Apologies in Health Care Disputes and Risk Management.

Conflicts and disputes are unavoidable in the healthcare sector. Apart from compensation in various forms, patients/relatives may want to have a chance to vent their grievances, receive explanations, assurances and a simple apology. Overseas experience has demonstrated the benefits of sincere apologies. From the perspective of risk management, if an aplogy is given at an early stage, it can promote early resolution of a dispute and result in significant savings. However, apologies may be interpreted as admission of guilt. It will be “safer” if there is a law which specifies that an apology does not constitute an express or implied admission of fault or liability by the person in connection with that matter. Experience from overseas indicates that such legislation is particularly useful in healthcare-related disputes. The Department of Justice in Hong Kong is actively studying whether an Apology Ordinance should be enacted, which may be the first in Asia.


Journal of Management Systems, Vol. 25, No. 4 (2015), P. 53-68.

LLB (Hons) Lond, MB,BS (HK), FCSHK, FHKAM (Surgery). Hon. Clin. Assist. Prof., Medical Faculty, Hong Kong U, the first Adj. Assist. Prof. in mediation course, Chinese U of HK. Invited Mediation Judge, International ADR Mooting Competition. Mediation Course Coordinator, Hong Kong Academy of Medicine. Founder, JC Professional Mediation Practice. Assessor, Lead Trainer & Coach, HK Mediation Accred. Assoc. Ltd. Co-author 'Mediation in HK: Law & Practice' (2014), author of 6 book chapters and many articles on medico-legal, apologies & mediation. Speaker/moderator in over 70 talks/seminars on these subjects.

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