Most members of the Macao Lawyers Association (AAM) are opposed to the idea of reactivating an agreement between the association and its counterpart in Portugal allowing lawyers registered there to work in Macao without taking a local examination, AAM President Jorge Neto Valente said on Monday.
Neto Valente made the remarks during a press conference at the association’s office in Nape about 2017 Lawyers Day.
According to Neto Valente, his association had previously an agreement with its counterpart in Portugal, the Portuguese Bar Association (OA), according to which lawyers registered in Portugal could practise law in Macao without the need to sit an examination on the local system. The deal was suspended in 2013.
According to previous media reports, Valente said last year that more than half of the lawyers registered in Macao were from Portugal. During Tuesday’s press conference, he said that the association has about 370 members.
Neto Valente’s remarks in Portuguese were translated into Cantonese by fellow lawyer Oriana Inacio Pun Oi I.
“Even though Macao’s law is based on Portuguese law…their societies are different. Can they [lawyers from Portugal] really help Macao residents?”
Neto Valente asked rhetorically. However, he was quick to add that it was impossible to “close the door completely”, stressing that his association would hold meetings with its members and its counterpart in Portugal later to discuss the issue.
According to Neto Valente, the association will hold the 2017 Lawyers Day event from Friday to Sunday in Largo do Senado. Moreover, he said 30 local and two mainland lawyers would provide free legal consultancy services to residents over the weekend.