Young counsel tipped to fill post

ONE of Hong Kong's youngest Queen's Counsel, Daniel Fung, is tipped to become solicitor-general, the number two post in the Legal Department.

He would be the first Hong Kong Chinese to fill the post, and would stand a good chance of later being elevated to attorney-general.

Mr Fung, 41, who took silk four years ago and specialises in commercial contract law, was invited to apply when the post was advertised together with that of director of public prosecutions in October.

The appointment would mean a drastic cut in Mr Fung's income.

Hong Kong barristers would normally expect to earn at least $2 million a year before taking silk - the solicitor-general's salary is $1.4 million.

Mr Fung grew up in Hong Kong and received legal training in Britain in the 1970s.

He was the honorary secretary of the Bar Association from 1984 to 1985 when Dennis Chang Khen-lee QC was chairman. They work in the same chambers.

Mr Fung was a member of the Basic Law Consultative Committee and is a member of the Hong Kong branch of the international human rights body, Justice.

The solicitor-general heads the legal policy division and is regarded as the shadow attorney-general.

The post has been vacant since Bertrand de Speville was named Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in February last year.

Recruitment for the post formed part of the Governor's plan to localise three of the five law officers in the Legal Department by the end of next year.

Eleven people applied for the two posts and Mr Fung has been recommended by the Legal Department.

The Government announced yesterday that Alice Tai Yuen-ying would take up the newly-created post of judiciary administrator, as revealed by the Post in January.

She will start the policy secretary level job in two weeks.

Ms Tai, 43, will help the chief justice in the overall administration of the Judiciary.

She will also be responsible for planning, securing and managing the Judiciary's human and financial resources.

Chief Justice Sir Ti Liang Yang welcomed the appointment of Ms Tai, who was chosen out of 267 candidates.

Ms Tai joined the Government as an administrative officer in 1974 and is the Director of Intellectual Property.

She holds a bachelor of law degree from the University of Hong Kong and a masters degree from the University of London.

She is married to Robert Footman, the head of the Efficiency Unit, and has two sons.

She said she was pleased with and honoured by the appointment.

''The rule of law and a well-administered judiciary are essential to the continued stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and I welcome the opportunity to continue this important area of work.''