Terror bill 'threatens clients' trust in lawyers'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 July, 2002, 12:00am

Hong Kong Bar Association chairman Alan Leong Kah-kit expressed concern yesterday that the proposed anti-terrorism bill would force lawyers to reveal confidential communication with clients.

Mr Leong said the requirement would seriously damage the 'relationship of trust between lawyer and client'.

'The provision that a lawyer would be obliged to discuss information acquired in the course of taking instructions and, if they refuse, face charges of being an accomplice, is quite alarming,' he said.

'This would destroy the relationship of trust between lawyers who are supposed to be acting in the clients' interests.'

Mr Leong also suggested in a radio programme yesterday that some provisions in the proposed anti-terror bill went beyond United Nations requirements.

The bill was introduced to give effect to a binding UN resolution requiring member states to crack down on terrorism, but has been widely criticised for being too broad.

'The key is that any law should not harm people's rights and liberties in the name of fighting terrorism,' Mr Leong said.

The association is preparing a paper stating its position on the issue that will be released and submitted to the government early next week.

The final draft of the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Bill will be brought before Legco on Wednesday.