Many jurisdictions provide specific mechanisms for handling litigation involving a large number of parties. The need for such a mechanism most typically arises where a large number of persons have been adversely affected by another's conduct, but each individual's loss is insufficient to make undertaking individual litigation economically viable.
Some jurisdictions have adopted a procedure known as a "class action", which enables the claims of a number of persons against the same defendant to be determined in a single suit. In a class action, a representative plaintiff' sues on his own behalf and on behalf of the other persons ("the class") who have a claim to a remedy for the same or a similar alleged wrong to that alleged by the representative plaintiff, and who have claims that share questions of law or fact in common with those of the representative plaintiff.
Under the current law in Hong Kong, the sole machinery for dealing with multi-party proceedings in Hong Kong is a rule on representative proceedings under the Rules of the High Court which was criticised as restrictive and inadequate by the Chief Justice's Working Party on Civil Justice Reform recommended in its Final Report in 2004.
A Commission sub-committee was established, under the chairmanship of Mr Anthony Neoh SC, to consider whether a scheme for multi-party litigation should be adopted in Hong Kong and, if so, to devise a suitable scheme. A report containing the proposals for reform was published on 28 May 2012.
The Sub-committee's Secretary is Byron Leung, Senior Government Counsel.
If you wish to have further information on this project, please write to the Secretary of the Law Reform Commission by fax, post or email.
The Commission's offices are at:
20/F Harcourt House
39 Gloucester Road
Tel: (852) 2528 0472
Fax: (852) 2865 2902