Former bar chief fears development falling 'far behind' The former Bar Association chief yesterday voiced concerns about Chinese University's slow progress in setting up the city's third law school. The university is scheduled to open a new law school and offer a four-year Bachelor of Laws (LLB) programme in 2006. The more advanced Postgraduate Certificate of Laws (PCLL) course is scheduled to be available from 2007. 'According to the information we have, we feel preparation works in setting up the law school have fallen far behind,' said former association chairman Edward Chan King-sang SC, at a Legislative Council meeting discussing the new law school. He said both the Bar Association and the Law Society had 'strong opinions' about Chinese University's course design, and that if the bachelor course is not ready by now it would be 'over-optimistic' to think the PCLL programme could be ready in time for 2007. Anthony Neoh SC, the chairman of Chinese University's planning committee for the new law school, said they would soon make up lost ground by hiring seven more legal scholars. 'The 2006 target is a firm one and we'll ready our course programme as soon as possible,' he said. 'I would not be too pessimistic, even though we must not relax.' Regarding the PCLL course, Mr Neoh said there are many challenges to overcome, including meeting the required standards set by professional groups. And if they could not overcome all the challenges before 2007, the course would be postponed for a year. During yesterday's meeting, representatives of the University of Hong Kong and City University said they welcomed a third law school and believe it would bring healthy competition as well as room for co-operation. But they also voiced concerns that the dilution of government resources caused by having three schools will affect the standard of legal education. 'Simply dividing the resources currently allocated to the two schools, by three, would not help reaching the target of achieving excellence,' said Johannes Chan Man-mun, dean of the University of Hong Kong's law faculty. Solicitor-General Robert Allcock told Legco a third law school would not create an oversupply of lawyers in Hong Kong.