A human rights lawyer who helped Vietnamese boat people win two major victories in the Privy Council has been refused admission as a solicitor in Hong Kong, a judge heard yesterday. The Law Society says Robert Brook, 29, who has worked as a legal clerk on hundreds of cases, lacks experience. Mr Brook took his case to the High Court yesterday and was granted permission to challenge the decision. He was given a certificate by the Law Society in July 1995 which promised he would be considered for admission if he passed four exams. Mr Brook passed the exams with flying colours and believed this entitled him to be admitted. But in June he was rejected on the grounds he did not have broad enough experience. Mr Brook says the Law Society should have decided whether he had enough experience before giving him the certificate suggesting he take the exams. He was granted leave to challenge the decision at the High Court by Mr Justice Brian Keith. The judge said the Law Society had the right to waive the rules on experience needed by lawyers wishing to be admitted as solicitors. But it was arguable whether it could deny Mr Brook admission having already issued him with a certificate, he added. Mr Brook, who is Australian, completed a law degree in Sydney in 1992. He then moved to the United States and was admitted as a member of the New York State Bar. He began working for Pam Baker and Co in Hong Kong in January 1994 and twice instructed counsel in London for successful Privy Council appeals. Solicitor Matthew Gold, who works for the same firm as Mr Brook, said: 'His view, his opinion and his conduct are very highly regarded.' He said the refusal of the Law Society to accept Mr Brook would have an enormous effect on his career. The exams which Mr Brook passed covered 'the whole legal spectrum', Mr Gold said. The Law Society's decision means Mr Brook's work has to be supervised and restricted.