Press Releases in Hong Kong

HK mulls allowing govt solicitors to be appointed senior counsel

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government has proposed to amend the law to allow legal officers of the Department of Justice to be appointed as senior counsel.

At a media session after attending a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said the move aims to recognize talents and appoint suitable candidates.

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said the proposal would ensure fairness as government lawyers would enjoy the same chance of being considered to be granted senior counsel status – a recognition that “the society as a whole will cherish” 

"Why is that my colleagues in the Department of Justice who are by their qualification a solicitor – but actually arguing very well and very efficiently with great eloquence and advocacy in the Court of Final Appeal — are not being recognized that they are actually even better than their (barrister) counterparts? That has been troubling me for a while,” Cheng said.

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Under the current system, only barristers – but not solicitors – are eligible for appointment as senior counsel in recognition of their ability and standing in the profession.

Cheng said the proposal would ensure fairness as government solicitors would enjoy the same chance of being considered to be granted senior counsel status – a recognition that “the society as a whole will cherish.” 

She added that the proposal would not change the eligibility requirements for appointment as a senior counsel under section 31A of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance, including having sufficient ability, standing and experience as well as knowledge of the law.

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