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Friday, August 19, 2016, 00:12

Candidate anxious to aid the legal sector

By Joseph Li
Candidate anxious to aid the legal sector

Catherine Mun Lee-ming, lawyer and candidate in the Legislative Council Legal functional constituency election, said she will seek to amend the Copyright Ordinance if elected. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Lawyer Catherine Mun Lee-ming said she is entering the Legislative Council Legal functional constituency election because she wants to bring positive change to the legal sector.

For nearly 20 years, the Legal constituency seat has been monopolized by the Civic Party and its member Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee — even before the party was founded, Mun said.

And she is also unhappy with the performance of incumbent Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, also a Civic Party member.

Mun said Kwok was more partial to the views of his political party than to the professional advice of the Hong Kong Bar Association and Law Society of Hong Kong. This was evident in the debate on the ill-fated Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014.

Kwok is seeking re-election to retain his seat and Mun is his only election opponent.

Speaking to China Daily in an exclusive interview, Mun said although she worked as partner in a law firm, she still has time to serve the community. She said she wants to do something significant.

“I am a person who seeks equality and justice, and so I jumped at the chance to run in the election when I saw no one else (challenging Dennis Kwok). Even my former boss asked me when I was running in the LegCo election,” she said.

Mun said Kwok was wrong in not heeding the opinions of the two legal institutions.

“The Copyright Ordinance in Hong Kong has been lagging behind for more than 10 years. The Law Society of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Bar Association both accepted the government’s amendments but he opposed it,” she explained.

“Kwok said he had heard (different) views from some quarters of society, but what people had he talked to?

“He ignored the views of the professional bodies. He only listened to the views of his political party. He also said although (the netizens groups) have not paid royalty fees, they should be protected because they are non-profit, but he did want to protect the legal rights of the copyright owners,” she said.

Mun also criticized Kwok for not safeguarding the rule of law quickly enough during the illegal occupation in 2014.

“It was wrong for people with a legal background to say the injunction orders issued by the court to clear the barricades were of a civil but not criminal law nature and therefore had no urgency. If someone disobeys an injunction order, he is guilty of contempt of court.

“(Kwok) did not condemn people who made such remarks in the first instance. He only spoke out rather late, until he was reminded that such remarks were inappropriate,” she recalled.

If elected, Mun will revisit the Copyright Ordinance and also seek to amend the LegCo Rules of Procedure to curb filibusters.

She dislikes filibusters, but accepts they could be used in exceptional circumstances.

Making reference to practices in foreign parliaments, she said the president of the Legislative Council should exercise his powers more effectively to stop filibusters.

For example, counting the quorum should not be allowed during certain parts of the meetings. It is also a good idea to limit the number of hours for a debate. If the waiting time is included as debate time, filibusters will be less likely to delay the meeting and waste time.

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