Two chambers in London have recruited Hong Kong barristers, but the Bar is not expecting an influx of lawyers as the handover to China approaches.

Former 4 Stone Buildings pupil John Scott has rejoined the set after 10 years in the colony, while ex-Hong Kong Attorney General's office barrister Penelope Rector has joined 2 Paper Buildings.

Rector said barristers working for the Government had no security of tenure and Chinese barristers were gaining preference in Hong Kong.

But in private practice, there is more confidence. Scott, who was appointed a QC in the colony last year, will continue doing some work in Hong Kong and is returning partly because of his children's education.

In fact, the handful of barristers who have returned say the hand over was a minor consideration in their decision.

Barrister Elaine Longmore, who returned to London last Christmas after 14 years in Hong Kong, said the variety of well-paid work meant there was a reluctance to return.

However, uncertainty about the colony's future has resulted in many ex-pat barristers making fall-back plans.