A COMBINED legal profession could boost localisation by expanding the pool of local lawyers eligible to be High Court and Court of Appeal judges, a Law Society member claimed yesterday. Mr Raymond Tang Yee-bong said the Law Society's proposal to mix solicitors and barristers could reduce touting, legal costs and the preparation and waiting time for court proceedings. Mr Tang, who is a member of the Law Society's working party on the Future of the Legal Profession, said the proposal should not be called ''fusion'' or ''merger'' because this implied a lack of choice. He said the proposal was designed more to remove the artificial barriers between solicitors and barristers, so they could choose what kind of work they wanted to do. He told a meeting of the Y's Men's Club that such barriers restricted localisation at the High Court and Appeal Court levels because so many senior members of the Bar were expatriates, and solicitors were not eligible for selection. ''Our proposal would boost localisation because you would have more local lawyers to choose from when appointing High Court and Court of Appeal judges. If you enlarge the pool . . . you would have more choices of judges to serve the community in the years ahead.'' He said the move could reduce the waiting time for cases to be heard in court because of the increased number of judges. He said solicitors' and barristers' common education base would make the proposal easy to implement. Both were required to complete three-year degrees, then a one-year PCLL (Postgraduate Certificate in Law). Some eloquent and successful advocates were forced to become solicitors rather than barristers because solicitors' work offered a salary and a stable income, he said. Unlike barristers, they could not appear in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Mr Tang said bringing the two sides together could reduce touting because it would allow clients direct access to barristers. It could also cut costs by reducing preparation time. An extreme example of wasted money and duplicated effort was when a solicitor spent months working on a case, but a barrister had to be paid emergency money to spend a few hours at night familiarising himself with it so he could appear in court the next day. Mr Tang said the Governor, Mr Chris Patten, had advised the society in a letter in January that the proposal was worthy of serious consideration and referred it to the Attorney-General, Mr Jeremy Mathews.