THE Legal Department was yesterday accused of playing ''musical chairs'' by creating new expatriate consultant jobs to allow more local officers promotion to directorate posts. Attorney-General Jeremy Mathews said he hoped to achieve 50 per cent localisation in the directorate and 60 per cent localisation overall by the end of 1995. ''This effectively means that within the next two years we need to appoint or promote some 17 local officers to the directorate and to recruit some 51 lawyers to join the grade,'' he told legislators on the Legislative Council public service panel yesterday. To achieve the goal, he said, six consultant posts would be created for the applications from existing expatriate directorate officers. Liberal independent Emily Lau Wai-hing asked if the Legal Department was creating ''a bigger cake'' to accommodate the expatriate officers. ''It seems we are creating quite a number of posts, not so much to meet operational requirements but to create promotion prospects for locals. ''Is this a move to show to the public that the locals are promoted? ''You are playing musical chairs,'' she said. United Democrat legislator Cheung Man-kwong worried if this was a move to avoid Legco scrutiny. Under the present arrangement, creation of senior directorate posts must be approved by Legco's establishment sub-committee. But the Government can approve any funding below $8 million. Mr Mathews said there was a real need to create the posts. ''We have fully justified operational reasons for every post,'' he said. ''In the case of appointment of consultants, this would be confined to specific tasks of a short duration where it is inappropriate to create civil service posts,'' he added.