Will our legal system remain the same after the handover? It will remain the same in most important respects. But there will also be some changes. Judges will have to start applying the Basic Law, but the important legal principles that underpin the system will remain. These include the right to be tried by a jury, the presumption of innocence, freedom of speech and freedom of religious beliefs. Will the Government be allowed to influence judges? 'No more than they do already,' joked one lawyer asked to answer this question. Article 85 of the Basic Law states that the courts will exercise judicial power independently and free from interference. Is the Chinese language going to be used in all court cases? No. Chinese is more and more widely used in the courts but the English language is expected to remain for many years to come. Concerns have been raised that the legal system may be damaged if Chinese is introduced too quickly. Cases at the Magistrates' Court and District Court are often heard in Chinese and some have taken place at the High Court and Court of Appeal. New legislation is needed before jury trials will be able to be held in Chinese. What will happen to expatriate judges and lawyers? Their numbers have already been reduced either as a result of localisation or because they have chosen to leave. But many are here to stay and have contracts that extend well beyond the handover. The chief justice and the head judge of the High Court and Court of Appeal must be Chinese citizens who are permanent Hong Kong residents with no right of abode overseas. Can cases still be taken to the Privy Council? No. The Court of Final Appeal will replace the Privy Council on the day of the handover. This court, composed mainly of Hong Kong judges, will sit in the French Mission Building. Construction of the court is nearly completed but no judges have yet been appointed. Will judges and lawyers still wear wigs and gowns? No decision has yet been made, although many lawyers are hoping the traditional attire will remain. Will there still be Queen's Counsel? Yes and no. They will be still be there but may be called Senior Counsel instead. Can the Government still be challenged in court? Yes. A flood of court battles involving the Government is expected as people begin using the Basic Law to challenge its decisions. Will there be a change in the way judges are appointed? Judges will be appointed by the chief executive on the advice of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission. Will the death penalty be brought back? This will be a matter for the new Legislative Council.