The call for alternative options of resolving at times bitter and long-running matrimonial disputes has led to the development in Hong Kong of mediation and, more recently, collaborative practice.
Mediation is a process of assisted negotiation with the ultimate aim of achieving a lasting settlement of disputes. In the matrimonial context, mediation can look to issues relating to children, or financial matters, or both. Mediators are trained to engage the parties in common and individual interests, and move away from positions. Mediation can take place before or during litigation and be conducted with or without solicitors being present. The value placed on mediation as a primary ADR technique has led to the enactment at the beginning of 2013 of the Mediation Ordinance, providing statutory recognition of the confidential nature of the mediation process.
Collaborative practice originated in the US, and has become an internationally recognised valuable process of dispute resolution. A unique aspect of collaborative practice is that it involves the parties and their lawyers agreeing in writing that they will work together towards a resolution of all issues.