1. CEPA

Following the signing of the main text of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement ("CEPA") on 29 June 2003, the Government of HKSAR and the Central People's Government ("CPG") signed the six Annexes to CEPA on 29 September 2003. Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under Annex 4 of CEPA which came into effect since 1 January 2004.

Please click here for the qualifying criteria of "Hong Kong law firm" under Annex 5 of CEPA.

2. Supplement to CEPA

Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under Supplement to CEPA which was signed on 27 October 2004 and came into effect since 1 January 2005.

3. Supplement II to CEPA

Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under Supplement II to CEPA which was signed on 18 October 2005 and came into effect since 1 January 2006.

4. Supplement III to CEPA

Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under Supplement III to CEPA which was signed on 27 June 2006 and came into effect since 1 January 2007.

5. Supplement IV to CEPA

Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under Supplement IV to CEPA which was signed on 29 June 2007 and came into effect on 1 January 2008.

6. Supplement VI to CEPA

Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under Supplement VI to CEPA which was signed on 9 May 2009 and came into effect on 1 October 2009.

7. Supplement VIII to CEPA

Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under Supplement VIII to CEPA which was signed on 13 December 2011 and came into effect on 1 April 2012.

8. Supplement IX to CEPA

Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under Supplement IX to CEPA which was signed on 29 June 2012 and came into effect on 1 January 2013.

9. Supplement X to CEPA

Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under Supplement X to CEPA which was signed on 29 August 2013 and came into effect on 1 January 2014.

Remarks : There are no commitments on legal services under Supplement V and VII to CEPA

10. Agreement between the Mainland and Hong Kong on Achieving Basic Liberalization of Trade in Services in Guangdong

Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under the Agreement between the Mainland and Hong Kong on Achieving Basic Liberalization of Trade in Services in Guangdong which was signed on 18 December 2014 and came into effect on 1 March 2015.

11. Agreement on Trade in Services

Please click here for the full text of Mainland's commitments on legal services under the Agreement on Trade in Services which was signed on 27 November 2015 and came into effect on 1 June 2016.

12. Investment Agreement

Please click here for the full text of the Investment Agreement which was signed on 28 June 2017 and came into effect on 1 January 2018. The Investment Agreement covers admission of investments for non-services sector.

13. Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation

Please click here for the full text of the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation which was signed on 28 June 2017 and came into effect on the same date. The Agreement contains provisions on cooperation in legal services.

14. Amendment to paragraph (3) of Article 6 of Annex 3 to the Agreement on Trade in Services

Please click here for the amendment to paragraph (3) of Article 6 of Annex 3 to the Agreement on Trade in Services regarding the removal of attestation requirement for identification documents of Hong Kong permanent residents applying for Mainland legal professional qualifications. The amendment came into effect on 1 July 2017.

15. Amendment to Table 1 of Annex 1 to the Agreement on Trade in Services

Please click here for the amendment to Table 1 of Annex 1 to the Agreement on Trade in Services. Starting from 1 March 2019, the geographical scope of setting up of partnership associations by Hong Kong and Mainland law firms has been expanded from Guangzhou Municipality, Shenzhen Municipality and Zhuhai Municipality to the entire Mainland.

16. Agreement Concerning Amendment to the Agreement on Trade in Services

The Amendment Agreement, which was signed on 21 November 2019, updates the commitments on liberalisation and facilitation of trade in services under the Agreement on Trade in Services. Major new liberalisation measures on legal services include (1) removing the restriction on the minimum capital input ratio of the Hong Kong side for partnership associations set up by Hong Kong and Mainland law firms in the entire Mainland; (2) allowing Hong Kong legal practitioners to be employed as legal consultants by not more than 3 Mainland law firms simultaneously, and to replace the relevant approval requirements with filing procedures; and (3) allowing Hong Kong legal practitioners to obtain practice qualification in the Greater Bay Area by passing a special examination and to engage in matters on specific areas of Mainland law. The amendments will be implemented on 1 June 2020.

Please click here for Mainland’s commitments on legal services as stated in Table 1 and Table 2 of Annex 1 to the Amended Agreement on Trade in Services.



Please click Frequently Asked Questions for frequently asked questions on legal services.

More information on CEPA is available on the Trade and Industry Departments CEPA page.

For details on the laws and regulations promulgated by the Mainland relating to the implementation of the Mainland's commitments under CEPA, please refer to the webpage of the the Trade and Industry Department (in Chinese only).

The National Unified Legal Professional Qualification Examination (National Legal Qualification Examination, formerly known as the National Judicial Examination)

As from 1 January 2004, Hong Kong permanent residents of Chinese citizenship are allowed under CEPA to sit the National Judicial Examination (NJE, predecessor of the National Legal Qualification Examination) and to acquire the Mainland legal professional qualification. The first NJE participated by Hong Kong candidates took place in Shenzhen in September 2004. Since 2005, Hong Kong has become an examination centre for the conduct of the NJE. In addition to sitting the NJE in the Mainland, candidates from Hong Kong, as well as those from the Mainland and Taiwan, can apply to sit the examination in Hong Kong.

Starting from 2018, the National Legal Qualification Examination replaced the NJE. According to the Implementation Measures for the National Unified Legal Professional Qualification Examination, candidates from Hong Kong, as well as those from the Mainland and Taiwan, can still apply to sit the examination and take it in Hong Kong.

Internship in Mainland law firms in Hong Kong and shortened internship for experienced lawyers

From 1 January 2007 onwards, Hong Kong residents who have acquired Mainland lawyer qualifications or legal professional qualifications are allowed to undertake internship in a branch office of a Mainland law firm set up in Hong Kong.

Starting from 1 October 2009, Hong Kong legal practitioners who have at least 5 years' experience in legal practice and who have passed the NJE (now replaced by the National Legal Qualification Examination) are allowed to undergo the intensive training offered by lawyers associations in the Mainland that lasts for at least 1 month. Upon completion of the training and passing the assessment, they can apply to practise as lawyers in the Mainland.