The 2017 Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year was held on 9 January. Eminent bar leaders from abroad gathered in Hong Kong to experience and witness this solemn ceremony. The Law Society was honoured to have been invited by the Judiciary to organise a hospitality programme for the overseas guests. This year, we welcomed 76 delegates from 14 jurisdictions.
The day started with a visit to the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal. The Hon.Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma welcomed the 41 head delegates. Registrar Kwang provided our guests with a historical overview of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Building, which was followed by a guided tour.
One highlight of the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year’s programme was the Presidents’ Roundtable, which was co-chaired by Mr.Thomas So, President of the Law Society, and Ms.Winnie Tam SC, then-Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association (“HKBA”). The theme of this year was “Connectivity: Role of Professional Organisations in Promoting Connectivity for Members’ Benefit”. Fifty-one representatives from over 36 bar associations and law societies participated, sharing insights on how members of the legal profession around the world could connect through professional organisations and through harmonisation of laws. This was followed by a luncheon jointly hosted by the Law Society and HKBA.
In the afternoon, the delegates visited the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”). The visit was led by Council Members, Ms.Bonita Chan, Mr.Simon Lai and Mr. Roden Tong. Mr. Stefan Gannon, General Counsel of the HKMA, gave a presentation on the topic of Hong Kong as an International Financial Centre followed by a tour round the HKMA Information Centre.
At the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year, the Chief Justice, the Secretary for Justice, the President of the Law Society and the then﹣Chairman of HKBA all delivered enlightening speeches. The speech by the President of the Law Society was posted on the Law Society website. Nine Korean law students and young lawyers who were in Hong Kong for an internship programme were also invited to attend the annual event.
The day concluded with a dinner reception jointly hosted by the Law Society and HKBA with, the Chief Justice and the Secretary for Justice as our honourable guests.
Exchanges with overseas delegates continued on the following days. Representatives of the Law Society had meetings with representatives of the International Association of Young Lawyers, the Tokyo Bar Association and the Law Council of Australia. The Law Society also signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Bar Association of India and the Mongolian Bar Association on 9 and 10 January respectively.
From left: President Thomas So; the Secretary for Justice Mr. Rimsky Yuen SC; the Hon. Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma; and Ms. Winnie Tam SC, then-Chairman of HKBA proposing a toast with the guests at the dinner reception.
Ceremonial Opening of Legal Year 2017
President Thomas So spoke at the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year 2017.
Delegates enjoying the dinner co-hosted by the Law Society and HKBA.
Mr. Stefan Gannon, General Counsel of the HKMA, greeted the delegates at the HKMA.
More than 41 chief delegates attended the Presidents’ Roundtable.