This Circular is issued to provide members with information on the Authorised Solicitors' Clerks Scheme.
All authorized clerks applications must be made in the Application form (lvform 3.2) together with the Authorisation (Ivform 3.3). The format of the Authorisation (Ivform 3.3) complies with the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance, Cap. 486. Details of criminal conviction data will be released by the Police when the Authorisation (Ivform 3.3) is signed by the applicant and witnessed by a member of the Law Society. Applications to delete names from the current Authorised Solicitors' Clerks List must be made by submitting the Deletion form (Ivform 3.4).
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Authorised Solicitors' Clerks List
The Law Society is responsible for updating the Authorised Solicitors' Clerks List. The updated Authorised Solicitors' Clerks List is sent to the participating law enforcement agencies every two months.
A solicitors' clerk who was on the Authorised Solicitors' Clerks List of a previous employing firm and has changed employment to work for another solicitors' firm will, until his new application to be on the Authorised Solicitors' Clerk List as an authorised clerk of the new firm has been approved, be required to produce to the law enforcement agencies a letter of authorisation from his new employing firm signed personally by a named solicitor corroborating his change of employment and indicating that a new application has been made by him.
The power of the Law Society
The Council of the Law Society (which has delegated its powers to the Consents Committee) has accepted the responsibility to consider applications for the names of solicitors' clerks to be included in the Authorised Solicitors' Clerks List. All applicants about whom the Police have revealed information, and the firms by which they are employed, will be informed of the information and their representations will be sought.
The purpose of legal visits by authorised solicitors' clerks is to take instructions from clients and make arrangements for the attendance of solicitors, counsel and trainee solicitors. Any report of abuse of the Authorised Solicitors' Clerks Scheme and/or violation of the law, for example, a breach of section 18 of the Prisons Ordinance, Cap. 234, will be treated as a matter of misconduct and subject to investigation by the Law Society.
Intervention by the Law Society
Immediately after the exercise of its intervention powers under section 26A of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance, Cap.159 into the practice of a firm, the Law Society will delete from the current Authorised Solicitors' Clerks List the names of all the authorised solicitors' clerks of that firm and notify the law enforcement agencies of the same.
Practice Direction D6 and Rule 4B of the Solicitors' Practice Rules
Members are separately reminded of the Law Society's Practice Direction D6 specifying the number of authorised clerks for each firm and of rule 4B of the Solicitors' Practice Rules prohibiting the employment of a clerk, either part-time or full-time, by more than one firm of solicitors, save with the written approval of the Council.
Members please also refer to Circular 17-838 for matters relating to Legal Visits.
Circular 15-993 (COM) and 17-5 (COM)are superseded.