Introduction

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is committed to the effective implementation of the "one country, two systems" principle. To pursue this objective, the DoJ has taken steps to develop mutual legal assistance between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), to organise cooperative activities with Mainland counterparts, to hold fora and symposia in the Mainland and to foster exchanges and visits between the legal personnel of both sides. This web page provides information on matters concerning mutual legal assistance between the Mainland and the HKSAR as well as the various projects and cooperative activities undertaken by the DoJ to promote greater understanding of the respective legal systems of Hong Kong and the Mainland.

We also include certain links that will lead you to other web pages which contain useful materials on the Mainland and its legal system.

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Mutual Legal Assistance

Since the Reunification on 1 July 1997, the DoJ has taken active steps to foster closer cooperation with the Mainland. Arrangements have been reached with Mainland authorities on matters relating to mutual assistance on legal matters between Hong Kong and the Mainland. They are:

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Cooperation with Mainland Justice Bureaux and Departments

The DoJ has also entered into Legal Services Co-operation Agreements with the following Justice Departments/Bureaux to foster cooperation on legal matters -

On 13 December 2004, the DoJ signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation on Legal Services with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to follow-up on the implementation of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) and to promote closer cooperation between the legal services sector of Hong Kong and the Mainland.

Pursuant to the above-mentioned Co-operation Agreements and Memorandum, the DoJ and the relevant parties would exchange information on the legal system and legal professions. The DoJ and the Justice Departments/Bureaux concerned would also provide training opportunities to relevant officials to enhance mutual understanding of each other’s legal system and practices. The Cooperation Agreements also provide channels whereby technical and procedural problems arising from the implementation of CEPA in the relevant provinces or municipalities could be addressed.

On 7 January 2019, the DoJ signed a record of meeting with the MoJ on further enhancement of co-operation in legal services between the two places. Details of the record of meeting can be found here  pdf file format.

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Cooperation with other Mainland Organs

In October 2010, the Co-operation Arrangement on Legal Services for Commercial Matters and Arbitration was signed between the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and the DoJ. The parties to the Arrangement agreed to enhance cooperation on legal and arbitration services of the following areas :

  • fostering exchanges and co-operation between Hong Kong and Mainland legal services and arbitration bodies
  • strengthening exchange of information and collaboration in organising conferences on legal services and related activities
  • facilitating training in commercial and arbitration law so as to encourage better risk management by enterprises and effective use of dispute resolution mechanisms for commercial matters
  • promoting co-operation and exchanges between legal departments under the CPPIT and related bodies in Hong Kong in arbitration and mediation, etc.

In October 2017, the DoJ and the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government renewed the “Co-operative Arrangement on Legal Matters”, with a view to continuing the effective platform and exchange mechanism for co-operation between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in the following areas:

  • communication of major legal issues relevant to the other side
  • providing legal information and reference materials to the other side which are relevant to its law making process
  • timely communication and exchange on legal issues relating to Hong Kong-Shenzhen co-operative projects
  • mutual exchange and visits between the two places, as well as providing training opportunities to officials of the other side

Both sides first signed the “Co-operative Arrangement on Legal Matters” in 2011 for a term of 5 years.

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Fora and Symposia held in the Mainland

A. The Hong Kong Legal Services Forum

1. 2010 Shanghai - “Hong Kong Legal Services - Global Vision"

On 6 July 2010, the DoJ organised a thematic Forum entitled “Hong Kong Legal Services - Global Vision" in Shanghai in collaboration with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Hong Kong Bar Association, the Law Society of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and the International Court of Arbitration of International Chamber of Commerce (Asia Office). The Forum was held as part of Hong Kong’s efforts to promote professional services of Hong Kong during the World Expo 2010.

The Secretary for Justice officiated the opening of the Forum, which was attended by senior officials in the Mainland, including Mr Zhao Dacheng, Vice Minister of the MoJ. 

SJ’s speech at the Forum  pdf file format  

Other speakers of the Forum included representative of the department and lawyers and arbitrators with extensive international experience. In the Forum, the speakers introduced various topics such as risk management in international trade, intellectual property, corporate finance, corporate governance and legal issues in resolving international commercial disputes. The Forum was very well attended with the presence of over 500 legal practitioners and representatives of enterprises in the Mainland and has been well-received by the audience.

Details of the Forum can be found on the webpage of “The Hong Kong Legal Services Forum”.

2. 2012 Guangzhou - “Hong Kong Legal Services – Think Global, Think Hong Kong”

The successful conclusion of the Hong Kong Legal Services Forum held in Shanghai has demonstrated the value of such fora in promoting legal and arbitration services of Hong Kong to the Mainland. On 13 September 2012, the DoJ together with other co-organizers held the second Hong Kong Legal Services Forum in Guangzhou.

The theme of the second Forum was “Hong Kong Legal Services – Think Global, Think Hong Kong”. The Forum aimed to highlight Hong Kong’s strength as the international hub for legal services and dispute resolution. It also focused on legal issues and risk management that Mainland enterprises might face with while “going-out” of China. Speakers included prominent lawyers and arbitrators from Hong Kong who were highly experienced in international trade, intellectual property, corporate finance as well as in dispute resolution matters. Through the mock arbitration and discussions on case studies, participants gained a deeper understanding on various legal issues as well as how arbitration could be used to resolve disputes. The Forum was very well attended with about 700 guests.

SJ’s speech at the Forum  pdf file format  

Details of the Forum can be found at “The Hong Kong Legal Services Forum 2012”.

3. 2014 Qingdao - “Hong Kong Legal Services – Think Global, Think Hong Kong”

Building on the success of the Hong Kong Legal Services Forum held in Shanghai in 2010 and in Guangzhou in 2012, DoJ joined hands with the other co-organisers and the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission Hong Kong Arbitration Center to hold the third Hong Kong Legal Services Forum in Qingdao, Shandong on 16 September 2014. The third Forum brought together nearly 800 participants.

Continuing with the theme of “Hong Kong Legal Services – Think Global, Think Hong Kong”, the Forum highlighted the vital role Hong Kong plays as an international legal and dispute resolution services centre, as well as the assistance that the Hong Kong legal professionals and dispute resolution practitioners can provide to Mainland enterprises that are “going global”. The Forum invited experienced Hong Kong practising solicitors, barristers and arbitrators with abundant international exposure to discuss various practical legal issues. The topics included legal issues and risk management for Mainland enterprises “going-out” of China. Maritime law, maritime dispute resolution and protection of intellectual property were also featured. A mock arbitration was held to demonstrate how a cross-boundary commercial dispute could effectively be resolved by arbitration. Besides, there was a panel discussion and case study on legal issues relating to offshore financing and mergers & acquisitions which also featured the new Companies Ordinance.

SJ’s speech at the Forum  pdf file format  

Details of the Forum can be found at “The Hong Kong Legal Services Forum 2014”.

4. 2016 Nanjing - “Jiangsu • Hong Kong - Together we seize global business opportunities”

Riding on the success of the past three forums, the DoJ held the fourth Hong Kong Legal Services Forum in Nanjing on 15 November 2016. This time the other co-organisers included the China Maritime Arbitration Commission Hong Kong Arbitration Center. The Forum was also supported by the relevant legal and dispute resolution bodies and other organisations in the Mainland. The Forum was very well received with over 860 participants.

The fourth Forum highlighted Hong Kong’s position as a leading centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the international legal and dispute resolution services that can be provided by Hong Kong in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Forum brought together experienced Hong Kong practising barristers, solicitors and arbitrators with abundant international exposure to explore various practical legal issues including legal risk management and intellectual property issues faced by Mainland enterprises when they invest overseas. A mock arbitration was staged to demonstrate dispute resolution by way of arbitration. Speakers also discussed investment risk management under the Belt and Road Initiative.

SJ’s speech at the Forum  pdf file format  

Details of the Forum can be found at “The Hong Kong Legal Services Forum 2016”.

B. Other seminar on Hong Kong legal and arbitration services

1. Seminar on Hong Kong Legal and Arbitration Services held in Xiamen

On 27 April 2013, the department co-organised with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Guangdong the Seminar on Hong Kong Legal and Arbitration Services in Xiamen during the “Fujian Xiamen Hong Kong Week 2013”. The seminar focused on legal issues, risk management and dispute resolution that enterprises might face with while “going-out” of China.

Speakers of the seminar included experienced legal practitioners and arbitrators representing the Law Society of Hong Kong, the Bar Association of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration (Asia Office), China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission Hong Kong Arbitration Center. More than 300 legal and arbitration professionals, government officials and representatives from the business and commercial sectors mainly from the Fujian Province attended the seminar. The seminar provided a favourable platform for strengthening cooperation between the legal and arbitration professions of Fujian Province and Hong Kong.

SJ’s speech at the Forum  pdf file format  

2. Seminar held in Qingdao: Hong Kong – An International Hub for Legal & Arbitration Services

The department organised a seminar in Qingdao on “Hong Kong – An International Hub for Legal & Arbitration Services” on 17 September 2014 with Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Qingdao Japanese Association being the co-organizers.

The Secretary for Justice spoke on the advantages of using arbitration and mediation for resolving commercial disputes and gave an overview on the latest development of Hong Kong in the provision of these services.

Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (Asia Office) and China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission Hong Kong Arbitration Center introduced the scope of their services, particularly on how their services could assist businessmen and investors in handling and resolving commercial disputes in the course of their business operation. The Law Society of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Bar Association explained lawyers’ role in dispute resolution and the range of legal services which they could provide in international arbitration cases. A discussion was held amongst the speakers on dispute resolution clauses and special features of institutional arbitration, which aimed to encourage the participants to explore more options on dispute resolution.

C. Symposium on the litigation systems in the Mainland and Hong Kong

As part of the DoJ’s initiatives to introduce the legal system of Hong Kong to Mainland legal officials, practitioners and law students, symposia focusing on conducting litigation in Hong Kong had been held in different cities in the Mainland. Each symposium would usually comprise a mock trial to demonstrate common law litigation highlighting our adversarial system, which would then be followed by a seminar at which participants from both sides may discuss issues relating to litigation and the justice system.

Five such symposia have been held in the past -

The first symposium was held at the Peking University in January 1999, and co-organised with the Advocacy Institute of Hong Kong and Peking University.
Symposium in Beijing (1999)  pdf file format

The second symposium was held in Guangzhou in May 2000 and co-organised with Zhongshan University.
Symposium in Guangzhou (2000)  pdf file format

At the invitation of the Shenzhen Judges Association, a similar symposium was conducted in Shenzhen in May 2001, which was shortly followed by the fourth symposium in Shanghai in June 2001.
Symposium in Shanghai (2001)  pdf file format

The fifth one was held in Chongqing in December 2002.  
Symposium in Chongqing(2002)  

Cover  pdf file format  

Table of Content  pdf file format  

p.2-p.4  pdf file format  

p.5-p.15  pdf file format  

p.16-p.25  pdf file format  

p.26-p.35  pdf file format  

p.36-p.45  pdf file format  

p.46-p.58  pdf file format  

p.59-p64  pdf file format  

p.65-p.68  pdf file format  

 

 

Video Clips of "Mock Trial in Chongqing (2002)"[format: wmv size: 27.6MB][summary of facts]

These symposia were well received by local legal officials, practitioners, academics and law students of the municipalities concerned who were particularly interested in the mock trial which demonstrated the essence of proving a case (whether civil or criminal) in a common law court.

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Exchanges, Visits and Internships

Exchanges and visits between legal personnel of Mainland and Hong Kong

Other than holding conferences and seminars in the Mainland, the DoJ also arranges legal personnel from the Mainland to undertake training in Hong Kong to familiarise themselves with the common law system. The programmes include -

1. common law training; and

2. short term attachment.

The details of these programmes can be found in the following webpage:-"Training in Common Law for Mainland Legal Officials"

3. Mutual visits and exchange activities
Mutual visits between officials of the DoJ and the Mainland authorities take place regularly for the purpose of keeping abreast of each other’s legal development and fostering greater co-operation between the legal officials and professions of both sides.

Speech of the Secretary for Justice at the “9th China Lawyers’ Forum” held in Qingdao on 18 October 2011 (in Chinese only)  pdf file format 

Internship for Hong Kong law students in the Mainland

Since 2015, the DoJ has started the Summer Internship Programme for Hong Kong Law students in the Mainland. Under the programme, DoJ’s summer interns, after their local placement, will continue with their internship at legal or judicial organs or organisations in the Mainland. These include, for example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme People’s Court, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission etc.

The programme gives an opportunity for Hong Kong law students to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the Mainland legal system, to gain working experience and to broaden their horizons.

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CEPA

The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between the Mainland and HKSAR was signed on 29 June 2003. The details of the Arrangement were supplemented every year since then, and the most recent Supplement X was signed in August 2013. Various liberalization measures for the legal services sector have been made to enable the legal profession of Hong Kong to have easier access to the Mainland legal services market. Details of these measures can be found on the WTO and the Legal Profession webpage

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Related Links

This part of the web page provides a collection of links to Mainland web sites which may be of interest to readers wishing to further explore issues relating to Mainland laws. The majority of the links are available in Chinese only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the English translations which are for reference and identification only. The links from this website are to sites over which the Department of Justice exercises no control, and the Department therefore assumes no responsibility for the contents of these sites.

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