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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is mediation?
2. What are the benefits of mediation?
3. Why is there the Joint Mediation Helpline Office?
4. What does the Joint Mediation Helpline Office offer?
5. Why should I try mediation?
6. How do may mediators help me resolve disputes?
7. How should I choose a mediator?
8. What are the costs of mediation?
9. Are services at the Joint Mediation Helpline free?
10. How can I start using mediation?
1. What is mediation?
It is an effective way of resolving disputes without the need to go through the court process.
It is a flexible process that can be used to settle disputes in a whole range of situations such as:-
1. Consumer disputes;
2. Contract disputes;
3. Housing disputes;
4. Neighborhood disputes.
It is a voluntary process that will only take place if both parties agree.
It is a confidential process where the terms of discussion are not disclosed to any party outside the mediation hearing.
If parties are unable to reach agreement, they can still proceed with court proceedings. The details of what went on in the mediation will not be disclosed or used at a court hearing.
Both parties usually share the cost of mediation.

2. What are the benefits of mediation?
Reduce tensions, conflicts and risks.
Enable cost effectiveness.
Improve capability to deal with everyday disputes.
Provide an amicable and constructive environment in which parties in disputes can reconcile their difference.
Promote an effective way of resolving disputes through co-operative decision making.
Promote communication and mutual understanding between the parties.
Confidential process.
Mediation can commence before any litigation or at any stage during the process of litigation.
Settlement is not imposed but agreed by mutual consent of the parties.
Continued personal and business relationships are maintained after settlement.

3. Why is there the Joint Mediation Helpline Office?
Its objectives are:
To provide assistance on a non-profit making basis to parties seeking to settle disputes by mediation;
To promote and advance mediation as a dispute resolution mechanism and provide mediator referral services to parties to a dispute requesting mediation;
To enhance the knowledge and upgrade skills in dispute resolution in and among professionals, businesses and other users of mediation services, and to promote the effective use of mediation in resolving local and international disputes.

4. What does the Joint Mediation Helpline Office offer?
The JMHO offers a simple, cost effective method of resolving a wide range of civil disputes. The mediation services provided at the JMHO include explaining the basic principles of mediation, answering general enquiries in relation to mediation, and putting users in contact with one of the Participating Service Providers. The scope of services at the JMHO is not for mediation of family, community or building management disputes.

5. Why should I try mediation?
Mediation takes place when:
People want to maintain a relationship with the other side once the dispute is over.
People want to stay in control of the process, rather than handing it over to the judge.
People worry about the costs of going to court or the delay in waiting for a trial.
People want the dispute and settlement to be confidential.
Where there may be outcomes that can be agreed which a judge cannot award.
When people want to look for a settlement, rather than taking the risk of a judge finding against them. Also, Mediation:
is confidential;
is unbiased;
is voluntary;
encourages disputes to be settled as soon as possible;
puts you in control;
is less stressful than going to court;
could cost you less than going to court;
could resolve your dispute quicker than going to court;
is less formal than a trial by judge.

6. How do may mediators help me resolve disputes?
  The functions of mediators are:
Creating favourable conditions for the parties' decision-making;
Assisting the parties to communicate;
Facilitating the parties' negotiations.

7. How should I choose a mediator?
 
Choice of Mediator
The term "choice of mediator" implies a process of deliberation and decision-making. No formal mechanism for objecting to the appointment of particular mediators exists, In practice the parties to mediation could request to withdraw the appointment of mediator for reasons of conflict of interest. If the parties wish to appoint a mediator though certain mediation programs or schemes, administrators generally assign mediators without parties’ involvement. The following are useful factors of consideration for selecting a mediator:
Personal Attributes;
Mediation qualifications, experiences and backgrounds;
The mediator's training;
The mediator's professional background;
The mediator's certification and its value;
The mediation model offered, and whether it suits the case;
Any conflict of interest the mediator may have;
The mediator's willingness to allow and possibly encourage, mediation participants to seek creative solutions;
The mediator's fee.

8. What are the costs of mediation?
As the JMHO is a non-profit-making organization formed with a view to promoting the use of mediation as a means of dispute resolution in Hong Kong, mediators who offer their services through the JMHO are prepared to charge at rates below their usual rates or the prevailing market rates. The fee schedule is a guideline to provide certainty to parties. The rates of fee set out in this schedule are subject to otherwise agreement between the parties and the mediator. Parties and the mediator are free to depart from the schedule by consent/agreement.
The costs of mediation comprise the appointment fee, the fee charged by the mediator and other expenses including venue fee. This Schedule only deals with the appointment fee and the mediator fee. The details are set out as below:-
  1. Fee for appointment of mediator – agreed and to be charged by the Participating Service Provider HKD2,000 per case (HKD1,000 per party)
  2. Mediator Fee – The amount of mediator fee is accordance with the amount in dispute of a case
    Amount in Dispute FEE
    Preparation works* and
    pre-mediation session(s)
    (up to 4 hours)
    Mediation Session(s)
    Up to HKD1,000,000 HKD5,000
    (HKD2,500 per party)
    HKD2,000 per hour
    (HKD1,000 per hour per party)
    From HKD 1,000,001
    to HKD5,000,000
    HKD6,000
    (HKD3,000 per party)
    HKD3,000 per hour
    (HKD1,500 per hour per party)
    Over HKD5,000,000 HK10,000
    (HKD5,000 per party)
    HKD4,000 per hour/ to be
    agreed with the mediator
    * Preparation work includes administration, perusing relevant documents, travelling time and all correspondences.

#Mediation Venue is to be arranged by the parties/ mediator. The fee is subject to the venue to be rented.

(If the appointed mediator does not follow the above fee schedule, he/she shall conclude the agreement with parties in writing on his/her proposed fee. And the mediator shall inform JMHO before the mediation starts.)

Notes:

  1. Unless the parties agree otherwise, the appointment fee (if any) and the mediator fee shall be shared equally between the parties and the parties shall be jointly and severally responsible for the payment of fees to the Participating Service Provider / Mediator.
  2. The above fees are based on single plaintiff-defendant disputes (i.e. bi-parties disputes). If there is more than one plaintiff or more than one defendant (i.e. multiple parties disputes), the mediation session may take a longer time and the Participating Service Provider or the Mediator appointed may discuss this matter with the parties when arranging the mediation.
  3. For the purpose of calculating the amount in dispute and, hence, the mediation fees payable, the amount of claim and counterclaim are added together to make the aggregate amount of dispute.
  4. The Mediator shall pay the JMHO an administrative fee of HKD500 for each case referred resulting in mediation. The Participating Service Provider to which the mediator belongs shall assist in arranging for the payment by the Mediator.
  5. The parties shall, where possible, arrange to provide a suitable venue for the mediation. If there shall be venue costs, the costs are to be paid by the parties, to be shared equally unless otherwise agreed by the parties.
  6. The Participating Service Provider reserves the right to invoice the parties for any additional amount in dispute in accordance with this Schedule, where the amount in dispute has changed prior to the mediation.


9. Are services at the Joint Mediation Helpline free?
The JMHO does not charge the parties for the services offered. Instead, the JMHO charges the Mediator an administrative fee of HK$500 per case of mediation.

10. How can I start using the mediation services of JMHO?
Parties who want to use the mediation services of the JMHO may fill in the “Request for mediation” form and submit it to the JMHO. The JMHO will review the application for compliance checking.
For cases within the scope of services of the JMHO, the JMHO will refer the case to the designated Participating Service Provider("PSP"), once all parties to a dispute have agreed to resolve the matter by mediation at the JMHO.
The PSP will then contact the parties for assisting them to select a mediator. Where parties cannot reach an agreement on the choice of mediator, the PSP will nominate/appoint a Mediator for the parties.
Once the Mediator is appointed and/or agreed, he/she will commence and conduct the mediation, as soon as possible after the appointment.

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