Hong Kong Legal System
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2. How can I become a Barrister?

A person is qualified for admission as a barrister under section 27(1) of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance if he/she:-

(a) is a holder of a Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (after obtaining the degree of Bachelor of Laws (LLB)); or
(b) is a solicitor in Hong Kong; or
(c) is an overseas lawyer.

Holders of non-law bachelor degrees can either complete the LLB course or pass the Common Professional Examination of England and Wales (CPE) before taking the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws.

For qualified solicitors in Hong Kong, they must have been admitted as such for at least 3 years (either immediately or in any case not more than 12 months) before the date of their application for admission as barrister and during that time they were in practice as solicitors in Hong Kong or were employed by the Government as legal officers (as defined in the Legal Officers Ordinance, Cap. 87).

For overseas lawyers to be qualified for admission as barristers in Hong Kong, they must:

(a) hold a currently valid certificate of admission as legal practitioner in their jurisdiction of admission;
(b) have been in practice for at least 3 years in the jurisdiction of admission;
(c) be persons of good standing in the jurisdiction of admission; and
(d) pass the Barristers Qualification Examination.

Further to having or obtaining the above-mentioned qualifications, applicants must undertake pupillage (similar to being a "trainee") for six months in order to be eligible for admission as barrister. In order to practise, however, they must undertake pupillage for a further six months during which time they have a limited right of practice.

When a barrister has attained a substantial level of accomplishment and recognition and has been in practice for at least 10 years, he or she can apply to become a Senior Counsel. The expertise of a Senior Counsel is usually sought in the more complex cases. For details of the qualification and admission requirements, please see the Hong Kong Bar Association website.

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