The Department plays a key role in the legal system of Hong Kong and in maintaining the rule of law. We handle criminal prosecutions; draft Government legislation; advise the Administration on a vast array of legal issues; and represent the Government in civil proceedings. We have over 400 lawyers and 900 supporting staff.
The legal work of the Department is handled by six divisions: Civil Division, International Law Division, Law Drafting Division, Constitutional and Policy Affairs Division, National Security Prosecutions Division and Prosecutions Division. Administrative support is provided by the Administration and Development Division. There is also the Secretary for Justice's Office which provides legal and administrative support to the Secretary for Justice.
For those who are looking for a challenging and meaningful career in which you can serve the community and put your professional expertise to good use, the Department of Justice would be your ideal choice. If you are prepared to take up the challenges, do sign up and we look forward to welcoming you to our big family.
Find out more about the Department's work at About us > Organisation.
In addition to gaining hands-on knowledge from their everyday work, Counsel in the Civil Division receive training in areas of law relevant to the work of the Division. Speakers from local and overseas are regularly invited to speak on relevant topics such as administrative law, land, town planning and environmental law matters as well as new areas of law. Briefing sessions are held monthly to enable sharing of knowledge and practical skills by experienced in-house Counsel on selected subjects.
Counsel also have the opportunities to receive training in the Mainland and overseas to enhance their legal knowledge and exposure. The Division also provides training in advocacy for those who are interested in court appearance. This includes overseas advocacy training courses and placement in overseas barristers’ chambers. The In-house Civil Advocacy Course provides talks and mock hearings covering main areas of work of the Division, including civil trials and appeals, tribunal hearings, interlocutory applications and judicial reviews.
On the alternative dispute resolution aspect, in line with the Division’s work on implementing major initiatives in the promotion of wider use of mediation, Counsel attend the General Mediation Training Courses approved by the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Limited to enhance Counsel’s knowledge in mediation.
The International Law Division organises lectures and seminars from time to time on a variety of topics that are relevant to the Department’s work relating to international law. Recent talks conducted include the talk by Judge Liu Daqun, current Judge of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, on the topic of "The Contribution of the United Nations ad hoc Tribunals to the Development of International Criminal Law", the lecture titled "A Standalone Appellate Mechanism as a Reform Option for ISDS Mechanism" given by Sir Christopher Greenwood, GBE, CMG, QC, current Member of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal and former Judge of the International Court of Justice, and the talk by Mr. Jia Guide, Director-General of the Department of Treaty and Law of the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the latest developments in international law.
The International Law Division also arranges its counsel to attend training within or outside Hong Kong for their professional development where appropriate.
Since few local lawyers have any experience in legislative drafting before joining the Law Drafting Division, the training of drafters is a priority for the Department. Drafts prepared by drafters are subject to clearance by directorate officers, which enables juniors to draw experience from seniors and accumulate skills.
Apart from providing on-the-job training, the division holds internal seminars, for which officers in the Department as well as external experts are invited to be speakers to share local and overseas drafting experience. In-house training also covers topics related to language issues and legal translation.
Regular monthly meetings for all counsel in the division are held to keep counsel updated on current issues relevant to the division and provide an easy means of knowledge sharing among counsel at all ranks in the division.
Drafters also participate in overseas legislative drafting conferences and undertake training attachments in other jurisdictions to broaden their horizons and maintain international connections.
Click here to see what drafters say about their work in the division.
Given the specialist nature of its work, professional training for counsel working in the Constitutional and Policy Affairs Division is mostly provided in-house, with counsel gaining experience and exposure through handling a variety of work in the division, from legal advisory to policy work, organisation and attendance of major conferences, and participation in negotiations and committee work, etc. From time to time, internal training talks are provided on such topics as aspects of the Basic Law, human rights and rules of procedure of the Legislative Council. The division also arranges for counsel to attend external training courses locally and overseas for their professional development, where appropriate.
Advocacy is the core business of the Prosecutions Division. The Prosecutions Division aims to equip prosecutors, both in-house and those acting on fiat, with the necessary skills to conduct prosecutions to a high professional standard.
All new recruits are required to join an intensive 12-week Criminal Advocacy Course comprising lectures, mock court exercises and attachment to magistrates’ courts. Learning does not stop there however. Continuing Education Programmes, often in the form of seminars, are regularly offered to our prosecutors, helping them keep pace with the latest development in criminal law.
The Joint Training Programme, co-organised by the Prosecutions Division of the Department of Justice, the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Law Society of Hong Kong, is held twice every year for young lawyers in the private sector wishing to prosecute cases on behalf of the Department of Justice. The Prosecutions Division also provides training opportunities to prosecutors from other government departments and statutory bodies with delegated powers to prosecute cases summarily in the magistrates’ courts.
Our counsel are consistently sent out of Hong Kong to attend a wide range of international training courses to help them better discharge their duties in this age of ever closer cross-border cooperation in the combat of crime.
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