or here to access the chapter for a specific jurisdiction. 

To request a hard copy of the Guide, please email Africa Disputes.

Updated Jackson ADR Handbook published

A new (second) edition of the Jackson ADR Handbook was published on 8 September 2016.

The original edition of the Handbook (see our bulletin here) was published in 2013 as one of the suite of measures recommended by Lord Justice Jackson in his 2010 Review of Civil Litigation Costs.  That Review endorsed a "serious campaign" to ensure that lawyers, judges and the public were alerted to the benefits of ADR in resolving disputes, and recommended that an authoritative handbook be prepared to provide practical and concise guidance on all aspects of ADR, and in particular the use of ADR in relation to civil claims in England and Wales.

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ADR in Asia Pacific – Part 2

Further to our earlier post highlighting material from our recently updated Guide to Dispute Resolution in Asia Pacific, we now feature in part 2 the responses from Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia and Myanmar to the question whether parties to litigation or arbitration in that jurisdiction are required to consider or submit to ADR procedures before or during proceedings. 

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Singapore publishes draft Mediation Bill

The Singapore Ministry of Law is seeking public feedback on a draft Mediation Bill. The Bill will give effect to one of the key recommendations of the International Commercial Mediation Working Group (ICMWG) in 2013, being the enactment of a Mediation Act (Act) to strengthen the framework for mediation in Singapore.

The other three recommendations of the ICMWG have already been implemented. As previously reported here, the Singapore International Mediation Centre and the Singapore International Mediation Institute were both launched on 5 November 2014. Withholding tax exemptions for non-resident mediators have been available since 1 April 2015. Click here to read more on our Asia Disputes blog.