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Speech by DPP


Following is the speech by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Grenville Cross, SC, at the Call of Senior Counsel today (May 10) (English only):

Chief Justice, My Lords, Your Honours,

On behalf of Madam Secretary, who much regrets that she cannot be here today, and of myself and the Department of Justice, I congratulate Mr. John Yan, Mr. Anthony Chan, Mr. Rimsky Yuen, Mr. Chua Guan-hock, Mr. Paul Shieh and Mr. Kevin Zervos upon their appointments as Senior Counsel. I equally congratulate Professor Johannes Chan, upon his appointment as Honorary Senior Counsel.

Each year we gather in these courts to celebrate the appointment of those whose pre-eminence has qualified them to take up leadership roles within the legal profession. This is always a happy occasion, and it is particularly so when we can see that there are so many members of the Bar who have achieved this important status. It is a happiness which all of those concerned with the successful administration of justice in Hong Kong can properly share with the new Silks.

The Bar itself can be happy, for its senior end acquires the new blood with which it can regenerate itself. The judiciary can equally be happy, for it can look to a new generation of seniors to assist it in the resolution of issues which in recent times have become ever more testing and complex. The public can also be happy, for those who enter Silk today can be relied upon to represent and to advance their interests in all sorts of ways. The appointment of these Silks, whose practices are all so challenging and diverse, can truly be regarded as testament to the vibrancy and the strength of the Bar at an important period in Hong Kong's history. At the same time, the appointments also serve to emphasise the continuity of our legal system.

My Lord, it is exactly four centuries since Sir Francis Bacon became the first person to be formally styled as King's Counsel in 1603. Over the centuries, the institution of Silk has gone from strength to strength throughout the common law world. This, I believe, is because of the manifest benefits of a system which encourages the notions of excellence in the law, on the one hand, and service to the public, on the other. The new Silks are indeed the custodians of a great tradition, and much will be expected of them. I confidently predict that each will bring his own particular distinction to the Inner Bar, and that none will be found wanting. I take particular pleasure in the appointment today of a member of the Department of Justice to Silk, not least because the presence of no less than five Silks in the Prosecutions Division is, I trust I will be forgiven for saying, a welcome reaffirmation of the status now enjoyed by our prosecuting authority.

My Lord, the five new Silks from the Bar have contributed much to the law within their own areas of expertise. Mr. Yan is a specialist in intellectual property, and has served the Bar Council. Mr. Chan, a former prosecutor in the Department, practises civil law, and has sat as a deputy judge of the District Court and served the Bar Council. Mr. Yuen is well known in the area of company law and serves on various Panels. Mr. Chua specialises in commercial law and also serves the Bar Council. Mr. Shieh has a practice which is comprehensive, and he also has served the community in various important ways.

Mr. Zervos has served in the Department of Justice for ten years. He is a Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, and has recently been appointed Head of the Criminal Appeals Unit. He is well known, internationally as well as locally, as an expert in the combat of corruption, fraud and money laundering. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Mr. Zervos, before coming to Hong Kong, was Senior Assistant DPP in the Office of Australia's Commonwealth DPP and he served as well as General Counsel to the ICAC in New South Wales. Since coming to Hong Kong Mr. Zervos has established a formidable reputation as an advocate with a great appetite for work. He is well known on the lecture circuit, and is always happy to share his learning and experience with others. We take pride in his achievement today.

Professor Chan has managed to combine a successful career at the Bar with wide achievements as an academic. His contributions to legal education, together with his publications, particularly in the field of human rights, call for special recognition. The office of Honorary Queen's Counsel is well known in England and Wales, and I welcome Professor Chan's appointment as the first Honorary Senior Counsel of Hong Kong. It is indeed a great honour which will give pleasure to many.

My Lord, I extend my good wishes to each of the new Silks, and I wish them every success as they embark upon the next important stage of their careers.

End/Saturday, May 10, 2003


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