Hong Kong solicitor Selma Masood has announced her candidacy for the upcoming Law Society Council election in August, saying that she wants to be the “face of hope” as the city is “at a crossroads.”

Masood, who became a solicitor in Hong Kong in 2006, said on Monday that she decided to run in the election this year as it was “an important time to have a more principled voice in council.”

Selma Masood
Hong Kong solicitor Selma Masood announcing her candidacy in the upcoming Law Society Council election. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

“[W]e’re at a turning point, right? There has been a tide of change in Hong Kong over the past two years,” said Masood.

“I think it’s ever the more important to basically build confidence within the public, within Hongkongers, that we still believe in the rule of law, we still believe that it’s important for us, and we still cherish those traditional core values that made so Hong Kong so bright.”

The solicitor also said that she would push for council members to give a “more timely response” on issues regarding justice and the rule of law if she was elected.

‘There is no groups’

Five new members will be chosen in the election, set to be held on August 24, to replace the longest-standing solicitors in the Law Society Council.

The race is seen as a watershed moment as currently the “liberal camp” occupies seven out of 20 seats in the council. If the camp wins all five seats in August, they will have a majority in the council.

Masood refused to label her political stance, and said that “there [are] no groups” in the Law Society, as “everyone wants stability, everyone wants peace and harmony, everyone wants to defend the rule of law.”

“…the Law Society is not a political organisation, political lingo is irrelevant to us. So we don’t talk about yellow, blue, we don’t talk about democrats or whatever, right? That’s irrelevant to us,” said Masood.

National security law
Photo: GovHK.

Masood said that she “urges members of the public not to break the law” when asked about the Beijing-imposed national security law. She added that lawyers can educate the public if people find some areas of the legislation vague, and that it was “very negative” to say that “the rule of law is dead.”

Legal aid

Pro-establishment lawmakers have questioned whether the legal aid mechanism was being abused for benefiting some lawyers disproportionately, with some suggesting that legal aid applicants should not be able to choose their legal representatives should their application be approved. 

While she refused to comment of the pro-establishment camp’s criticism, Masood, who was on the Legal Aid Panel of Solicitors, said that “it is important to keep Legal Aid as it is.”

The solicitor, who has also spoken on issues of gender equality, said that she would like to empower young women lawyers and provide a platform for them to speak up as “the numbers of female lawyers who get to the top decrease quite a bit.”

Correction 28/10: A previous version of this article stated that pro-establishment lawmakers had suggested that legal aid recipients should be able to choose their own lawyer. In fact, they had suggested the opposite.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.