In June, the Department of Justice (“DoJ”) released a consultation paper on a proposed arrangement with the Mainland on reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments on matrimonial and related matters (the “Proposed Arrangement”) for public comment.
Currently, a divorce granted by the Mainland court is recognised in Hong Kong. However, maintenance orders and custody orders granted by a Mainland court are not automatically recognised or enforceable in Hong Kong. The same applies to the recognition and enforcement in the Mainland of maintenance orders and custody orders granted by Hong Kong courts.
The DoJ specifically invited the public to comment on the following issues:
(a) the principal types of judgments (including divorce, maintenance and custody orders) to be covered in the Proposed Arrangement;
(b) whether to include the “divorce certificate” obtained through the registration procedure in the Mainland in the Proposed Arrangement;
(c) whether to include orders for property adjustment;
(d) whether to include power of variation of maintenance orders by the courts in the place where the orders are sought to be enforced;
(e) whether other orders should be included in the Proposed Arrangement;
(f) the jurisdictional basis of the parties to an application for reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments;
(g) the level of courts to be covered in the Proposed Arrangement; and
(h) the finality of judgments.
The Council has reviewed the consultation paper with the assistance of the Family Law Committee. The Law Society is of the view that the Proposed Arrangement is necessary and should be implemented as a matter of priority. The Law Society’s detailed comments are available at http://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/pub_e/news/submissions/20160906.pdf.