popular in the United States.
Private law and public law
6.This reference is confined to the private law aspects of guardianship and custody. Public law will only be dealt with insofar as there is an overlap with the powers of the Director of Social Welfare to intervene in private law disputes. Child care law in the sense of public law is excluded. There are practical reasons for this limitation, as a review of the public law aspects would considerably delay the completion of this reference.
7.There are also policy and conceptual reasons for this choice. The powers of intervention by the state in the lives of a family differ markedly from when a child is the subject of child abuse and needs protection, to when a child is involved in a private law dispute between two parents. It can also confuse the issues, as only a minority of the children who are the subject of a private law dispute will also be the subject of care applications by the Director of Social Welfare under the Protection of Children and Juveniles Ordinance (Cap 213).
8.In May 1996 the Law Reform Commission appointed a sub-committee chaired by the Hon Mrs Miriam Lau to consider the terms of reference and to make proposals to the Law Reform Commission for reform. In August 1998 the sub-committee completed their deliberations and now make their proposals on reform available to the public for consultation.
Membership and method of work
9.On 8 June 1996 the sub-committee commenced their consideration of a background paper prepared by the secretariat to assist them in their work. The sub-committee held a total of 34 meetings.
10.The membership of the sub-committee is
Hon Mrs Miriam Lau, JPPartner
ChairpersonAlfred Lau & Co., Solicitors
H H Judge de SouzaJudge
Deputy ChairmanFamily Court
Miss Rosa ChoiAssistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel
Legal Aid Department
Ms Bebe ChuPartner
Stevenson, Wong & Co., Solicitors