Lawyers as an Interest Group in Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement 1

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


With a shared professional background but differing political ideologies, lawyers arguably function as both private and public interest groups. Hong Kong’s divided legal profession sees barristers and solicitors as two distinct groups vying for status and privileges on the one hand, and collectively as “the public’s spokespersons” on the other. The former British colony’s regression to Chinese rule in 1997 and its stalled democratization – despite being promised under the Basic Law – heightened lawyers’ roles as defenders of the rule of law while also exposed the conflicting visions thereof. On this basis, this chapter reviews the history of Hong Kong lawyers’ political activism from colonial to recent times. It observes that, while Beijing’s perceived encroachment on “one country, two systems” helped galvanize the liberal faction of the legal complex – which includes lawyers and increasingly the legal academy – to fight for democracy, society also witnessed the rise of pro-establishment lawyers espousing a “pragmatism-inspired” vision of the rule of law.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterest Groups and the New Democracy Movement in Hong Kong
EditorsSonny Shiu-Hing Lo
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781315537184
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-69005-9
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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