Guardianship & Custody
(HKLRC Consultation Paper)
This consultation paper published in 1998 recommended changes in the substantive law of guardianship and custody, non-adversarial dispute resolution processes, and the law on child abduction.
In relation to guardianship and custody, the paper proposed that there should be a statutory checklist of factors to assist the judge in determining custody disputes, and that the child's best interests should be the paramount consideration. It is proposed that the existing custody order (which typically awards custody to one parent and only access for the other) should be abolished and be replaced by "residence", "contact", "specific issue" and "prohibited steps" orders, which will focus more on practical arrangements for the child. Also, in order to comply with the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is proposed that the child's views should be obtained in all guardianship and custody disputes.
In respect of dispute resolution, the sub-committee proposed some improvements to the Family Court system, including priority listing of custody cases and a Case Management Practice Direction by the court to encourage efforts to resolved disputes at an early stage. The sub-committee recommended enhanced family mediation services to encourage parents to enter into an agreed parenting plan themselves without the need to resort to the court for a decision. The aim of these proposals is to promote a more effective and compassionate way of resolving disputes about children which takes more cognisance of their needs and minimises the bitterness and hostility between their parents.
Child abduction is another area of concern in the consultation paper. Here, the sub- committee recommends changes to the civil and criminal law on child abduction, including the introduction of location and recovery orders to assist in tracing and recovering the child before he is removed from Hong Kong.
|Press Release (PDF) (MS Word)|
|Consultation Paper (PDF) (MS Word)|