THE Law Society Council is split on whether it should be more open about its operations. Philip Li Wai-ip, a member who resented the council's closed door handling of consultation on the Court of Final Appeal draft bill, said the 'time-honoured' rule of confidentiality and collective responsibility should be questioned. In December, he handed out confidential council documents to members whom he thought had been prevented from getting important and relevant information. They included the minutes of the meeting of the constitutional affairs committee, the meeting between the Director of Administration Richard Hoare and society president Roderick Woo Bun, a letter of their exchanges and a government press release about the 1991 Sino-British accord. Law Society Council member William Tsui Hing-chuen said serious concern had been raised during several council meetings on whether members would continue to be abide by the rule of confidentiality and collective responsibility. He described Mr Li as 'overreacting' in violating the council's 'established policy'. 'We should be very careful of whether we should speak up in the meeting because whatever we have said might be made known to the public.' He hoped the matter would be discussed at the council meeting scheduled for February 21. Donald Yap, a veteran council member, said that he was open-minded over ways of improving the council's openness, but said that it was a matter for the council's discretion. 'The problem is where do you draw the line? I think members will not feel free to express themselves if Mr Li is present.' Mr Li said he would welcome a review of the rules because the council had taken the present practice for granted. He said apart from matters relating to discipline of individual members, nothing discussed should be kept from members. Mr Li, the most junior council member, said it should not continue to be a 'closed shop', saying it was the council's duty to inform members in full. Mr Woo agreed that decisions reached by the council should be made known to members, but the course of discussion should not. Monthly reports were published to inform members of major council decisions and important topics to be discussed. But he stressed that collective responsibility was essential because it would be undemocratic if councillors openly attacked the council for a decision that had been reached by the majority.