Cash allowance scheme set

Legal officer changes proposed

The Government has proposed to amend the law to allow legal officers of the Department of Justice to be appointed as a senior counsel.   At a media session after attending a Legislative Council meeting today, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng explained the rationale behind the Government's proposal.   She said: “Why is it that my colleagues in the Department of Justice - who by their qualifications are solicitors but are actually arguing very well and very efficiently with great eloquence and efficacy in the Court of Final Appeal - are not being recognised when they are actually even better than their counterparts? That has always been something that sometimes troubles me.   “And for that reason, I have always been thinking about how we are going to overcome that problem.   “Now, what really triggers my determination to take this further forward is when one of our Deputy Directors of Public Prosecutions, Vinci Lam, took silk on May 29.   “That really showed that the formality has to be done away with so that in all fairness to those of my colleagues who are having great efficacy with the requisite requirements as provided in section 31A of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance, they will have the same chance of being considered to be granted this particular recognition that the society as a whole will cherish.”   Ms Cheng added that the proposal will not change the eligibility requirements for appointment as a senior counsel under section 31A of the aforesaid ordinance, including having sufficient ability, standing and experience as well as knowledge of the law.
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