Top Hong Kong judge refuses to let solicitors wear wigs in higher courts

Geoffrey Ma Tao-li

It's a ruling that may leave some solicitors tearing their hair out. The city's top judge, Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li (pictured), has refused their request to be allowed to wear wigs - historically a symbol of power and the preserve of judges and barristers - when they represent clients in higher courts.

Friday, 26 April, 2013, 11:23am 13 comments

First lawyers to go head to head with barristers

Dieter Yih Lai-tak. Photo: May Tse

Only one in six solicitors have been granted direct permission to represent their clients in the higher courts instead of a barrister. The remaining 75 out of 90 applicants will need to undergo an assessment to qualify for the right of audience in the Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal.

23 Feb 2013 - 5:18am

Solicitors, commerce chamber seeks exemptions to proposed stamp duty

Kristy Boazman

Solicitors and a foreign business chamber have expressed concern about a planned 15 per cent stamp duty on non-local and corporate property buyers, while another chamber has endorsed it.

The Law Society and the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong both called for exemption for companies controlled by permanent residents, who, as individual buyers, are exempted from the tax.

15 Feb 2013 - 3:50am 1 comment

Solicitors close in on High Court role

President of Law Society Dieter Yih Lai-tak. Photo: May Tse

Experienced solicitors will be able to represent clients in the High Court as early as April, saving litigants tens of thousands of dollars as they will no longer have to hire a separate barrister.

14 Jan 2013 - 4:47am 3 comments

Hong Kong solicitors seek exemption from assessment for new High Court role

Solicitors who apply to obtain the right to speak on behalf of clients in the High Court will need to sit an assessment, although those who have "substantial experience" in advocacy may be exempted.

14 Jan 2013 - 4:41am

Lawyers must swear loyalty to the party

To become a lawyer on the mainland one must now swear an oath of support to the leadership of the Communist Party.

The Ministry of Justice recently set up the oath system for new lawyers, the Legal Daily reported yesterday.

22 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

Solicitors in high courts by end of year

Solicitors with the right experience or qualifications may represent clients in the high courts - long the exclusive domain of barristers - by the end of this year.

A government assessment board set up to screen solicitors said yesterday that qualification standards would be gazetted in May, by which time it would start accepting such applications.

31 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

Justice chiefs are forced to beg for court costs bailout

The government is due to pay out a colossal HK$186 million in court costs this fiscal year - more than double the amount paid last year.

The bill for criminal cases in the six months since April 1 has hit HK$67.9 million, largely due to drawn-out negotiations and big unanticipated costs.

23 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

The ghost of India's Licence Raj lingers on

While the notorious Licence Raj is slowly being phased out, India's legal community remains a closed shop. The situation harms litigants and businesses and, perhaps counter-intuitively, the lawyers themselves.

1 Nov 2011 - 12:00am

Solicitors launch site to offer free legal advice

Hong Kong's solicitors yesterday launched an a website offering free legal advice to people in need.

More than 90 law firms have signed up to offer services on the Law Society's new web page,

24 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

Defence lawyers can be unreasonable

Lawyers are expected to uphold the law, yet some of them cause a lot of harm to society. Some defence lawyers specialise in getting their wealthy clients off the hook through clever manipulations of the legal system.

15 Jun 2011 - 12:00am

Harassing lawyers only fuels discontent

It has often been said that judicial reform and the implementation of rule of law are immediate and achievable priorities on the mainland.

1 Jan 2011 - 12:00am

Critics hit out at foot-dragging over legal aid

The government proposes making it easier to obtain legal aid, but critics say the changes do not go far enough and accuse the administration of dragging its feet.

In March, the government proposed allowing people with financial resources not exceeding HK$260,000 to apply for legal aid under the Ordinary Legal Aid Scheme, up from the current limit of HK$175,800.

30 Sep 2010 - 12:00am

Does justice depend on your lawyer?

The controversy provoked by the decision not to jail Amina Mariam Bokhary, a judge's niece, for assaulting a police officer focused on what the public perceived as preferential treatment due to her high-level connections and social status.

19 Sep 2010 - 12:00am

Bar right to set its sights on the future

The public image of barristers commanding fat fees from high-profile cases is one generally enjoyed by the more experienced and successful members of the profession. Life for new entrants seeking to build a good reputation in a competitive environment is not so easy. Proposed reforms which could provide young barristers with better training are, therefore, a positive development.

12 May 2010 - 12:00am