Anselmo Reyes and Wilson Lui (BA&LLB 2019)
in Anselmo Reyes and Weixia Gu (eds), Multi-Tier Approaches to the Resolution of International Disputes: A Global and Comparative Study (Cambridge University Press 2021), pp 232–268
Abstract: The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), established in 1996, investigates and seeks to resolve disputes arising in connection with Hong Kong’s anti-discrimination ordinances. Its complaint-handling process involves recourse to conciliation, investigation and litigation. The EOC thus provides a hybrid multi-tier dispute resolution service. If conciliation fails, the EOC may investigate and eventually assist a person to pursue in court a complaint which is thought to merit further action. This chapter asks how the EOC can maintain neutrality and confidentiality when discharging its respective functions of conciliator, investigator and litigator in the same matter, without becoming entangled in actual or potential conflicts of interest. It examines how similar institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere have sought (or not) to resolve the tension in their roles when handling discrimination complaints. It then discusses recommendations and their underlying rationale for reconciling the EOC’s seemingly conflicting roles, in order to effectively resolve discrimination complaints and bridge the long-standing gap in public perception.