Hong Kong Lawyer

November 2017

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FROM THE COUNCIL TABLE 理 事 會 議 題 An Update on the Professional Indemnity Scheme The Professional Indemnity Scheme ("PIS") provides compulsory professional indemnity to Hong Kong law firms against losses arising from civil liability incurred in connection with their practices. The terms and conditions of the PIS are set out in the Solicitors (Professional Indemnity) Rules (Cap. 159M) ("PIS Rules") where indemnity is currently provided by the Hong Kong Solicitors Indemnity Fund established by the Law Society. The Council has been conducting an on-going review of the scope and operation of the PIS and the PIS Rules, and has approved the following proposals in principle: A. Increasing the limit of indemnity under the PIS from the existing HK$10 million per claim to HK$20 million per claim with no change to the PIS contribution calculation formula. B. Improving the coverage of the PIS by: (i) narrowing the "principal fraud / dishonesty" exclusion (ie, para. 1(2)(c)(iii) of Schedule 3 to the PIS Rules) so that the exclusion will not apply to an "innocent partner"; and (ii) providing indemnity for costs incurred in responding to or defending: (a) an investigation or inquiry (except for any disciplinary proceedings by or under the authority of the Law Society) by law enforcement agencies; and (b) criminal charges (but only if the Indemnified is acquitted of such charges). C. Amending the PIS Rules to: (i) expressly set out the general current practice regarding appointment of defence solicitors in respect of claims made under the PIS – an Indemnified must appoint defence solicitors from the panel of firms of solicitors appointed by the Council under r. 17 of the PIS Rules, unless the Hong Kong Solicitors Indemnity Fund Limited agrees otherwise in writing; (ii) clarify that where two Hong Kong law firms are in association, the practising certificates of solicitors working concurrently for both associated firms will be suspended if any one of such associated firms does not have a valid receipt under the PIS (as per r. 6(2) of the PIS Rules). In addition to the above, changes are being made to the PIS Rules whereby foreign lawyers employed in Hong Kong firms will be treated no differently from assistant solicitors or consultants in the PIS contribution and deductibles calculation formula. When Solicitors Corporations are introduced as a new mode of operation, the PIS Rules will also be updated to cater for this new mode of business operation. We endeavour to keep the PIS under continuous review to assist our members in overcoming challenges they may face when running their practices. Any comments on the above or any other suggestions on the PIS can be directed to adpis@hklawsoc.org.hk. 專業彌償計劃的更新 專業彌償計劃為香港律師行提供與律師執業業務有關 所招致的民事法律責任上的申索的強制性專業彌償保 障。專業彌償計劃的條款及細則載於《律師(專業彌 償)規則》(第159M章),目前由律師會成立的香港律 師彌償基金提供上述彌償。 理事會一直對專業彌償計劃和《律師(專業彌償)規 則》的範圍和運作進行檢討,並原則上批准了以下建 議: A. 在專業彌償供款的計算公式不變的情况下,把專 業彌償限額從現在的每項申索$10,000,000港元 增加到每項申索$20,000,000港元。 B. 通過以下方式提高專業彌償的覆蓋範圍: (i) 縮窄「主管欺詐/不誠實」的免除範圍(《律 師(專業彌償)規則》附表3第1(2)(c)(iii)段,使 有關免除不適用於「無辜的合夥人」;及 (ii) 為以下回應或抗辯所支付的費用提供彌償: (a) 執法機構的調查或查詢(由律師會進行或授 權的任何紀律處分除外);及 (b) 刑事指控(但只限獲彌償保障者被判定無罪 的索償)。 C. 修訂《律師(專業彌償)規則》: (i) 明確訂明就專業彌償申索委任辯護律師的一般 現行做法-根據《律師(專業彌償)規則》第17 條,除非香港律師彌償基金有限公司另外書面 同意,獲彌償保障者必須從理事會委任的律師 行委員會內委任辯護律師; (ii) 澄清在兩間香港律師行聯營的情況下,如其中 任何一間聯營律師行並無具備專業彌償基金的 有效收據,同時為兩間聯營律師行工作的律師 之執業證書將被吊銷。(《律師(專業彌償)規 則》第6(2)條)。 此外,對《律師(專業彌償)規則》的修訂還包括受香 港律師行聘用的外地律師的專業彌償供款及免賠額計 算公式,將與助理律師及顧問看齊。日後引入律師法 團業務模式後,《律師(專業彌償)規則》也將更新, 以配合這種新的業務模式。 我們致力不斷檢討專業彌償,以協助會員面對執業 中可能面臨的挑戰。如對專業彌償計劃或上述對其 更新的建議有任何其他意見,歡迎電郵至adpis@ hklawsoc.org.hk。 10 www.hk-lawyer.org •  November 2017

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