Editor's Note April 2019

It has been said that on average, a majority of disputes referred to mediation are generally resolved or rather settled subject to having an effective mediator to facilitate such resolution or settlement and also the right mindset of the parties to the dispute. Mediation can be labelled as a cost- effective solution and an effective alternative to litigation or arbitration. When it comes to enforcement of decisions involving cross-border disputes, enforcing a court judgment will depend on inter alia whether there is any reciprocal arrangement between the relevant jurisdictions. Similarly, enforcing an arbitral award will depend on inter alia whether the arbitration was seated in a ‘New York Convention’ Contracting State. Mediation could be seen as a comparatively futile option given that it is almost never possible to enforce any international settlement agreements resulting from mediation (rather, they would usually give rise to fresh or renewed contractual claims). Accordingly, the Mediation feature discusses the birth of the Singapore Convention on Mediation aimed to tackle just that and the resultant opportunities for Hong Kong.

Speaking of reciprocal arrangements, is one needed for Hong Kong court judgments to be enforced in Mainland China and vice versa? Hong Kong is a common law jurisdiction, whereas Mainland China is a civil law jurisdiction (thus the reference to ‘one country, two systems’) which might be the single reason for the signing of the Arrangement on Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters by the Courts of the Mainland and of HKSAR (the “Arrangement”) in January 2019. Consequently, the Civil Procedure feature provides an analysis of the Arrangement.

Making time from a busy schedule for self-care such as going to the gym or for yoga, or for a manicure or pedicure, etc. is good for health. Although you expect to be in your sanctuary, it is not uncommon for sanctuary to be turned into harassment by sales people into purchasing long-term packages with significant advance payments and no out clauses; it makes you wonder why you succumbed to that temptation to treat yourself! The Consumer Law feature explores the Public Consultation Paper on Statutory Cooling-Off Period for Beauty and Fitness Services Consumer Contracts which seeks public views on the introduction of a statutory cooling-off period for consumer contracts relating to beauty and fitness services.

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Lead Legal Editor, Hong Kong Lawyer