Happy, happy, joy, joy — I’ve passed two heads of the OLQE, so can I be a Hong Kong solicitor now? Not quite yet… and not for a while it seems! Once again the Hong Kong Law Society has created another long and tortured process — this time, the application for admission. What a drag.
While this is probably a very dull post, I’ve noticed many readers engrossed in all this OLQE talk, so I might as well fill them in on what they have to expect once they’ve overcome the giant hurdle of the Head(s).
Step 1: File an intention of making an application for your certificate to be admitted. Yes, a filing of your filing (which, if you think about it, is actually a filing of a filing of a filing — read on). Yet, they say this intention filing can be done at the same time as your filing for the certificate that says you can pass go.
In this form (yes, the Law Society has a form), you need to answer a quick survey of how you are not banned from any other jurisdiction, have been good in HK, that sort of thing. This form has to be witnessed.
The intention must be filed 6 weeks prior to your application for the aofrementioned certificate.
Step 2, which is really Step 1, since you’re allowed to make this filing simultaneously: Make your application for the certificate to be admitted as a solicitor. This is a form where you explain that you’ve passed or have been otherwise exempted from required examinations, include certified copies of such proofs, and otherwise assert your eligibility. This includes a required residency period (you can either show that you’ve been in HK 3 months prior to this application, that you’ll be here 3 months once you’re admitted, or that you have maintained some kind of long-term residency that I don’t remember off the top of my head since it was inapplicable to me). To do this, you need to include a certified copy of every single page of your passport, and heaven forbid that you’ve travelled in between, because you’ll need to explain every trip outside of HK and it seems that either way, you must include a check for HK$ 1,500 for someone to examine this proof.
You also need to get someone to witness an affidavit of identity to prove that you are you, and yes, more fees, include another check for HK$ 1,500 for the certificate.
Certificates take around 4 weeks to be issued.
Step 3: You get your certificate and now you need another HK qualified barrister or solicitor to move for your admissions in the High Court. Details on this still a bit fuzzy, but I’ll get back to you HK-admissions crazy readers on that when I unearth them. I hear it’s actually quite the ordeal, because once you are scheduled your court date, the movant of your application goes with you to court, where you will wear a robe (oh yeah — step 3.5, procure a robe), and hear a darling speech all about who you are and why you’re there that day.
Step 4: You are now a Hong Kong Solicitor! (Or at least, I think you are.)
Total costs (at least up to Step 3): $3,000, so long as you don’t have to pay anyone to witness your signatures and certify your copies.
Total time (up to Step 3): somewhere around 10 weeks!