Equal Opportunities Commission

Satisfied with District Court panel system

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 October, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 October, 1999, 12:00am

I refer to the report headlined, 'Judges 'in dark on bias' ' (South China Morning Post, September 20).

I must point out categorically that the quote which appeared in the headline could not be attributed to me.

I also wish to say that at no time did I say that the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) could provide in-house training for judges. The EOC does not run in-house courses of any kind.

I was asked for my views relating to the proposal for the setting up of a tribunal to hear discrimination cases. I stated clearly that the EOC has had no difficulty with cases being dealt with by the panel of judges of the District Court. If a tribunal were to be established, then this tribunal should in fact be established within the Judiciary and not under the EOC, and a larger pool of judges familiar with this area of law would then be required.

I understand, however, that the Judiciary is considering running its own familiarisation programme for judges. Furthermore, a bank of legal precedents would need to be established by the courts for reference by any tribunal. The relationship between the District Court and any such tribunal would also need to be considered.

I also mentioned that as this area of law develops, there will be a greater need for the private sector to have more lawyers participating in this area of work, hence the suggestion that the commission can help to develop these talents by seconding private-sector practitioners to the commission to familiarise them with the work of the commission.

Referring to the conciliation process, I have also mentioned that complainants sometimes look for non-monetary settlement terms and requiring the respondent to take an appropriate training course can be considered as an aspect of conciliation.

ANNA WU Chairperson Equal Opportunities Commission The Editor replies: The reporter stands by the accuracy of her interview notes.