A CONSTITUTION convention, established by the CFA and China's NPC, is needed to preserve the legal system's integrity, Martin Lee Chu-ming says. The legislator and QC put forward his idea at a Court of Final Appeal (CFA) forum yesterday, saying it would be a workable way of allowing CFA judges' advice to be taken into account without impeaching China's sovereignty. The Democratic Party chairman said the greatest threat to the integrity of the CFA or the common law system lay in the Basic Law's Article 158. It gave the power of constitutional interpretation to the National People's Congress Standing Committee, requiring the CFA to seek interpretation of the Basic Law from it. The danger of permitting a non-judicial, non-common law political body to interpret the territory's constitution was apparent, he said. He proposed that a convention jointly set up by the CFA and the Standing Committee could be a solution. Mr Lee said the CFA judges could submit their opinion when the Basic Law required any Hong Kong court to request the committee's ruling. 'The Standing Committee should then defer to the expertise of the Hong Kong judges and simply approve their interpretation,' he said. Mr Lee said the Standing Committee would maintain ultimate responsibility for interpreting the Basic Law. But another speaker at the Asia Law and Practice forum, former legislator Simon Ip Sik-on, described the proposal as 'fundamentally good but over ambitious'. Mr Ip said: 'The Congress will be bound by the ruling as a matter of convention.' He suggested persuading the committee to obtain the CFA's opinion first so it could be considered by the Basic Law Committee and the congress itself. Article 158 required the congress to consult the committee before giving an interpretation of the Basic Law. Solicitor-General Daniel Fung QC said he thought Mr Lee's suggestion would be something which would happen 'as a matter of course'. 'The CFA judges will be looking at the issues in the course of litigation, and refer their opinion to the Standing Committee and consult the Basic Law Committee,' he said. He said he was not sure whether they could go very much further than that and rewrite Article 158.