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Shanghai Signs up to Trial Hong Kong/Macau Legal Partnership Programme

Shanghai is to participate in a pilot programme designed to establish the viability of formal partnerships between mainland legal firms and their Hong Kong/Macau counterparts. To date, Guangdong is the only other participant in the programme.

The parameters for participation in the programme were outlined in the Implementation Measures for Launching the Pilot Programme of Partnership Associations between Hong Kong and Macau Law Firms and Mainland Law Firms (Trial Implementation), as recently published by the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Justice. The Measures, which come into force as of 1 December, are in compliance with the central government’s earlier-issued Opinions on Developing the Foreign-Related Legal Service Industry. They are also in line with a number of locally-adopted strategic proposals, including the 100 New Measures and the Opinions on Developing the Foreign-Related Legal Service Industry in Shanghai.

The Measures also detail the specific eligibility requirements for any Hong Kong/Macau or mainland legal firms looking to establish such a formal partnership arrangement:

  • For each party, a minimum capital contribution of RMB5 million is required. The sole or combined contributions of the Hong Kong/Macau partners may not be less than 30% and may not exceed 49% of the total shareholding
  • A minimum of 10 lawyers must be assigned to the partnership by each party, while the responsible person must be a representative of the mainland-registered firm
  • A partnership law firm may accept assignments under its existing registered name, with the local partnership appointees taking responsibility for legal matters pertaining to their existing sphere of operations. More specifically, mainland partners shall handle mainland issues and Hong Kong/Macau partners shall handle Macau/Hong Kong issues. In cases where the issue in question falls under the jurisdiction of both the mainland and Hong Kong/Macau, then local partners will be responsible for those elements of the case that fall within their own immediate jurisdiction. If the issue in question relates to overseas legal jurisdictions, such as may be the case with international treaties and transactions, it should be jointly handled by representatives of all partners to the cooperative agreement

For further details, please access the following links:

Hong Kong and Macau Law Firms to be Allowed to Set Up Partnership Associations with Mainland Law Firms in Shanghai from December (in Chinese)

Shanghai Announces 100 New Opening-Up and Economic Upgrade Initiatives

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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