Bar Council, Law Society work on Anglo-Chinese relations

Meanwhile, the Law Society and Bar Council have been working hard in an attempt to open up further the Chinese legal market to UK firms.

Law Society president Kevin Martin and Bar Council chairman Stephen Hockman QC recently spent 10 days in Beijing and Shanghai, meeting Chinese officials to promote opportunities for cooperation between the UK and China.

As first reported by The Lawyer (8 May), the pair spent time with the Chinese Deputy Minister of Justice and the president of the All China Lawyers Association, the Chinese equivalent of the Law Society.

However, things may not be going quite as swimmingly as first hoped. Both US and UK firms in the Chinese market appear to have ruffled some rather well-placed local feathers.

A fiery memo published by the Shanghai Lawyers Association has accused foreign firms of conducting “illegal business activities” by skirting regulations prohibiting them from practicing Chinese law. The group has called for authorities to crack down on foreign firms and “put in order, regularise and purify the Shanghai foreign legal services market”.