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THE LAW REFORM COMMISSION OF HONG KONG - page 339 / 360

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15.86It would be very useful for the Law Reform Commission and for policymakers if statistics were kept, and research conducted, in the Family Court.  We recommend that statistics of the number of custody, access or guardianship cases, including the numbers settled, and when they were settled, should be kept by the Family Court.  This would assist in the planning of policies and their implementation. (Paragraph 12.19)

Availability of judgments and privacy

15.87We recommend that a Practice Direction regulating the release of unreported judgments in disputes concerning children be issued to encourage their increased availability to legal practitioners.  We also recommend that, for the protection of children and their parents, all identifying details, including the names of parties and their children, addresses, schooling, place of employment, and even the names of witnesses, should be deleted (except for the first initial) from all such judgments, whether unreported or reported. (Paragraph 12.30)

Code of Practice for conduct of family cases

15.88It is recommended that a Family Lawyers’ Code of Practice be adopted in Hong Kong.  This may encourage a more conciliatory approach by solicitors.  We recommend that, in principle, there should be two codes, one for the conduct of family cases and the other for conducting cases where children are separately represented. (paragraph 12.34)

Case management and settlement

15.89We recommend that procedures at the Family Court be streamlined and that there be continuous monitoring of the system by effective case management.  We recommend the introduction of a Practice Direction governing case management in the Family Court.  Such a Direction would encourage more effective case management on an ongoing basis, and would encourage the diversion of cases from contested hearings to mediation.  We do not think it is necessary at this juncture to decide the precise terms of such a Direction.  However, the Construction List checklist and its associated Practice Direction form a useful model for the Family List. (paragraph 12.38)  

15.90We recommend that there should be a requirement that a pre-trial checklist be completed at the Summons for Directions stage of any case involving a dispute in relation to children.  Time limits should be imposed for the delivery of any affidavits associated with the case in order to minimise delay.  We also recommend that judges should be given more control to reduce the costs and delay in the system.  Failure to conduct cases economically should result in appropriate orders for costs, including wasted costs orders.  (paragraph 12.39)

Issues and settlement conferences

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