Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services
Meeting on 9 February 1998

Progress of Localisation in the Department of Justice


This paper updates Members on the progress of localisation in the Department of Justice.


2.Historically, the Department of Justice was one of the government departments with a high proportion of overseas officers. To promote localisation, the Department has, with the approval of the Finance Committee, implemented over the past nine years three localisation schemes. They are the Double Ladder Scheme (DLS), the Development Posts Scheme (DPS) and the Succession Posts Scheme (SPS). Brief descriptions of each of the three schemes are at Enclosures 1-3.

3. At the Establishment Sub-Committee meeting of the Finance Committee held on 26 February 1997, Members, after considering Paper EC(96-97)60, supported the retention for a period of 12 months from 1 April 1997 to 31 March 1998 nine Senior Government Counsel (Double Ladder) [SGC(DL)] posts under the DLS, 14 supernumerary Assistant Principal Government Counsel (APGC) posts (at D1 level) under the DPS and four supernumerary Principal Government Counsel posts (at DL3 level) under the SPS. We undertook at the meeting to review the situation towards the end of the retention period of these posts and report progress to Members.

Progress of Localisation

4. With the introduction of the Legal Trainee Scheme in 1993 and successful local recruitment, the Department has achieved 100% localisation at the Government Counsel (GC) rank since October 1995. This, coupled with the implementation of the DLS, DPS and SPS over the past nine years, have achieved as at 1 January 1998, a GC grade which is 79.6% localised. A breakdown and comparison of the up-to-date figures vis-a-vis those upon the commencement of the respective Schemes are given below -


% of Local Strength
(as at 1 February 1998)

% of Local Strength
(upon commencement
of Scheme)


Senior Government

Counsel (SGC)



(Commencement of DLS in December 1988)


Deputy Principal


Counsel (DPGC)




(Commencement of DPS in June 1991)

Principal Government

Counsel (PGC)




(Commencement of SPS in January 1994)

For the purpose of the comparison, former overseas officers who have transferred to local terms under transfer arrangements introduced since 1993-94 have not been included in the "Local Strength".

Present Position

(a) Double Ladder Scheme

5. Of the nine SGC(DL) posts retained under the DLS in 1997/98, seven officers who occupied these posts have been promoted to substantive SGC rank. When funding approval for these nine posts expires by 31 March 1998, the remaining two officers will stay as GC for establishment purposes. However, under the terms of their original appointment to SGC(DL) the two officers will continue to fill functional SGC vacancies in the Department until they are ready for substantive promotion to SGC rank or leave the service.

(b) Development Posts Scheme

6. Of the 14 supernumerary APGC posts retained under the DPS in 1997/98, when funding approval for these posts expires by 31 March 1998 eight developees will remain. They will revert to their substantive SGC rank and can apply for promotion to DPGC rank along with other applicants when vacancies arise in future.

(c) Succession Posts Scheme

7. Of the four supernumerary PGC posts retained under the SPS in 1997/98, three post-holders have been promoted to the PGC rank and one has left the civil service.

Way Forward

8. Significant progress has been made with localisation in the Department of Justice in the last nine years. After the cessation of the posts retained under the DLS, DPS and SPS by 31 March 1998, the Department will be able to build on a firm foundation. We shall continue to monitor closely the career development needs of our GC grade colleagues. As an on-going exercise, we shall make arrangements, through deployment of training and staffing resources, to consolidate their experience and groom those with demonstrated potential for higher responsibilities as follows -

  1. at the SGC level, placements of counsel on the Senior Staff Development Programme organised by the Civil Service Training and Development Institute will continue. In addition to professional training, attachments to Government Secretariat bureaux will be arranged as and when appropriate; and

  2. at the DPGC and PGC level, suitable local or overseas management training will be identified and provided with a view to enhancing their administrative skills.

Department of Justice
February 1998

Ref: ADM 126/2C XX

Enclosure 1

Double Ladder Scheme (DLS)

We introduced the DLS in December 1988. The Scheme enables local Government Counsel (GC) with ability to be appointed to non-functional Senior Government Counsel (SGC) posts for training in SGC work thereby helping to retain able local GC in the Department and thus promoting localisation. It allows a maximum of 30 local GC to be promoted to such non-functional posts which are called Senior Government Counsel (Double Ladder) (SGC(DL)) posts at any one time. With effect from June 1996, we have stopped selecting local GC to fill SGC(DL) posts given the 100% localisation of the GC rank. Throughout the years since the inception of the DLS, 96 local GC have been promoted to SGC(DL). Out of these 96 SGC(DL), 88 have been transferred to SGC(Substantive) and six have already left the civil service. There are currently two remaining SGC(DL) on the DLS.

Enclosure 2

Development Posts Scheme (DPS)

We introduced the DPS in June 1991 on a trial basis for three years to groom local substantive Senior Government Counsel (SGC) to become Deputy Principal Government Counsel (DPGC) (DL2). Those selected would undergo a grooming period of about 18 months comprising normally a six-month attachment to Secretariat bureaux (and/or Senior Staff Development Programme) and an acting appointment at the Assistant Principal Government Counsel (APGC) (D1) level of 12 months or more in jobs different from their original jobs within the Department of Justice to widen their experience. At the end of the grooming period, those found suitable will continue to act in the development posts until they gain promotion to the DPGC rank. Those found unsuitable will revert to their substantive SGC rank. Developees under the Scheme are free to compete with other serving SGC for promotion to substantive DPGC posts in the normal way on equal footing during the grooming period.

2. Since the introduction of the DPS, a total of 34 developees have joined the Scheme. Of these, 22 have gained promotion to DPGC, two have been wait-listed for promotion to fill projected vacancies which may arise shortly and two have left the Department for jobs in other public service organisations. There are currently eight remaining developees on the DPS.

Enclosure 3

Succession Posts Scheme (SPS)

We introduced the SPS in January 1994 for grooming local Deputy Principal Government Counsel (DPGC) (DL2) to become Principal Government Counsel (PGC) (DL3). This Scheme enables local DPGC to act in succession posts at the PGC level so that they are given the opportunity to take on responsibility at that level. We also require the DPGC selected for the Scheme to undergo advanced management development programme in order to enhance their administrative skills. The SPS has been implemented for about four years with the selection of six succession post-holders. Five of them have been promoted to PGC and the remaining one has left the civil service.