Hong Kong’s new apology law and its implications for financial institutions

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apology law
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The new Apology Ordinance came into operation in Hong Kong on 1 December 2017. Prior to this ordinance, an apology was admissible as evidence in civil, regulatory and disciplinary proceedings and could have been relied on to determine legal liability, but the potential prejudicial effect might have deterred parties from making apologies to aggrieved claimants. The Apology Ordinance will change this position by making evidence of an apology inadmissible for determining fault or liability in civil, regulatory and disciplinary proceedings. The ordinance aims to encourage the making of apologies to prevent the escalation of disputes and facilitating their amicable resolution.

The Apology Ordinance applies to an apology made on or after 1 December 2017. This is regardless of whether the apology relates to a matter which arose before, on or after that date.

Definition. The Apology Ordinance defines “apology” made by a person as an expression of regret, sympathy or benevolence in connection with the matter. The expression may be oral, written or by conduct. The “apology” also includes any part of the expression that is an express or implied admission of fault or liability or a statement of fact.

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Business Law Digest is compiled with the assistance of Baker McKenzie. Readers should not act on this information without seeking professional legal advice. You can contact Baker McKenzie by e-mailing Danian Zhang (Shanghai) at danian.zhang@bakermckenzie.com

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