POLITICS

Solicitors step up pressure on Law Society president Ambrose Lam

They call for Law Society president to quit after no-confidence vote and urge review of rules

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 August, 2014, 2:57am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 August, 2014, 2:57am

The president of the Law Society should resign and a review should be launched into the rules governing the professional body, solicitors say, after members delivered an unprecedented no-confidence vote against him.

The lawyers said it was high time to take a fresh look at the group's rule book, given the lack of a mechanism to oust president Ambrose Lam San-keung despite the wide margin in the vote.

The calls came a day after Lam saw 2,392 votes support and 1,478 oppose the resolution of no-confidence in him at a historic meeting of the society.

Former society president Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, now a council member, said on radio yesterday: "My personal view is, if I was the president facing such a demand, I would make a wise decision. The Law Society belongs to everyone and not to me. There's no need for me to stay."

Since Thursday's meeting, Lam has not indicated if he would step down. Neither he nor the two vice-presidents, Stephen Hung Wan-shun and Thomas So Shiu-tsung, could be reached for comment yesterday.

Lam drew flak after he voiced support in June for Beijing's contentious white paper on Hong Kong while the society's council was still deciding on its response to the document. Many lawyers said the paper threatened the city's judicial independence.

The council will next meet on Tuesday. Ho said he would be out of town but suggested the council follow up on another resolution that was passed, which asked Lam to withdraw his statements on the white paper.

The 9,000-strong society is governed by a memorandum and articles that do not require the president to resign in case of a no-confidence vote. If he does step down, the council of 20 senior members will elect a new president among themselves behind closed doors.

Priscilla Choy Ka-ling, one of three solicitors who initiated the vote, called for a review of the memorandum.

Any council election should be open to all members of the society, she said, and proxy votes replaced by postal ballots.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice echoed former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang's comments, published on Thursday, that the white paper had a "translation issue" in categorising judges among those "who administrate Hong Kong".

The department said that while the white paper did not suggest the judiciary was part of the executive, "the use of a more appropriate word would have avoided misunderstanding".