Law Society of Hong Kong
|Legal status||Company limited by guarantee|
|Headquarters||Wing On House, Central, Hong Kong|
|HK$80.6 million (2007)|
Established in 1907, The Law Society of Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港律師會) is the professional association and law society for solicitors in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Bar Association is the equivalent association for barristers in Hong Kong.
In 2014, the society underwent its first ever motion of no confidence in its president over his declared support for the white paper published by the PRC on the city's autonomy in which patriotism was a prerequisite for the territory's judges. Ambrose Lam's declaration appeared to be at odds with sentiment of its members, a thousand of whom marched in response to the white paper. Over 100 petitioners objected to Lam's politicisation of the Law Society, requesting that Lam withdraw his comments and reassert support for judicial independence. The tabler of the no confidence vote had expected Lam to be able to call on a large reservoir of proxy votes in his defence. At a meeting called for 14 August 2014, Lam suffered a surprising defeat in the non-binding vote calling for him to resign. The motion was carried by 2,392 votes to 1,478, with almost half its members voting in person or by proxy. There had been complaints of members receiving external pressure from Chinese companies, the central government Liaison Office, and members of the CPPCC National Committee. Lam resigned on 19 August 2014, with neither an apology nor a retraction.
The society is divided into two bodies:
- The Council – the governing body of the society and consists of 20 members with 2 vice-presidents and 1 president
- The Secretariat – the body responsible for the standing committees within the society and has a staff of 76
Profile of the profession
As of 31 December 2010, the Law Society regulates 6,782 solicitors in Hong Kong with a current practising certificate.
Structure of the profession
- 5,303 solicitors were in private practice in 764 firms.
- Of these firms:
- 2,160 were in partnerships or were sole practitioners.
- 3,143 solicitors are assistant solicitors or consultants in firms.
- 1,479 solicitors worked with private businesses (in-house) or in government (Department of Justice, etc.).
- 399 foreign lawyers employed by 72 foreign firms.
- 739 foreign lawyers employed in local law firms.
- Of all practising solicitors, 54% were men and 46% were women.
- However, of the 683 trainee solicitors, 40% were men and 60% were women.
- 83% of practising solicitors were ethnic Chinese.
In 2006, the Society's income was HK$86.0 million, HK$46.26 million being raised through annual practising certificate fees and membership subscriptions.
In 2007, the Society's income was HK$91.6 million, HK$47.7 million being raised through annual practising certificate fees and membership subscriptions.
The fee for a practising certificate was HK$6,800 and the fee for membership subscription was HK$1,200.
The Society had an annual income budget of HK$80.6 million for 2007.
List of presidents
- 1950–51: C. Y. Kwan
- 1957–58: K. Y. Kan
- 1959–60: P. C. Woo
- 1962–6?: Peter A. L. Vine
- 1969–71: T. S. Lo
- 1971–7?: Brian Mcelney
- 1973–75: Peter C. Wong
- 1975–76: I. R. A. MacCallum
- 1976–77: K. L. Mak
- 1977–79: C. H. Wong
- 1979–81: Edmund Cheung
- 1981–83: P. S. Wan
- 1983–84: T. S. Tong
- 1984–85: Tim Freshwater
- 1985–87: Brian Tisdall
- 1987–89: Simon Ip
- 1989–92: Alfred Donald Yap
- 1992–93: Ambrose Lau
- 1993–96: Roderick Woo
- 1996–97: Christopher Chan
- 1997–2000: Anthony Chow
- 2000–02: Herbert Tsoi
- 2002–04: S. H. Ip
- 2004–05: Michael Lintern-Smith
- 2005–07: Peter C. L. Lo
- 2007–09: Lester Huang
- 2009–11: Huen Wong
- 2011–12: Junius Ho
- 2012–13: Dieter Yih
- 2013–14: Ambrose Lam
- 2014–16: Stephen Hung
- 2016–present: Thomas So
- Hong Kong Bar Association
- The Law Society
- The Incorporated Law Society of Northern Ireland
- The Law Society of Scotland
- Law Society of Singapore
- The Law Society of Upper Canada
- Postgraduate Certificate in Laws
- "The Law Society of Hong Kong". Hklawsoc.org.hk. 31 December 2012.
- Denyer, Simon. "Beijing reminds Hong Kong residents that it remains 'the real boss'". The Washington Post.
- "Lawyers back resign call over white paper". The Standard.
- "Lam voted out as Law Society chief". The Standard. 6 January 2009.
- The Law Society of Hong Kong Official website