The Secretary for Justice, Elsie Leung Oi-sie, said yesterday that her trip to Beijing was primarily intended to forge ties with mainland officials rather than to settle the many cross-border legal issues that are still unresolved. Nonetheless, limited progress was made in that area during the visit. Preliminary agreements have been reached on how to serve some Hong Kong court documents on people in the mainland and on mutual enforcement of arbitration awards. Both are vital issues for many local businesses, but have been left in limbo since the relevant pre-handover accords lapsed on the handover last July. However, many details remain to be ironed out - while many other equally crucial issues have not even reached the stage of a preliminary agreement. It is now two years since Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang warned of the damage being done to business confidence by the lack of long-term mutual legal assistance agreements with the mainland. Even after the handover removed the political obstacles to such accords, progress remains slow. Worse still, many of the arrangements that existed under British rule automatically lapsed upon the transfer of sovereignty. Nine months later, agreements are still awaited on matters such as reciprocal enforcement of judgments and the collection of evidence on the mainland. Beijing officials told Miss Leung that such issues should not be dealt with too hastily, given the huge differences between the mainland and SAR legal systems. That is a good reason for caution, especially over the extremely sensitive issues of handing over of prisoners to stand trial on the mainland. But there are also strong dangers in moving too slowly. International investors may be deterred by the lack of proper arrangements. There is also a very real risk that it could lead to some litigants being denied justice. Even if this week's trip was not the right forum for resolving such issues, a greater sense of urgency is necessary than has been evident from each side so far.