A HEAD-ON clash between the Judiciary and lawyers was defused yesterday when acting Chief District Court Judge Gould ordered that a defendant reveal how much he was paying his lawyer, rather than ordering the lawyer to reveal his fees. If the order is not complied with, the defendant may be in contempt of court - and not the lawyer. Chong Hin-pong's counsel will now seek a judicial review of the order, which the legal profession claims is improper because it forces their members to breach legal professional privilege and business confidentiality. Meanwhile, Judge Gould has suspended compliance with yesterday's order until the outcome of the review. Barrister Anthony Ismail told Judge Gould that if the legal challenge failed, the order would be complied with. Another defendant who had earlier refused to reveal his costs, Tong Chin-pang, agreed to disclose the figure to the judge and his case was adjourned until trial. Mr Ismail, representing both defendants, said he and Clive Grossman QC were now preparing papers for a judicial review of Judge Gould's order against Chong, who has been charged with false imprisonment. The judge surprised the court by suggesting that lawyers had been wrong to argue - and he had been wrong to accept - that the order to reveal costs would be made against lawyers. He said the measure was aimed at ensuring defendants knew what their costs would be and that they could afford them - it was not an attempt to force lawyers to disclose their fees. Judge Gould said he should order a defendant to disclose his legal costs because a lawyer acted on his client's instructions. If a lawyer says he has been instructed not to reveal fees, the judge claimed it should be the defendant who ran the risk of being found in contempt. Mr Ismail said any lawyer who told a judge of such a refusal might also be in contempt. Judge Gould, however, ordered Chong to disclose his trial costs and called on Chong's solicitor, Bharati Marek, to supply the information - although compliance with that order was postponed. The case will resume on January 12 unless proceedings are still pending in the High Court.