The territory's 49 Queen's Counsel may have to take a fresh oath after the handover to retain their status, Bar Association chairman Gladys Li Chi-hei QC said. Ms Li said QCs working in the territory had a limited life as they were appointed by the Queen and took an oath of allegiance to her. 'If the law that provides for the change from Queen's Counsel to Senior Counsel survives the transition then it might be necessary for a formal ceremony to take place,' she said. But she said it would be a matter for the Chief Justice or the first post-1997 chief executive to decide. She believed QCs would do the same job after the handover. Another QC, Executive Councillor Denis Chang Khen-lee, said he did not think QCs should take a new oath. 'We are not turned into 'Governor's Counsel' but 'Senior Counsel'. We are just being recognised because of our higher seniority. 'I do not think there is any need to swear loyalty to the future government,' he said. Acting Deputy Solicitor-General Stephen Wong said no decision had been taken. 'We have to consult the Inner Bar and the Bar Association first,' he said. In the next legislative year, a draft bill enabling the Chief Justice to appoint Senior Counsel will come under legislators' scrutiny. But the bill will not deal with the transition of the existing 49. There is also a question as to whether judges would have to take a fresh oath, even though the Basic Law provides for a 'through-train' arrangement for judges. Ms Li did not think taking a new oath would make any difference to the way judges carried out their duties. 'But, if somebody, from the point of view of political correctness, says you must take a fresh oath, then so be it,' she said. She said one would assume the oath which is binding in relation to the former sovereign will simply continue in relation to the new sovereign in the absence of any specific ceremony. 'I don't think any judge will suddenly say 'I continue to owe my allegiance to the Queen and I don't recognise the new sovereign',' she said.