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Top daily rates for Hong Kong counsel are al-most twice the fees paid to UK silks working in the region
Senior litigation lawyers in Hong Kong report that daily refreshers - payment for each day in court - for local senior counsel (SC), equivalent to Queen's Counsel here, range between £5,000 and £11,000. Clerks in England say their top earners for Hong Kong work receive up to £5,000 a day. Hourly rates for Hong Kong SCs range between £630 and £1,000, which sources say is roughly on a par with UK silks' rates in Hong Kong. Hourly rates relate to work done outside encompassing advice, conferences and pleadings, but not preparation. Hong Kong and Singapore are financially attractive jurisdictions for UK counsel to act in. Wilberforce Chambers' rated chancery and pensions silk Jules Sher QC is due more than £500,000 for a recent 15-day case in Singapore, which has similar rates as Hong Kong. Sher's costs include a brief fee for 10-15 days of preparation. Despite restrictions on access for foreign barristers, work for UK counsel in Hong Kong and Singapore is on the increase. Wilberforce Chambers is particularly well represented. John Martin QC is involved in a 20-day action, Michael Bloch QC is working on two Singapore cases and one Hong Kong case, and new silk John Wardell QC is involved in an arbitration. Sher and junior Thomas Lowe are involved in a headline-hitting case concerning the break-up of a multimillionaires' estate. Essex Court, 4 Essex Court and 20 Essex Street can also boast impressive instructions. Increasingly, solicitors and UK silks are seeking to work as full-time barristers in Hong Kong. 4 Essex Court silk Charles Sussex and 4 Stone Buildings' John Scott have recently moved to Hong Kong to practice full-time. The former Hong Kong Attorney General John Griffiths SC moved to Hong Kong around a decade ago. His former London Chambers, Brick Court, maintains informal ties with him. Lawyers who have joined the Hong Kong Bar include former Richards Butler partner David Stokes, former Turner Kenneth Brown partner Ashley Burns, former Baker & McKenzie partner Paul Caroll and ex-Crump & Co lawyer John Kerr. They have all moved to Hong Kong's top sets, Temple Chambers or Des Voeux Chambers.