Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

Bar Association head calls for rethink on ban on foreign counsel national security cases

Bar Association head calls for rethink on ban on foreign counsel national security cases

Victor Dawes, re-elected as Bar Association chairman, says leadership wants to resume once-annual trips to Beijing for talks with officials

A blanket ban on the involvement of overseas lawyers in national security trials in the city would not be “conducive to the administration of justice and rule of law”, the re-elected head of the Hong Kong Bar Association has said.

Victor Dawes on Thursday added the association leadership hoped to make a trip to Beijing this year in the wake of the recent reopening of the border.

Dawes spelled out the association’s stance on a total ban on foreign lawyers taking on national security cases after the commercial law expert was re-elected as chairman of the 1,500-member Bar Association at its annual general meeting.

He emphasised that the association had not seen any concrete proposals on national security court proceedings yet.

“The Bar Council has considered the general direction. We do not believe that there should be a complete ban on overseas counsel for all [national security] cases for either prosecuting or defending,” Dawes said. “Not all cases involve confidential matters or state secrets.”

(Left to right) Derek Chan, a Hong Kong Bar Association vice- chairman, Victor Dawes, the re-elected chairman, and Jose Antonio Maurellet, also a vice-chairman, after the organisation’s annual general meeting and elections.

Dawes appealed for “flexibility” to be preserved.

“We also believe it is more desirable. And insofar as perception is concerned, it will be more acceptable to the public if there is more flexibility,” Dawes said.

Controversy over overseas lawyers’ involvement in sensitive cases erupted after Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu asked for Beijing’s interpretation of the national security law after a failed bid in the Court of Final Appeal to block London-based barrister Timothy Owen from appearing for media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying’s at his trial on allegations of collusion with foreign forces.

The National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, China’s top legislative body, last month clarified that the courts should ask the chief executive for a certificate to verify whether an offence involved national security or if the evidence featured state secrets when such questions arose.

The Committee for Safeguarding National Security, chaired by Lee, could also step in and make a decision if the courts failed to ask the chief executive for a certificate.

The committee met last week and backed the government’s proposal to amend the Legal Practitioners Ordinance as soon as possible.

Some in the Beijing loyalist camp insist there should be a total ban on overseas lawyers acting as defence counsel in national security cases and also on them appearing for the prosecution.

The annual trip by association senior figures has been on hold since 2017 because of tensions between previous office holders and Beijing, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dawes said it used to be a tradition among the Bar Association leadership to visit Beijing to meet officials but the arrangement was put on hold in the last few years.

“In the past year, there were plans to arrange a visit to the Greater Bay Area, but eventually it was also postponed because of the epidemic. Now that the border has reopened, if the situation on the mainland permits, we hope to be able to resume the visit arrangement in the coming year,” he said.

The Bar Association has not visited Beijing since prominent human rights lawyer Philip Dykes took the helm in 2018, and later Paul Harris in 2021.

The two were vocal in raising concerns over policies and developments they felt to be detrimental to the city’s rule of law.

Commercial lawyer Jose Antonio Maurellet and Derek Chan Ching-lung, a specialist in criminal law, were re-elected as vice-chairmen of the association at the same meeting.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.