Ex-civil servant Fred Tromp will seek damages for loss of earnings if the Court of Appeal rules in favour of the Association of Expatriate Civil Servants' appeal against the Government's localisation policy. The association is taking its case to the court in September, appealing against last year's High Court ruling which upheld most of the Government's localisation policy. Among the points contested by the association is the 'opening up policy' under which expatriates can be demoted when a qualified local officer is found. Mr Tromp, the former Environmental Protection Department's Assistant Director, Air and Noise, officially retired last week. He was prevented from switching to permanent terms from his contract post. Under the localisation policy, when Mr Tromp switched from expatriate to local terms he risked being demoted if a suitably qualified local person was found. Tse Chin-wan will replace him. Mr Tromp, who is leaving Hong Kong after almost 15 years of service, admitted he was 'bitterly disappointed'. But he vowed not to give up the fight, which has so far cost the association $1 million, to prove the Government's policy fundamentally flawed. While the chances of reinstatement were 'practically zero', he said the fight was a matter of principle. 'We have gone so far down the track, the main aim is to get a declaration from the appeal court that what the Government is doing is wrong and should stop doing it,' he said. If the court finds against the Government, officers forced out under the policy would be entitled to damages for loss of earnings - up to $5 million Mr Tromp estimates.