On the 29th June 2003, the Hong Kong SAR Government entered into the "Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement" ("CEPA") with the Central People's Government. On 29th September 2003, the six Annexes to the CEPA were signed. CEPA came into operation on 1st January 2004.
Legal Services A Hong Kong law firm intending to apply for provision of legal services in the Mainland must meet the definition of "Hong Kong law firm" stipulated under CEPA Annex 5:
- it must be established as a Hong Kong law firm and has obtained a valid Business Registration Certificate;
- the sole proprietor and all the partners is registered practising lawyers in Hong Kong;
- the principal scope of business is to provide Hong Kong legal services in Hong Kong;
- has paid profits tax in accordance with the law; the relevant law firm should have engaged in substantive business operations in Hong Kong for more than 3 years.
If these conditions are satisfied, a Hong Kong law firm should submit to the Trade and Industry Department (website: www.tid.gov.hk) the following documents when applying for a "Certificate of Hong Kong Service Supplier"
- a certified true copy of the Business Registration Certificate and
- a certified copy of Extract of Information on the Register of Businesses issued by the Business Registration Office;
- a certified true copy each of the annual Profits Tax Returns, the Notices of Assessment and Demand for Tax;
- a certified true copy of the Computerized Land Register or tenancy, pertaining to the business premises;
- a certificate issued by the professional body and certified by a China-appointed attesting officer to substantiate the following
- (i) the date on which the applicant started his or her practice;
- (ii) the name of the sole proprietor or the names of all the partners of the applicant;
- (iii) the sole proprietor or all the partners of the applicant have valid practising certificates and have not been temporarily suspended from practice;
- (iv) the addresses of the principal business premises and the branch business premises of the applicant in the past three years;