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Judicial Reform | "Barrister" and "Lawyer" should not be distinguished between high and low


The Hong Kong legal profession provides two types of lawyer services, namely "solicitor" and "solicitor". They are commonly referred to as "barristers" and "lawyers". Judging from the nature of the work, the two should have been fighting against each other, and there is no high or low level.

The Hong Kong legal profession provides two types of lawyer services, namely "solicitor" and "solicitor". They are commonly referred to as "barristers" and "lawyers".

Judging from the nature of the work, the two should be divided into courts, and there is no distinction between high and low classes. However, with the word "big", it is inevitable that some people will misunderstand that "lawyers are short, barristers are superior", but in fact "barristers" are indeed Grant more powers and status than "lawyers", resulting in system injustice.

There have long been voices in the society asking for the merger of the two professions to promote "lawyers' equal rights," but the dispute over the years has been fruitless.

"Lawyers are dwarf, barristers are superior"?

The "Solicitor" specializes in defense and consulting work. The "Solicitor" mainly prepares legal documents and engages in out-of-court legal affairs. The two have always worked together in a division of labor, and together they support half of Hong Kong's legal professional services; however, due to historical reasons and translation Wrong, the two are referred to as "barristers" and "(small) lawyers" respectively.

The origin of the incident was that the United Kingdom adopted a system of division and cooperation between "solicitors" and "solicitors" as early as the 14th century, and it was introduced to Hong Kong in 1844.

In terms of academic requirements, in fact, the two are almost the same. They also have to complete the four-year Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or other equivalent legal professional courses for a one-year professional certificate of law (PCLL). The only difference is that the former passes through one You can become a "solicitor" during a one-year internship; if you want to become a "solicitor", you have to go through a two-year "trainee solicitor" (trainee solicitor) training.

But compared with the gap in education, their authority, image, and reputation are "different from heaven."

The Hong Kong legal profession provides two types of lawyer services-Solicitor and Barrister. Their functions and powers are quite different. The latter retains the tradition of wearing wigs just like judges.

(Photo by Chen Zhuohui)

Unequal power, image and reputation

The most obvious difference is that "solicitors" enjoy unrestricted right to speak in courts at all levels, but "solicitors" can only have the right to speak in lower courts such as the Magistrates' Courts and the District Court; moreover, " Litigation lawyers must be sole practitioners who must operate independently from the interests of the parties. They are believed to be able to provide more objective professional advice to the parties and are bound by the "non-rejection principle."

This kind of "differential treatment" derived from job characteristics will inevitably cause "image gaps."

First of all, if a "lawyer" has been practicing for at least ten years and has performed well, you can apply for the title of "senior lawyer" and enjoy a higher reputation in the industry and social status; however, no matter how rich the experience, no matter how extraordinary the achievements are. "Solicitors" will not have a different title of "senior".

Secondly, the "lawyer" still retains the tradition of wearing a fake court. It was originally the British royal family canonized the "lawyer" as a symbol of hereditary royal nobility such as earls, barons, and viscounts. Over time, the "lawyer" became like a judge. The distinguished "wig class".

All these make the "lawyers" seem to be superior.

Senior counsel, Lin Yingqian, has served as a prosecutor in the Department of Justice for more than 20 years and has extensive prosecution experience. However, she was transferred from a lawyer to a barrister last year and became a "senior" one year later.

(Photo by Ou Jiale)

In fact, some countries that are also affected by the British judicial tradition have gradually cancelled this division of labor after leaving the British colonial rule.

For example, Canada merged two professions when it became independent in 1867 and trained lawyers to work as both barrister and lawyer.

However, Hong Kong did not reform its system following the transfer of sovereignty. Instead, it spread this "unequal division of labor" together.

The Legislative Council passed the Third Reading of the "Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 2021" at the end of last month (August 25), allowing legal officers who are not barristers to be qualified to be appointed as Senior Counsel (commonly known as "Senior Counsel") , And the incident caused concern and controversy for a while, precisely because it corrected industry injustices to a certain extent-so that senior legal officers who did not have the functions of "barristers" and "lawyers" could be appointed as "senior lawyers". "Barrister" qualifications.

He Junyao, a Legislative Council member who was the former chairman of the Law Society of Hong Kong, believes that the passage of the 2021 Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Regulations Draft has corrected industry injustices to a certain extent.

(Profile picture)

The merger dispute is still inconclusive

Legislative Councilor Ho Junyao, who was the former chairman of the Law Society of Hong Kong, pointed out that in the long run, the Hong Kong government should take the initiative to merge the two legal services and unify the names of the industries in order to correct historical mistakes.

However, the industry, either on the basis of its own interests or the order of the industry, has different opinions on whether "solicitors" and "solicitors" need to be merged. There is still no conclusion.

The merger of "barristers" and "lawyers" may mean the abolition of professional division of labor and speech restrictions.

For consumers who originally needed to hire lawyers and barristers to handle litigation work at the same time for a litigation case, the merger can save legal expenses as well as additional administrative time.

In addition, the former president of the Law Society of Hong Kong Peng Yunxi and the current president Chen Zeming both expressed in an interview with "Hong Kong 01" that if "solicitors" are allowed to have the right to speak in higher courts, it will be more in the public interest and will be more beneficial to the public. Professional development of young lawyers.

Lin Feng, the deputy dean of the Faculty of Law of the City University of Hong Kong, pointed out that there is currently no conclusive conclusion that "a merger must be worse than no merger" or "no merger is definitely worse than merger."

However, some people believe that the merger may pose a threat to the survival of "barristers", resulting in a decline in the overall level of advocacy, and consumers cannot be protected by the "non-rejection principle".

Tan Yunzhi, the former chairman of the Bar Association, pointed out to "Hong Kong 01" that the merger issue involves the entire ecology and interests.

She believes that the flexibility and professionalism of barristers is more in line with the interests of the legal profession, because litigation cases often involve specific areas of expertise, such as intellectual property and public law, etc., and each barrister has its own professional scope, and law firms can engage through special appointments. And save costs.

Lin Feng, the deputy dean of the Faculty of Law of the City University of Hong Kong, analyzed the calls for mergers to "Hong Kong 01" and pointed out that at present, there is no conclusive conclusion that "mergers must be worse than non-mergers" or "non-mergers must be worse than mergers."

However, he also believes that the difference between the two will indeed gradually become blurred with the development of the market, because "Many studies by British and American scholars have pointed out that many barristers do everything to survive, and some solicitors have gradually developed into a certain aspect. Expert", so the merger of the two may be a matter of course.

Related articles include:

Judicial Reform ‧ 上 | Practicing Qualifications Amendments to the Controversy-Are Barristers Higher than Lawyers?

Judicial Reform ‧ Part | Should "Barristers" and "Lawyers" be merged?

For details, please read the 283th "Hong Kong 01" Electronic Weekly Newsletter (September 20, 2021) on

the topic of judicial reform


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Source: hk1

All news articles on 2021-09-24

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