Hong Kong lawyers to gain permission to advise mainland Chinese clients

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 June, 2013, 8:12am

People living on the mainland will soon be able to seek advice from Hong Kong lawyers without crossing the border, the Law Society's new president has announced.

Ambrose Lam San-keung described the new arrangement as a "breakthrough".

He said details would be formally announced by mainland authorities within the next two months and would involve Qianhai special economic zone and Shenzhen.

The development follows two years of campaigning and research by the Law Society.

"We are looking not only at Qianhai, but the whole of Guangdong province," said Lam. "Qianhai is only a starting point."

At present, Hong Kong lawyers can act only as advisers to mainland law firms, Lam said. However, under the new arrangement, Hong Kong lawyers will be permitted to serve clients directly.

The arrangement will provide a one-stop shop for advice on cross-border and international cases.

Lam, who took over as Law Society president last month, said a law school in Shenzhen would be opened as early as September to train Hong Kong lawyers in mainland law and mainland lawyers in Hong Kong law.

The school is likely to be set up within Tsinghua University and would be a joint project by the Law Society, its Shenzhen counterpart and the university.

Workshops will include scenarios similar to real-life litigation, Law Society vice-president Stephen Hung Wan-shun said.

Lam said the new law school was an important element of the new arrangement, as it would familiarise Hong Kong and mainland lawyers with each other's legal systems and enable them to provide more comprehensive services. Lam said commercial law would be among the first subjects to be taught.