Au Miu Ling v Wong Ding Yick

Court:Family Court (Hong Kong)
Judgement Number:FCMC6671/1996
Judgment Date:19 Jan 2000
FCMC006671/1996 XCHRX AU MIU LING v. WONG DING YICK

FCMC006671/1996

FCMC No. 6671/1996

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

MATRIMONIAL CAUSES NO. 6671 OF 1996

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BETWEEN
AU MIU LING Petitioner
AND
WONG DING YICK Respondent

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Coram: Master Barnes in Chambers

Dates of Hearing: 14 January 2000

Date of Handing down Decision: 19 January 2000

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REVIEW OF TAXATION

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Background

1. The Petitioner was granted legal aid on 22.5.1996 to institute divorce proceedings against the Respondent. On 13.10.1997, the Petitioner was granted Decree Nisi while the custody of the two children was granted to the Respondent with reasonable access to the Petitioner. Costs was reserved. The issue of ancillary relief was not disposed until 19.3.1999 when the Respondent was ordered to pay a lump sum of $250,000 to the Petitioner. The Respondent was ordered to pay the taxed costs of the proceedings including the costs reserved.

2. In due course, the bill of costs prepared by the Solicitors representing the Petitioner was set down for taxation on 10.11.1999. As the Respondent was absent on that occasion, I granted leave for Ms. Davies of the Legal Aid Department to represent the Respondent and duly taxed the bill. Solicitors for the Petitioner being not satisfied with some of the items, applied to review my decision and the matter was heard on 14.1.2000.

3. Solicitors for the Petitioner has very helpfully prepared detailed written reasons why they objected to those items listed in the Objection to the Taxation. I will deal with each item in turn:

Item (1) and (3)

4. These concerned the Fee Earners. Objections were raised in respect of two fee earners, i.e. Mr. Solomon Chong (SC) who was admitted in 1983, and Miss Lily Chien (CL) who was admitted in 1981, regarding their hourly rates for work done after 21.7.1997.

5. It is argued that the case is complex in that the aspect of ancillary relief, in particular the estate of the Respondent's deceased father in China, was such that both SC and CL had to exercise particular expertise. Since both SC and CL had chosen not to claim an upwardly adjusted amount to reflect the same, but the ceiling amount applicable to a solicitor of over 10 years standing in accordance with the circular dated 1.2.1999 issued by the Law Society, a reduction of $200 upon taxation is unfair and inconsistent.

6. I accept that it is not usual in a case of this nature for the solicitors to trace assets of the deceased parent of a party. The need to investigate and trace those assets no doubt makes the Petitioner's application for ancillary relief more difficult. However, on the evidence before me, I do not accept that the...

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