9 January 2017
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I hope you have all had a relaxing break and I wish you all a fruitful 2017. As the new year unfolds, I would like to present you with my first round of legislative updates.
Australian Competition Commission Working Scheme
With the development of our Competition law regime, and as part of my campaign promise to expand the range of work opportunities for HK lawyers, I have successfully pursued the arrangement of a working scheme for barristers and solicitor advocates at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This is Part II to the Competition law working scheme which I assisted in setting up last year to enable barristers to work in some of the top chambers in London. This new scheme on advocacy training will last for approximately 2 to 3 weeks, and is envisioned to take place in the second quarter of 2017 in Sydney. This is a great opportunity to further one’s knowledge of Competition law litigation and advocacy work and I highly encourage all those who are interested to apply. Please contact my office if you are interested.
Third Party Funding Arbitration Bill and Arbitration (Amendment) Bill tabled in LegCo
To maintain Hong Kong’s status as an international dispute resolution centre, two arbitration-related bills have been taken forward and tabled at LegCo. As one of my very first initiatives at LegCo two years ago, the Third Party Funding Arbitration Bill seeks to provide a legislative framework to regulate how third parties may fund arbitrations; and it is my belief that being a funding-tolerant jurisdiction will give Hong Kong a competitive edge in the arbitration world. Separately, the Arbitration (Amendment) Bill seeks to clarify the present law and lay out rules for resolving intellectual property disputes by arbitration. I have persistently pursued both these issues at LegCo and I will be sure to see to the development and passing of these two important bills.
Duty Lawyer Scheme Fees
As you may know, a resolution was passed by the LegCo to raise the criminal legal aid fees in June 2016, and it is only reasonable that duty lawyer fees be brought in line to the same levels. In the past year, I have urged the Duty Lawyer Service to increase the duty lawyer scheme fees at the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services at LegCo. Pending the response from the Duty Lawyer Service, I will carry on pushing forward the subject and ensure that the duty lawyer fees will be increased.
Chief Executive Election
Thank you to all those who voted on 11th December 2016. Although CY Leung has already said that he will not be running for a second term as Chief Executive, I must reiterate the importance of vigilance and caution. With the Chief Executive election only 2 months away, it is crucial that the 327 democratic Election Committee members stay united and use their votes wisely and strategically for the upcoming CE election. Hong Kong deserves a competent and trustworthy leader for the next 5 years.