The Hong Kong Family Law Association held the 32nd Annual General Meeting on 7 November 2018 at the Hong Kong Club

The Chairman’s Report can be seen here.

HKFLA photo

HKFLA Committee

HKFLA Committee 2

The Honourable Justice Johnson Law Man Hon, VP delivered a rousing paper focused upon the development of the family law justice system in Hong Kong. He considers that soul searching questions are required of relevant professional and stakeholders which should not be confined to the redevelopment of the family law court and its relocation to new premises in Causeway Bay. Judicial investigation has been conducted to examine foreign law systems to assist in local understanding of how the family law system in Hong Kong can meet family demands.

Mr Justice Lam,  called for lawyers and judges alike to focus less on the legal issues but rather to apply their minds to focus on the rebalancing of the family. That a holistic approach is required to deliver balanced family justice within a reasonable time and at proportionate cost.

He lamented the low Judge to cause ratio resulting is exceptionally high case loads for judges in Hong Kong providing a pressing need to address procedural and systemic failings within the system perhaps by the introduction of Masters within the Family Court. Other options were to improve the synergy between the litigation process and the mediation process which often runs parallel. Improvements in the quality of mediation and recourse to counselling will all improve the understanding of the parties and provide them their own opportunities  to create long lasting solutions to their own individual circumstance.

The HKFLA sincerely thanks Mr Justice Lam for his time and we are sure the members of our association and the wider professions will have cause to continue to debate and look to provide solutions to our families here in Hong Kong.

The Hon Mr Justice Lam was born in Hong Kong in 1961. He obtained an LL.B. and P.C.LL. from the University of Hong Kong in 1983 and 1984 respectively. He was called to the Bar in Hong Kong in 1984 and was in private practice since 1985 until he joined the Judiciary as District Judge in 2001. He was appointed as Judge of the Court of First Instance of the High Court in 2003 and Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of the High Court in 2012. He was appointed Vice President of the Court of Appeal of the High Court in September 2, 2013. He is currently the Vice-President of the Court of Appeal of the High Court, Chairman of the Judiciary’s Working Party on Mediation as well as the Member of the Steering Committee on Mediation and the Accreditation Sub-committee set up by the Secretary for Justice.*

*Source – Judiciary website

Posted in HKFLA Events

Upcoming event: Parental Assessments by The Jadis Blurton Family Development Center

All members and guests are enthusiastically invited to a talk by Dr. Jadis Blurton, Dr. Kristie Craigen and Dr. Alison Cook on Parental Assessments on Tuesday 9 October 2018.

About Dr. Jadis Blurton
Dr. Blurton is one of the foremost experts in her field, with over 30 years of experience in educational psychology and child development. Jadis received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of California, Riverside, and is licensed as a Clinical Psychologist in the U.S. Prior to coming to Hong Kong in 1996, Jadis taught at the University of California and California State University for several years, as well as practicing clinically and directing a children’s diagnostic clinic in West Virginia. In her time since founding the Family Development Center she has also become the Head of School of The Harbour School, where she furthers her educational vision. She is herself mother to six children.

About Dr. Kristie Craigen
Dr. Craigen is a clinical psychologist and psychometric testing specialist with over 10 years assessment experience in both clinical and organizational contexts. She received her under graduate degree in Psychology from Wollongong University, Australia and began her testing career with executive search and development firms. She subsequently received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology, and a Clinical Doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from Alliant International University (California School of Professional Psychology). Dr. Craigen is also the mother of two children.
 

About Dr. Alison Cook
Dr. Cook has specialized in the psychometric testing of children and families for the last 10 years. She received her medical degree from London University and worked as both a GP and a Community Health Doctor to support children with medical needs in mainstream schools. Through training with the British Psychological Society, she expanded her field to assess and find support children experiencing academic, social or behavioral difficulties. Her assessment work also includes families undergoing divorce in the context of Family Court proceedings, making recommendations on how best to support the children moving forwards. For 10 years Alison has been elected an executive officer of the Psychotherapy Society of Hong Kong and she currently serves as Honorary Vice-President.

For more information and to RSVP, please view and fill out the event flyer.

Posted in HKFLA Events

Upcoming event: Crossing the Payne barrier; is there a price to pay for international families? by Frances Judd QC

All members and guests are enthusiastically invited to a talk by Frances Judd QC on “Crossing the Payne barrier; is there a price to pay for international families?” to be held at the China Club on 20th September 2018 at 6:30pm.

About Frances Judd QC

Frances was called to the Bar in 1984. She took silk in 2006 and was appointed a Recorder in 2002 and a Deputy High Court Judge in 2011. She was Head of Harcourt Chambers from 2009 to March 2018 and became the Chair of the Family Law Bar Association of England and Wales in 2018. She has a strong practice in private law children’s cases involving relocation, abduction, surrogacy and adoption, as well extensive experience of public law child protection cases.  She is an arbitrator (CIArb) and an accredited mediator.

She is a co-author of several books on children’s law, including ‘Relocation: A Practical Guide’ published by Jordan’s in 2013 and 2016, and is recommended in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.

For more information and to RSVP, please view and fill out the event flyer.

Posted in HKFLA Events

Presentation by Michael Vidler and Tim Parker

On 12 June 2018, the HKFLA invited Michael Vidler and Tim Parker to discuss QT and what it means for family law. The presentation was held at The Hong Kong Club, 1 Jackson Road, Central, Hong Kong.

Michael Vidler is solicitor for the applicant in ‘QT’, the recent landmark CFA appeal on LGBT discrimination in visa applications. Michael was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in 1990 and the High Court of Hong Kong in 1992. he established Vidler & Co., Solicitors in 2003, specializing in criminal and civil rights law, and acted for the applicant in W v The Registrar of Marriages (the transsexual marriage case).

Tim Parker is counsel for the applicant in ‘QT’. Tim is a member of Blackstone Chambers in London, and Denis Chang’s Chambers in Hong Kong. Tim was admitted to the Hong Kong Bar in 2009, and called to the Bar of England & Wales in 2017. Tim’s practice spans public international law, constitutional and administrative law, competition and civil / commercial matters. Tim has appeared in a number of landmark public law cases ad regularly appears in judicial review matters involving human rights and civil liberties issues.

Posted in HKFLA Events

Seminar by William Longrigg on aspects of spousal maintenance – an English and International perspective

The HKFLA welcomed William Longrigg, former head of the family sector at Charles Russell Speechlys, to discuss aspects of spousal maintenance from an English and International perspective. The talk was held on Wednesday 23 May 2018 at The Hong Kong Club, 1 Jackson Road, Central, Hong Kong.

William Longrigg specialises in divorce, financial relief (to include pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreeents) and private law children matters. He also lectures on a range of family law issues including trusts and matrimonial breakdown and is a joint author with Sarah Higgins of Family Breakdown and Trusts for Butterworths. He has wide experience of cases with an international element and is Immediate Past President of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. William was named 2014 International Family Lawyer of the Year at the prestigious Jordans Family Law Awards and Family Lawyer of the Year 2016 at the Spears Wealth awards.

William is ranked as a “leading individual” by Chambers & Partners and listed in the Honours List of Leading Lawyers in the Family & Matrimonial category of the Citywealth Leaders List 2013. He was ranked in the top 10 London Family Law solicitors by Spears Wealth Magazine in 2015 and 2017.

Posted in HKFLA Events

Presentation by the Honourable John Pascoe AO CVO, the Honourable Justice Victoria Bennett AO and Anne Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon)

On 17 April 2018, the HKFLA invited the Honourable John Pascoe AO CVO, the Honourable Justice Victoria Bennett AO and Anne Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon) to talk about the change of the face of international child abduction. The talk was held at The China Club, 13-15/F Old Bank of China Building, Central, Hong Kong.

The Honourable John Pascoe AO, CVO was appointed Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia in October 2017. Prior to his appointment, he was the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia for 13 years. His service to the law and the judiciary was recognised by his appointment as a Companion of the Order of Australia in January 2016. Chief Justice Pascoe is the Australian representative to the Hague Conference on Private International Law Experts’ Group on Parentage.

The Honourable Justice Victoria Bennett AO, was appointed to the Family Court of Australia in Melbourne in November 2005. She is the longest serving judge in the Melbourne Registry. Her Honour is designated as a judge of the International Hague Judicial Network for Australia. She is recognised as an international expert on the application of the 1980 Abduction Convention and the 1996 Child Protection Convention.

Anne Marie Hutchinson OBE, QC (Hon) is a Partner in Dawson Cornwell where she heads the Children Department. Anne is highly sought after as a specialist in jurisdictional disputes on divorce, particularly international custody disputes, child abduction (Hague and non-Hague), relocations, and children’s law private and public.

Posted in HKFLA Events

HKFLA Presentation by Ms. Iris Liu of ISS-HK on 6 March 2018

On 6 March 2018, the HKFLA invited Ms. Iris Liu, Director of the Programme Cross-boundary and Inter-country Social Service, to talk about Cross-Border Child Custody Evaluation and Family Mediation.

Ms. Liu provided information on the International Social Service Hong Kong (“ISS-HK”) including its history and structure, and its services such as International Social Investigation Reports, international family mediation, child placement services, and tracing services.

Iris Liu

Iris Liu, center, during her presentation

ISS-HK was first established in Hong Kong in 1958 and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.  Its primary focus and concern of ISS-HK is the welfare of children.  Where children matters such as custody and access, removal, guardianship for mentally incapacitated persons or suspected child abuse are involved in Hong Kong, the Mainland or Macau SAR, a case may be referred to the ISS-HK for involvement.

Cases may be referred to ISS-HK by the Hong Kong Courts, law firms or other NGO.  If required, the ISS-HK can also refer cases to other branches of ISS, or affiliated Bureaus and Correspondents covering 120 countries around the world in order to make the most suitable assessments, evaluations, or arrangements for a case.

Through sample cases shared by Ms. Liu, the audience gained understanding of the services and benefits of ISS-HK, the challenges faced, and the assessments and reports conducted and prepared.  In preparation of the report, a variety of activities will be conducted such as home and school visits, document checking, interviews, observations and communication, photo taking and checking facilities and environment.  Understanding the services of ISS-HK is helpful for the Hong Kong matrimonial practice, where welfare of children is the paramount concern and we often turn to social investigation reports for an initial understanding of a child’s situation.

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