29th November 2023

The self-regulatory mechanism of Hong Kong’s legal profession is operating well, Bar Association chairman Victor Dawes said ahead of the opening ceremony of the legal year in England and Wales in London.

Dawes told nearly 80 legal professionals in a forum that Hong Kong’s legal profession has a complete and fair self-regulatory mechanism in place, which has been working effectively and representing the profession well.

Also present at the forum were Hong Kong Law Society president Chan Chak-ming and his predecessor Melissa Pang, who is now president of the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific.

The event was held on Sunday at Gray’s Inn, one of the four Inns of Court in London.

Legal professionals from around the world discussed ways to safeguard the independence of the profession in a modern, ever-evolving legal landscape during the forum.

Other topics covered included lawyers’ role in safeguarding the rule of law, clients’ confidentiality and protections for lawyers at domestic and international levels.

As the only representative from Asia to deliver a speech, Dawes said barristers and lawyers in Hong Kong have been conducting self-regulation under the Legal Practitioners Ordinance, which empowers the Bar Association and the Law Society to take disciplinary action.

He added that the licensing and training of barristers and lawyers are not affected by external factors.

“The self-regulation mechanism has enabled the legal profession to operate independently and effectively, and should continue to be practiced in the city.”

He said an independent legal profession is a prerequisite for a strong judicial system.

“Barristers and lawyers in Hong Kong have been supported by the Hong Kong judiciary system, and the strong and independent legal professional also enables the city’s judiciary system to operate independently,” he said.

It is the second consecutive year that Hong Kong has been invited to the annual opening event. Bar Association vice chairman Jose-Antonio Maurellet was also present.

According to the association, Dawes and Maurellet sought to establish connections and exchange views with legal leaders from other common law jurisdictions while also introducing Hong Kong’s unique judicial system.

They attended networking events in the Law Society of England and Wales Hall, the Law Society said.

Representatives of the two branches of the legal profession went on to attend the opening ceremony in Westminster Abbey along with about 90 legal leaders from more than 30 countries and regions.

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