Editor's Note February 2020

We would like to start by extending our warmest wishes to you, our readers, for the Chinese Lunar New Year.

When in a negotiation or a mediation, it is generally important to share in the beginning (and throughout the session as the parties identify) any common ground between the parties (see Practice Skills, April 2018 – “Negotiate to Obtain a Favourable Result”). For example, both sides might be at the negotiation table to avoid going to court and legal fees, or perhaps they might be concerned about their reputation, etc. Subject to their confirmation of the common ground(s), consider listing them on a board or on some paper that is visible to the parties. If at some point the negotiation or mediation turns sour, the parties may want to refer to the common ground(s) to diffuse the situation and to recreate positive feelings. From the Secretariat reminds us of the common grounds that might assist in alleviating the recent “tensions over the political controversies and witnessed scenes of violent confrontations” in Hong Kong.

Next, a study conducted in 2018 revealed that one in three professionals in Hong Kong have experienced mental health problems. Moreover, a local newspaper published in October 2019 a finding that the mental health in Hong Kong was at its worst level in eight years. Additionally, the political tensions and now the coronavirus have obviously worsened the situation. The Letter to Hong Kong Lawyer explains why destigmatising mental health issues is crucial and the Mental Health Feature article discusses the issues in relation to managing the property and affairs of persons with mental incapacity.

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Lead Legal Editor, Hong Kong Lawyer