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THE LAW REFORM COMMISSION OF HONG KONG - page 343 / 360

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15.108If there are disputes between parents on both financial and children’s issues, then there should be a joint counselling conference dealing with such issues together.  We recommend that the conferences could be run by mediators or counsellors, and should be publicly funded. (Paragraph 12.81)

Support Services Co-ordinator

15.109We recommend that the post of a Co-ordinator be created whose duty would be to facilitate the proper functioning of the services that will support the Family Court dispute resolution system.  We prefer the term “Support Services Co-ordinator” (SSC) to that of “Conciliation Co-ordinator” used in the report of the Task Group on a Family Court to avoid confusion with reconciliation.  Also, the SSC’s task would extend beyond mediation to counselling conferences and referral of parties to counselling outside the court. (Paragraph 12.85)

Social Welfare Officers and mediation

15.110The role of the social welfare officer as investigator or expert to the court is separate from a counselling or mediation role.  We recommend that the Social Welfare Department establish appropriate guidelines to separate these functions.  (paragraph 12.105).  We recommend, by a majority of members, that a court mediation service should be established, staffed by professionally qualified mediators separate from the social welfare officers who carry out the service of executing social investigations and reports for the courts. (Paragraph 12.94)

Other professions

15.111Other professionals involved in counselling or therapy, whether working in governmental or non-governmental agencies or privately, should adopt similar guidelines.  We also recommend that other bodies such as the Law Society and the Bar Association should draw up appropriate guidelines to ensure the separation of roles of lawyers as lawyers, from lawyers acting as mediators. (Paragraph 12.96)

15.112We recommend that family mediators have access to facilities to obtain an expert’s report, with the parties’ consent, to assist in difficult cases concerning disputes over children. (Paragraph 12.97)

Working Party

15.113The sub-committee decided to recommend that a Working Party be established to plan and implement a pilot project for court annexed family mediation. (Paragraph 12.99)

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