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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Department of Justice has welcomed a State Council General Office document that contains guidelines on a pilot programme for Hong Kong and Macau legal practitioners to practise law in the nine Pearl River Delta municipalities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The document released yesterday, specified the requirements for the legal professional qualifying examination, the scope of business and more. It would enable local practising solicitors and barristers to expand their professional service in the Greater Bay Area after obtaining their Mainland practice qualifications.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee passed the decision on authorising the State Council on implementing the pilot programme on August 11.

Since then, the department has maintained close communication with relevant Mainland authorities to reflect views and expectations of the department and Hong Kong legal sector on eligibility for the examination, training methods and business scope.

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said she is delighted to learn that under the guidelines, solicitors and barristers with five years’ post-qualification experience are allowed to apply for the examination. As such, young legal practitioners are enabled to grasp the opportunities in the bay area.

She thanked the Ministry of Justice for organising the relevant legal training to prepare and equip Hong Kong’s legal practitioners for the examination.

Ms Cheng believed that the arrangement by the central authorities would foster the mutually complementary co-operation relationship between Hong Kong and Guangdong.

The arrangement enables Hong Kong solicitors and barristers to provide legal services regarding specified civil and commercial affairs, including litigation and non-litigation businesses, using the Mainland’s applicable laws in the bay area.

They will enjoy the same privileges and under the same obligations as Mainland lawyers.

Legal practitioners from Hong Kong will join their Mainland counterparts to provide legal services to enterprises, including Hong Kong enterprises, in the bay area.

Ms Cheng encouraged practising solicitors and barristers to capitalise on the bay area development and further enhance Hong Kong’s legal service.

Noting the bay area development was an important national strategy, Ms Cheng pointed out that Hong Kong must seize the precious opportunity brought by the area, leverage in the advantages and enhance business co-operation among the three places, so as to meet the goal of enhancing the cross-boundary co-operative mechanism on the rule of law aspect, the robust international legal service and dispute resolutions mechanism.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News