Leading judge Mr Justice Henry Litton backed plans to make the legal system cheaper and more effective when making his final appearance in the top court yesterday. One of the best-known judges, Mr Justice Litton, 66, is retiring after 40 years as a member of Hong Kong's legal profession. At a ceremony held in his honour, the judge said challenging times lay ahead. 'We live in a competitive world. For Hong Kong to remain as one of the leading economies of the 21st century we must forever be improving our systems, honing our tools, sharpening our swords.' Mr Justice Litton, the first permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal to retire, expressed support for a working party set up by the Chief Justice to explore ways of making the system of justice 'more effective, more accessible and at less cost'. With Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang sitting at his side, the judge said: 'Much is expected of this exercise and I know you will not disappoint the community in this regard.' He regretted he would not be taking part in the process, nor in the continuing review of legal education. Mr Justice Litton embarked on his career as a barrister in 1960 and was appointed a Queen's Counsel after the minimum period of 10 years. He served as chairman of the Bar Association for an unprecedented seven years and spent 22 years as editor-in-chief of the Hong Kong Law Journal, which he founded in 1970. In 1992, he became the first barrister to be appointed straight to the Court of Appeal. He moved to the Court of Final Appeal when it was established in 1997. Mr Justice Litton was one of the judges who gave a controversial right-of-abode ruling last year which was later in effect overturned by Beijing. The president of the Law Society, Herbert Tsoi Hak-kwong, said in a speech at the ceremony that it was almost unthinkable to have a legal system in Hong Kong without Mr Justice Litton playing an integral part. 'We have all regarded him as part of the establishment, like the Supreme Court building, standing stalwartly in the centre of Hong Kong,' he said. The Chief Justice said Mr Justice Litton wanted to be remembered for being a good judge, a good citizen and a good family man. He was an outstanding judge and, awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal last month, a good citizen, Mr Justice Li said. Mr Justice Litton is retiring in order to spend more time with his wife and six children. The Chief Justice said: 'As to being a good family man, I am afraid this is beyond the jurisdiction of this court.'