Lawyers backing professionalism win Law Society poll - RTHK
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Lawyers backing professionalism win Law Society poll

2021-08-25 HKT 09:26
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  • The five lawyers elected to the Law Society's council have all warned of the consequences of losing self-regulatory power if the group became too politicised. Photo: RTHK
    The five lawyers elected to the Law Society's council have all warned of the consequences of losing self-regulatory power if the group became too politicised. Photo: RTHK
Five lawyers, who argued that the Law Society should focus on professional issues, have been elected to the city’s largest solicitors group's 20-member council in a high-profile election.

The result comes after Chief Executive Carrie Lam last week warned the group to stay out of politics, or risk the fate of the Professional Teachers’ Union – which disbanded after the government cut ties with it.

Jimmy Chan, Tom Fu, Justin Yuen, Ronald Sum and incumbent Careen Wong have all warned of the consequences of losing self-regulatory power if the Law Society became too politicised.

All five winners have said they had ties to Beijing’s liaison office in the city, but they insisted those links were irrelevant in this election.

Lawmaker Paul Tse, who's also a solicitor, said Lam's comments may have had some effect.

“Normally, we would expect a warning or comments from Carrie Lam might have the opposite effect.

“But on this occasion it turns out that it might have just hit the right button – that people are not so keen about the profession losing its self-governing capacity,” Tse said.

The three unsuccessful candidates were Selma Masood, Henry Wheare and Denis Brock, one of two incumbents seeking re-election. The other incumbent, Jonathan Ross, withdrew from the election after reporting that he’d been threatened.

Last Tuesday, Lam said there are many civic, professional and student groups in Hong Kong, but all of them should operate in accordance with their principles and the law.

“Earlier, the Education Bureau considered it necessary to sever ties with the Professional Teachers' Union. In future, if other professional groups, including the Law Society...put politics above their legal profession, the SAR government will also consider cutting ties with it,” she had said.

Her comments followed similar warnings from the People's Daily.