The Law Society is set to vote on a motion of no confidence in president Ambrose Lam San-keung after critics of his support for Beijing's white paper on Hong Kong mustered at least double the number of signatures needed.
Organiser Kevin Yam said yesterday that the legal profession was "completely ashamed" of Lam, who said on Monday that the white paper - emphasising Beijing's "comprehensive jurisdiction" over Hong Kong - was a "positive document".
"We cannot let the misunderstanding continue that solicitors are only concerned about making money, and aren't bothered about the rule of law, human rights and judicial independence … that's why a group of solicitors decided to stand up," Yam said.
The group, led by Yam, Priscilla Choy Ka-ling and one other, will hand in the signatures this afternoon, calling for a special meeting to table the motion.
Choy said the member-initiated special meeting would be the first of its kind in 20 years.
The white paper, released last week, categorised judges as administrators, like the chief executive and top officials, and said they had a "political requirement" to love the country.
It also stated that judges had a responsibility to "correctly" understand and implement the Basic Law, and to "safeguard" the country's national security.
The Bar Association said the white paper got it wrong as Hong Kong enjoyed judicial independence, but Lam said on Monday that the paper reaffirmed the city's independent judiciary. He suggested "loving the country" might need to be further defined, and refused to comment on the suggestion that judges must consider national security.
At the special meeting, the group plans to table a motion of no confidence in Lam, one calling for him to retract his comments on the white paper, and another motion calling for a statement defending the rule of law and judicial independence.
Yam, a member of the society's constitutional affairs and human rights committee, has acknowledged the motion is likely to be voted down but said it was worthwhile. "We are just seeking to make the public aware that a solid body of solicitors does not accept [Lam's] views and conduct," he said.
Yam also confirmed that former president Lester Huang had resigned as a member of the constitutional affairs committee.