Lord Irvine to bolster relationship with UK

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg QC, will become the first cabinet minister to visit the region since the transfer of sovereignty on 1 July when he visits the former colony this week.

Irvine has indicated that the main purpose of his visit is to bolster the relationship between the judicial systems of Hong Kong and the UK.

He is said to be “determined” to do everything he can to ensure that Britain's close historic links with the Hong Kong judiciary are maintained.

As well as meeting senior figures within the Hong Kong political administration and opposition parties, the Lord Chancellor will devote much of his time to meeting senior judges and lawyers.

Irvine is scheduled to meet Audrey Eu, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Bar Association, and Anthony Chow, president of the Law Society, and is due to host a special breakfast for the lawyer members of the British Chamber of Commerce. He will also spend time with Chief Justice Andrew Li and the chief judge of the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Patrick Chan.

Irvine said: “The Government strongly believes the new start in Britain's bilateral relations with China will benefit Hong Kong. Developments in the judicial and legal fields are very much part of this.”