News
News //
Submitted by // J Wong, Partner
15 January 2018


"New Year, New Approach? The SFC's current enforcement activities" 

We have published a new Regulatory newsletter regarding the SFC latest enforcement activities.

Please click here for a printable PDF version.


About Us

Howse Williams Bowers is an independent law firm which combines the in-depth experience of its lawyers with a forward thinking approach.

Our key practice areas are corporate/commercial and corporate finance; commercial and maritime dispute resolution; clinical negligence and healthcare; insurance, personal injury and professional indemnity insurance; employment; family and matrimonial; property and building management; banking; financial services/corporate regulatory and compliance.

As an independent law firm we are able to minimise legal and commercial conflicts of interest and act for clients in every industry sector. The partners have spent the majority of their careers in Hong Kong and have a detailed understanding of international business and business in Asia.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended to be a general guide only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  Please contact pr@hwbhk.com if you have any questions about the article.

› read more
› minimize
Press //
Submitted by // B Ho, Partner
10 January 2018

 

Howse Williams Bowers ("HWB"), a leading Hong Kong independent law firm, on 5 January 2018, advised Morris Holdings Limited (“Morris”) on the issuance of a convertible loan in the principal amount of HK$200 million to International Finance Corporation (IFC). 

Morris is principally engaged in the manufacturing and sale of sofa, sofa covers and other furniture products.

The HWB team was led by corporate partner, Brian Ho. The team had lead responsibility for legal documentation and general transaction management.


About Us

Howse Williams Bowers is an independent law firm which combines the in-depth experience of its lawyers with a forward thinking approach.

Our key practice areas are corporate/commercial and corporate finance; commercial and maritime dispute resolution; clinical negligence and healthcare; insurance, personal injury and professional indemnity insurance; employment; family and matrimonial; property and building management; intellectual property; banking; financial services/corporate regulatory and compliance.

As an independent law firm we are able to minimise legal and commercial conflicts of interest and act for clients in every industry sector. The partners have spent the majority of their careers in Hong Kong and have a detailed understanding of international business and business in Asia.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended to be a general guide only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  Please contact pr@hwbhk.com if you have any questions about the article.

 
› read more
› minimize
Press //
Submitted by // B Ho, Partner
10 January 2018

 

Howse Williams Bowers ("HWB"), a leading Hong Kong independent law firm, on 5 January 2018, advised the placing agent, UOB Kay Hian (Hong Kong), as the Hong Kong legal counsel, on the HK$436 million placing of shares of Colour Life Services Group Co., Limited ("Colour Life Services").

Colour Life Services provides property management services to more than 2,300 communities in the PRC, Hong Kong and Singapore. It is also involved in the provision of engineering services and community leasing and sales services.

The HWB team was led by corporate partner, Brian Ho. The team had lead responsibility for legal documentation and general transaction management.


About Us

Howse Williams Bowers is an independent law firm which combines the in-depth experience of its lawyers with a forward thinking approach.

Our key practice areas are corporate/commercial and corporate finance; commercial and maritime dispute resolution; clinical negligence and healthcare; insurance, personal injury and professional indemnity insurance; employment; family and matrimonial; property and building management; intellectual property; banking; financial services/corporate regulatory and compliance.

As an independent law firm we are able to minimise legal and commercial conflicts of interest and act for clients in every industry sector. The partners have spent the majority of their careers in Hong Kong and have a detailed understanding of international business and business in Asia.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended to be a general guide only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  Please contact pr@hwbhk.com if you have any questions about the article.

 
› read more
› minimize
News //
Submitted by // K Bowers, Partner / Solicitor Advocate; P Yeung, Senior Associate
08 January 2018

 

When does 'insulting behaviour' before the Labour Tribunal constitute an offence?

Introduction

Legal representation is generally not permitted before the Labour Tribunal ("Tribunal"). Whether litigants are acting as an individual or as a representative of a company (and irrespective of whether they are bringing or defending a claim), appearing before a Presiding Officer can be an unnerving and uncertain experience. Whilst minor, unintentional and one-off breaches of court etiquette during a hearing normally do not result in serious consequences, the Tribunal's Presiding Officer has the power to convict individuals for an offence where they conduct themselves in a manner amounting to 'insulting behaviour'.

This Alert discusses the case of Re Mahesh J Roy [2017] HKCU 2863 and sets out the circumstances in which Presiding Officers can exercise their discretion under section 42 of the Labour Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 25) ("Ordinance") to summarily punish an individual who "...uses a threatening or insulting expression to or concerning or in the presence of the Presiding Officer" or "...behaves in an insulting manner or wilfully interrupts the proceedings" before the Tribunal.

Re Mahesh J Roy

In this case, the appellant successfully appealed from his conviction for insulting behaviour and disturbing proceedings before a Presiding Officer. The issue first arose when the appellant attended the Tribunal with his friend, who was a claimant in a matter before the Presiding Officer. Whilst waiting for the matter to be called, the appellant spoke with his friend in the public gallery in a manner which the Presiding Officer found to be disturbing. When the Presiding Officer admonished the appellant, he responded belligerently. After some time, when the friend's matter was called, the appellant insisted on speaking with his friend and refused to sit down despite repeated directions from the Presiding Officer to do so. The appellant also declared that he would complain about the Presiding Officer and call the police. Subsequently, the Presiding Officer adjourned the proceedings for the police to be called and notified the appellant that he would be taken to the police station and could be released on bail. In the meantime, the Presiding Officer also reminded the appellant that he had the right to instruct lawyers.

When the appellant next appeared with counsel before the Presiding Officer, he apologised and stated that it had not been his intention to disturb the Tribunal's proceedings. The appellant also stated that his English was poor and that he had only wanted to help his friend, who was also the mother of his child. Nonetheless, the Presiding Officer determined that the appellant was guilty of an offence under section 42 of the Ordinance on the vague basis that he had been "disturbing and interrupting" proceedings or had "wilfully interrupt[ed] the proceedings".

Upon appeal, the Court of Appeal set aside the conviction on the grounds that the Presiding Officer (1) failed to give clear particulars of the charge; (2) failed to hear the appellant's case on lack of wilfulness and failed to consider this defence; (3) failed to consider the adequacy of the appellant's apology; and (4) failed to give reasons for her determination on conviction.

How insulting behaviour should be handled in the Labour Tribunal

In setting aside the conviction, the Court of Appeal stated that in handling situations involving insulting behaviour, Presiding Officers should adopt a progressive approach. First, the Presiding Officer can remind the person involved that insults and threats have no place in a courtroom. If the offending behaviour persists, the person should be excluded from the courtroom, or where that person is a litigant, the Presiding Officer can consider adjourning the proceedings or giving directions for a paper disposal of the matter. Presiding Officers can also give a warning about the possibility of contempt proceedings, or demand for an apology. In any case, summary punishment should be a last resort.

The Court of Appeal further held that whilst section 42 of the Ordinance serves to protect the integrity of proceedings in the Tribunal and ensure orderly conduct, it is a draconian power which must be exercised "cautiously" by the Presiding Officer. At the same time, the Tribunal will not accept conduct which obviously oversteps the line, or disrespectful statements targeted at judicial officers "beyond the due allowance for disappointed or frustrated litigants".

Takeaway points

Whilst minor, inadvertent and non-repetitive insulting behaviour in the Tribunal may be overlooked by a Presiding Officer, litigants in a dispute before the Tribunal (and individuals accompanying them) should be reminded that a courtroom must maintain its solemnity and decorum at all times. Intentional interruptions to the proceedings and unapologetic and recurring insulting or threatening behaviour will not be tolerated. Ultimately, the Tribunal has the power to enlist the assistance of the police, and in appropriate circumstances, even to direct the arrest of individuals. 


About Us

Howse Williams Bowers is an independent law firm which combines the in-depth experience of its lawyers with a forward thinking approach.

Our key practice areas are corporate/commercial and corporate finance; commercial and maritime dispute resolution; clinical negligence and healthcare; insurance, personal injury and professional indemnity insurance; employment; family and matrimonial; property and building management; and financial services/corporate regulatory and compliance.

As an independent law firm we are able to minimise legal and commercial conflicts of interest and act for clients in every industry sector. The partners have spent the majority of their careers in Hong Kong and have a detailed understanding of international business and business in Asia.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended to be a general guide only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  Please contact pr@hwbhk.com if you have any questions about the article.

› read more
› minimize