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Tung: HK Developing As Legal Services Center
Hong Kong is developing as the legal services center for the region, said Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa Friday at the welcome reception for the 12th Annual Meeting and Conference 2002 of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association.

"One of Hong Kong's strengths is its legal system and legal profession. The common law principles that are the foundation of our laws are respected throughout the world, "Our legal profession is strong and fiercely independent. With about 5,000 solicitors, 800 barristers, 40 registered foreign law firms and 800 registered foreign lawyers, the legal profession is well equipped to serve both the local community and international businessmen and investors," he said.

Tung said Hong Kong will build upon this strength by ensuring that future generations of lawyers are trained to meet the legal challenges of the 21st century, and are of a world-class standard and by seizing the legal opportunities that will arise from China' s entry to the WTO.

He pointed out that there are two ways in which Hong Kong's lawyers can provide legal services to those doing business in the mainland.

"The first is by establishing representative offices in the mainland, under relaxed new regulations relating to foreign law firms and Hong Kong law firms. The second way is by assisting, in Hong Kong, in the resolution of disputes that arise in the mainland."

He said disputes can be resolved in Hong Kong either through litigation or through arbitration.

"Arbitration is particularly attractive since our international arbitration center has a reputation for excellence, and its awards are enforceable in the mainland," Tung said.

"By providing for dispute resolution in Hong Kong, those doing business in the mainland can be sure of a fair and independent determination, in a location that offers convenience, professionalism and world-class facilities," he said.

(People's Daily May 4, 2002)

HK Official: China's WTO Entry to Benefit Legal Professionals
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