Child Custody and Access: Whether to Implement the "Joint Parental Responsibility Model" by Legislative Means

In December 2011, the Labour and Welfare Bureau launched a public consultation exercise on the recommendations put forward by the Law Reform Commission (LRC) in its Report on Child Custody and Access. The main thrust of the Report relates to the introduction into Hong Kong’s family law of a new “parental responsibility model” (the Model), emphasising the continuing responsibilities of both parents towards their children rather than their individual parental rights even after divorce. Underlying the new approach is the principle that the “best interests” of children should guide all proceedings concerning children.

During the consultation period which ended in April 2012, we received some 230 written submissions from individuals and organisations. Having studied the responses and after taking into account other relevant considerations, we agree in principle that the concept should be pursued. However, we are mindful that some respondents have raised concerns on how the Model is to be implemented in practice. We therefore propose to engage stakeholders and interested parties further upon preparation of the legislative proposals and implementation arrangements before embarking on legislation.

For details, please refer to our submission to the Legislative Council Panel on Welfare Services (LC Paper No. CB(2)1483/12-13(02)PDF Format) which was noted and discussed by the Panel at its meeting held on 8 July 2013.

We are grateful to all the respondents to our earlier public consultations for having generously shared their views with us. The responses have been most useful to us.