Hong Kong and Macao Lawyers Allowed to Practice in 9 Cities of Chinese Mainland
On 22 October 2020, the General Office of the State Council of the PRC released a circular on the launch of a pilot scheme to allow Hong Kong and Macao lawyers to practice law in nine mainland cities of the Guangdong‑Hong Kong‑Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), i.e. Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing. Eligible Hong Kong and Macao practicing lawyers that have passed the lawyer’s practice examination of GBA and obtained the mainland practice qualification may engage in a certain range of mainland legal affairs. The foregoing pilot scheme will be implemented for 3 years starting from 5 October 2020. The main contents of the pilot scheme are as follows:
(1) Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of the Hong Kong SAR and the Macao SAR of the PRC;
(2) Uphold the Constitution of the PRC, the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR of the PRC and the Basic Law of the Macao SAR of the PRC;
(3) Lawyers and barristers registered in the register of solicitors and barristers in accordance with the relevant laws of the Hong Kong SAR and admitted by the High Court of the Hong Kong SAR and whose practice qualification has not been suspended or practicing lawyers effectively registered in the Macao Lawyers’ Association;
(4) Have accumulated more than five years of lawyer practice experience;
(5) Have good professional ethics and have no record of being punished for bad reputation or violation of professional ethics;
(6) Able to write legal documents in Chinese and conduct business activities in Mandarin.
A person who has obtained a GBA lawyer’s practice certificate may engage in certain civil and commercial legal affairs (including litigation business and non-litigation business) applicable to mainland laws in nine GBA mainland cities. The litigation cases refer to civil and commercial cases accepted by senior, intermediate and basic people’s courts and relevant special people’s courts in nine GBA mainland cities. Non-litigation business shall meet one of the following conditions:
(1) The domicile or habitual residence of a natural person is located in nine GBA mainland cities;
(2) The domicile or registered address of a legal person or any other organization is located in nine GBA mainland cities;
(3) The subject matter is located in nine GBA mainland cities;
(4) The place of performance of the contract is located in nine GBA mainland cities;
(5) The legal facts that establish, change or eliminate civil and commercial relationships occurred in nine GBA mainland cities;
(6) Commercial arbitration cases accepted by the arbitration commission in nine GBA mainland cities.