HK's first honorary senior counsel inducted

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 May, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 May, 2003, 12:00am

Members of Hong Kong's legal profession yesterday donned their traditional robes to welcome the first honorary senior counsel to their ranks.

In praising Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun on his appointment, Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang also inducted another six barristers to the rank of senior counsel - the highest number inducted since the handover.

The other appointments were: John Yan Mang-yee, Anthony Chan Kin-keung, Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, Chua Guan-hock, Paul Shieh Wing-tai and Kevin Paul Zervos.

Chief Justice Li said the rank of senior counsel was a 'mark of distinction' which bestowed a duty to carry on the finest traditions of the Bar.

He added that Professor Chan's appointment was 'richly deserved' after his pivotal role in the education of Hong Kong's future lawyers, as well as his commitment to the area of human rights.

'As has been well said, a teacher affects eternity and one can never tell where the teacher's influence stops,' Mr Justice Li said.

'The most important and heavy responsibility of educating future generations of lawyers rests on the shoulders of Professor Chan and his fellow academics in both our law schools.'

He said the title of honorary senior counsel could be bestowed after applicants met requirements set down in the Legal Practitioners' Ordinance, such as being a member of the academic staff at a Hong Kong university as well as being a barrister.

Bar Association chairman Edward Chan King-sang also praised Professor Chan as 'probably one of the longest serving members of the Bar council'.

He also said that he 'must not forget to mention' Professor Chan's role in the concern group for Article 23.

He also was one of the seven authors who published articles about the government's proposal.

Law Society president Simon Ip Shing-hing said the increase of senior barristers in Hong Kong only served to benefit the profession.

Speaking on behalf of the appointees, Mr Yan paid tribute to the community's strength in dealing with Sars outbreak.

'We are confident and optimistic that Hong Kong will rise to the challenge and become even stronger,' he said.

Mr Justice Li said this year had seen the highest number of applications, 19, which doubled the number received in the previous year.

He said in the six years since the handover, 26 barristers had been appointed out of 58 applications. 'This year's appointments bring the total number of silks at the Bar, excluding those from the Department of Justice, to 63, about 8 per cent of its total size of just over 780,' Mr Justice Li said.