The Secretary of Justice has given notice that the new Mediation Ordinance which was enacted in Hong Kong on 22 June 2012 will come into effect on 1 January 2013. The Notice was published on 19 October 2012. The Ordinance expressly protects the confidentiality of any “mediation communication” regardless of whether it is made before, during or after the mediation itself. The Ordinance will apply retrospectively to any mediation conducted in Hong Kong or to mediation agreements which provide that the Mediation Ordinance or Hong Kong law applies. It is expected that the Ordinance will imbue greater confidence in parties in the mediation process and will encourage parties to make better and more frequent use of mediations.

Further, an agreement has been reached to establish the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Limited (HKMAAL) which is due to become the sole accreditation body for mediators and the default appointing body where parties cannot agree on the appointment of a mediator.