CHINESE will be used more often in courts before all laws and legal terms have been approved, a High Court judge said yesterday. Mr Justice Patrick Chan said there would be teething problems and some trials might be conducted 'Hong Kong style' - a mixture of Chinese and English. But he did not envisage serious difficulties because most translations were complete and awaiting approval. The judge yesterday announced the introduction of Chinese in civil cases in the District Court and in Lands Tribunal hearings. The Judiciary also admitted defendants would not automatically be able to have cases heard in Chinese. Mr Justice Chan, chairman of a steering committee on the use of Chinese in the courts, said no lawyer or judge would be forced to use Chinese. If some parties wanted Chinese and others English, the final decision would be left to the judge. He also warned litigants and defendants not to dispense with counsel after the introduction of Chinese in the belief they could now represent themselves. 'Language is only a means and not an end in itself. The ultimate goal is that justice is not only done, but seen to be done,' he said. 'It would be dangerous to think that since Chinese can be used one can do away with legal advice or representation.' One difficulty in converting to Chinese is that the legal system is based on English common law which relies on the use of precedence. Mr Justice Chan said: 'It's not a great problem, but if I said there's no problem then I wouldn't be telling the whole truth . . . we have got to get used to it. 'Ideally the case would be tried in pure English or pure Chinese, but in some cases it will inevitably be in Hong Kong style.' The jury system might also be overhauled. All jurors must now be able to understand English, but once Chinese is introduced this could be dropped. 'The basic principle is that a person should be judged by their peers. The question is who are his peers: peers who understand English and Chinese or peers who only understand Chinese?'