IN RE v. THOMAS, ROBERT NEVILLE Q.C.

HCMP002063/1996

1996, M.P. No. 2063

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF HONG KONG

HIGH COURT

MISCELLANEOUS PROCEEDINGS

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IN THE MATTER of THOMAS, ROBERT NEVILLE Q.C. for admission as a barrister
and
IN THE MATTER of Section 27 of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance, Cap.159

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Coram : Hon Yang, C.J. in Chambers

Date of Hearing : 12 July 1996

Date of Judgment : 12 July 1996

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J U D G M E N T

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Hon Yang, C.J.:

1. This is an application for a London silk to be admitted to appear for the defendants/appellants in Civil Appeal No.82 of 1996.

2. The Attorney General takes a neutral stance.

3. I have considered the points of law which will be raised in the appeal, i.e. agency, contract, certified cheque. In my view, thecase is not one of such unusual difficulty or complexity, or one which requires specialist knowledge of the kind not available fromthe local Bar, that it necessitates the admission of a London silk, no matter how eminent.

4. In coming to my judgment, I take into account that the appellants and their professional advisers genuinely wish to have the assistanceof the London silk concerned.

5. On the point about the need to criticize the conduct of a local counsel who represented the defendants in the trial, my view is thatthis is not a good enough reason for the admission of overseas counsel. This reason does not per se make it a case in which it isdesirable for a London silk to appear. If the reason given here is adopted, any major criticisms of counsel will by itself give riseto a need for overseas counsel. The fact that the counsel facing criticism comes from a well-known legal family in Hong Kong is neitherhere nor there. By this line of reasoning, the independence, integrity and professionalism of the local Bar seems to have been calledinto question. I cannot believe this is what this application is intended to do.

6. Indeed, the qualities I have alluded to above have never been doubted, either here or in other jurisdictions.

7. For these reasons, I refuse the application.

( T L Yang )

Chief Justice

Representation:

Mr Christopher Smith (Shaw Ng & Ma) for Applicant

Mr Joseph Fok (Hong Kong Bar Association) for Respondent

Ms R C Drake, Senior Crown Counsel, for Attorney General’s Chambers