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THE LAW REFORM COMMISSION OF HONG KONG - page 201 / 360

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agreements were more comprehensive, more in favour of shared parenting and more access to the non custodial parent.

Client satisfaction

7.24 Clients were asked about satisfaction with outcome and the process of service delivery.  Most studies reported satisfaction rates of 60%-80%.  Kressel concluded that “these levels of user satisfaction are comparable, and perhaps even higher than those reported for public satisfaction with other types of professional services”.  The rate of satisfaction for legal services in divorce was reported to be 65%.830

Co-parental relations

7.25The findings on whether the relationship between parents improved in the sense of decreased conflict and improved communication are mixed depending on different services, whether court based or not.  The court based clients had few resources and more serious problems.  Benjamin and Irving concluded that “only services that employ a therapeutic model of service, and thus are designed to effect such changes and allot adequate time to do so, are likely to report changes in co-parental relations”.831

Costs

7.26 The research generally supported the claim that a mediated settlement is likely to be less costly.  Pearson and Thoennes found that the average cost of mediation among those who reached agreement was US$ 1630 compared to US$ 2360 for those who went through litigation.832  However, Ogus, Walker and Jones-Lee in England833 and Richardson in Canada,834 found that, while mediation was slightly more costly, it also was more effective in client satisfaction and agreement rates.

Follow-up

7.27 These studies focused on satisfaction, compliance with mediation agreements, post divorce adjustment and re-litigation.  Up to two years later, a substantial proportion of mediation clients remained satisfied with the process and  outcome.  They also made changes to their agreement by mutual consent.  Studies involving follow-up at four months, one year, and two years found that mediation clients were more satisfied with the content of their agreements and thought that mediation was fairer than those who had outcomes from litigation.  The re-litigation rates among mediation clients have been lower than among those who litigated their

830 The Process of Divorce: How Professionals and Couples Negotiate Settlements (1985) at 187.

831 Benjamin and Irving at 62, supra.  It should be noted that Irving’s model is therapeutic mediation.

832 “A Preliminary Portrait of Client Reactions to Three Court Mediation Programs”, Conciliation Courts Review, vol. 23(1), at 1 (1985).

833 Report of the Conciliation Project Unit, The Costs and Effectiveness of Conciliation in England and Wales, (1989).

834 Court-based Divorce Mediation in Four Canadian Cities: An overview of Research Results, (1988).

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