We are all supposed to be equal before the law. We are all entitled to the due process of law, but very few can afford it.
Laws and procedure are too complicated:
Laws are so complicated that we need legal professionals to handle even the most mundane affairs.
The cost of due legal process is exorbitant:
Because laws are made too complicated, only highly skilled legal professionals fully understand them. The high legal fees deter most people. The lawyers become the only winners in any legal battle.
Overly cumbersome legal team:
Because of the division between solicitor and barrister, you need two lawyers in any legal battle. In the high court, a third senior counsel is required.
Monopoly among legal practitioners:
To practice law, one requires professional qualifications from one of two institutions – Hong Kong University and City University. (Chinese University will soon be the third.) The numbers of legal professionals are kept low to increase the price of legal services.
Simplify laws and legal procedures:
Laws must be simplified so that average people can understand them. The goal is to simplify laws in such a way so that they can be understood with common sense. In principle, ordinary citizens should be able to defend themselves in court.
Complicated legal procedural has created a situation in which only the rich can afford expensive lawyers. This distorts justice, yet none of the so-called defenders of our legal justice has ever attempted to remedy such blatant injustice inherent in our system.
Break up the small circle legal cartel:
Although making it easier for people to pursue justice will help to lower legal fees, some may feel disadvantaged without professional legal assistance. The world-wide trend is towards freedom of movement for skilled manpower. We can break up the local cartel by permitting more overseas lawyer to take up cases in Hong Kong. This can help bring the legal fees to a reasonable level and allow different people with different resources and needs to obtain proper legal services and justice.
Amalgamate the services of Solicitors and Barristers:
All common law countries except Britain and Hong Kong have already combined the two, slimming down the legal team to lower cost. The idea that the quality of Hong Kong justice can only be preserved with a separate barrister system is groundless and self-serving.
One way to bring this about is to allow any lawyer to possess the qualification of both barrister and solicitor. The less experienced can be required to do an internship period while the more experienced (with over five years of practice) can qualify directly. Professionals in the financial industry often possess several professional qualifications without restriction.
According to our Basic Law, Article 142: “The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on the basis of maintaining the previous systems concerning the professions, formulate provisions on its own for assessing the qualifications for practice in the various professions.”
There is no restriction on combining the two qualifications and possession of multiple qualifications.
Allow any ordinary people to help others to defend in court:
The existing system does not permit an ordinary person to take up any defending role for others in court. This obviously comes from the standpoint of lawyers, rather than justice, benefiting. Although any person can defend another in court, that person may not possess the requisite legal or professional knowledge. For example, a physician should be able to act on behalf of the defendant in medical negligence cases, a banker on banking matters, and a law enforcement agent can help defend criminal cases. The decision as to whether to employ the service of a non-lawyer should be a choice of the person involved - a consumer choice.
Open up the legal qualifying examination:
Presently only two institutions are allowed to train lawyers, limiting the number and elevating the fees. Like our High School Leaving Examination, it should be open to any candidate without quota, regardless of background. Those who pass the examination should qualify to practice.