The Mainland-Hong Kong/Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), which came into force on January 1, enabled HK lawyers to expand their business into the mainland market. On February 9, Ms. Lin Yueming, a Hong Kong lawyer, received her permit for taking part in internship in the Chinese mainland issued by the Shenzhen judicial bureau. It is reported that after a one-year internship, she may be qualified as a mainland lawyer and run business in the mainland.
In order to carry out the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between mainland and Hong Kong or Macao, the Ministry of Justice proclaimed for the first time in November 2003 that residents of Hong Kong and Macao, who have received the legal professional qualification certificate, have the right to apply for working in the mainland.
Lin Yueming and other 14 Hong Kong lawyers passed the mainland lawyer qualification examination in 1994, but they were not allowed to work in the mainland back then. At the end of 2003, Lin was entranced with the news that the Hong Kong lawyers might obtain rights to practice law in the mainland after passing the qualification exam.
On January 16, 2004, Lin submitted an application and asked to work at the Shenzhen branch of the Beijing Jindu Lawyer's Office as an internship. It is reported that she is the first Hong Kong lawyer to do her internship with a mainland law firm. On receiving the certificate, Lin said joyfully, "Most Hong Kong lawyers expect that the legal service market in the mainland will become increasingly thriving. I believe there will be more and more Hong Kong lawyers entering the law business in the mainland."
People in the legal circles hold that Lin's joining in a Shenzhen law firm is a milestone marking the legal cooperation between mainland and Hong Kong. Furthermore, the closer cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong will strengthen the training of legal personnel for both sides. In the near future, there will be an increasing number of lawyers with professional qualifications for both the mainland and Hong Kong or Macao.
(China.org.cn by Lixiao February 13, 2004)