A court refused to decide yesterday whether a rule laid down by the Chief Judge governing appeals from magistrates' courts was unlawful. Madam Justice Clare-Marie Beeson said she was not able to resolve an argument over the defence's application to declare that the rule exceeded the Chief Judge's authority. Barrister Kevin Egan, for Chow Yuen-han, argued it was wrong for Chief Judge Patrick Chan Siu-oi to issue a direction which prohibited people wishing to challenge decisions made by magistrates from automatically obtaining written records of court proceedings. Mr Egan said an appellant's right to a copy of the transcript was set out in the Magistrates' Ordinance. But the judge said: 'I am conscious of the fact that this is an appeal and that what Mr Egan complains of is an administrative refusal to supply his client with the transcript of proceedings. 'Having considered the matter, I am unable to resolve the argument as an appeal.' She adjourned the appeal hearing indefinitely. Mr Egan's client must now decide whether to challenge the directive through a different channel, such as judicial review. The directive, which came into effect on May 1, says appellants can still apply to the Registrar of Appeals for the transcripts, with reasons attached. The Registrar has discretion whether to comply. Previously transcripts were provided for all appeals from magistrates. Chow, 42, is fighting a conviction for soliciting for an immoral purpose, for which she received a suspended sentence in Eastern Court.