How Apology Incentivizes Construction Dispute Settlement

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Original languageEnglish
Article number04519002
Journal / PublicationJournal of Legal Affairs and Dispute Resolution in Engineering and Construction
Issue number2
Online published12 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


Apology legislations have been enacted in many countries to protect an apology offeror from being considered to have made an admission of responsibility. The Hong Kong Apology Ordinance came into effect in July 2017. One of the background objectives in enacting the Apology Ordinance was to encourage disputing parties to offer an apology in mediation where it would help in settling a dispute. Mediation is also commonly used as one of the alternative dispute resolution methods in construction. This study focuses on how an apology would incentivize the disputants to research settlement. In this regard, the prerequisite conditions for settlement of disputes and the main characteristics of the Apology Ordinance are summarized. The incentivizing effect of an apology on settlement is discussed under the equity theory. Views of construction professionals were solicited and the findings suggest that an apology can incentivize settlement by addressing the need of receiving comfort and the desire of having equal footing; both of these conditions are instrumental in engendering a conductive environment for mediation.

Research Area(s)

  • Apology ordinance, Construction dispute mediation, Incentivizing effect