When "Sorry" is the Hardest Word to Say, How Might Apology Legislation Assist?

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Abstract

Apology legislation refers to statutory provisions that remove legal disincentives to offering an apology in the context of civil disputes. The legislation clarifies and, in many cases, alters what would otherwise be the legal consequences of an apology, principally by reforming the law of evidence. A principal aim of apology legislation is to encourage apologies by removing legal disincentives to apologising. Other aims are to promote the settlement and resolution of disputes and to reduce litigation. Apology legislation has been enacted in most US states, each state and territory in Australia, in England and Wales, in most Canadian provinces and territories, and has been considered in Scotland. Apology legislation is currently being considered by the Department of Justice, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. This article identifies a number of matters that need to be considered when introducing apology legislation to assist in the resolution of legal disputes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-517
JournalHong Kong Law Journal
Volume44
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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