It is with great honour that we announce our Consultant, Mr. Thomas T.H. Kwan, has been appointed as one of the first batch of 15 Solicitor Advocates in Hong Kong on 6 February 2013.
As a result, Mr. Kwan will now be able to represent our clients in civil cases in the higher courts (High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal), a job previously reserved for only barristers.
What is Solicitor Advocate?
On 20 January 2010, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council passed the Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Ordinance which established qualified Hong Kong Solicitors to appear as ‘Solicitor-Advocates’ in the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal. Previously, only barristers and no solicitors have the right of audience in the higher courts of Hong Kong.
How does one qualify as a Solicitor Advocate?
A Higher Rights of Audience Assessment Board, chaired by a Judge and comprising 10 other members (including judges, Senior Counsels and Solicitors) has been appointed by the Chief Justice to receive and determine applications from solicitors with substantial litigation advocacy and dispute resolution experience for the grant of higher rights of audience. In order to obtain Higher Rights of Audience, applicants will have to pass the assessment by the Board.
What benefit will this bring to me as a client?
The most immediate benefit is that Mr. Kwan will be able to represent you in the Higher Courts (Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal) instead of having to instruct a barrister to do so.
Although you may still hire a counsel if you so chooses in civil proceedings, the fact that Mr. Kwan can represent you will mean that you have the option of not hiring a counsel for your case if you choose to proceed without one.
This may potentially mean cost savings for you as Mr. Kwan may not have to re-read all the documents if he is following your case.
Where can I find the full list of Solicitor Advocates in Hong Kong?
You can find the full list on the Law Society of Hong Kong website. It is located under ‘Find Legal Service’, ‘List of Solicitor Advocates’.
Alternatively, you can also use the direct link here: http://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/pub_e/HRA/default.asp
Where can I find out more about Solicitor Advocates?
This article from LexisNexis provides some history, context and background information on Solicitor Advocates and Higher Rights of Audience:
The following article from Legal Week on 8 February 2013 commented on the first batch of 15 lawyers that were granted higher rights to appear in court: