Lai was charged under security law last year, but Perry was due to sue him on other charges of organizing and attending an unauthorized assembly during a protest in 2019. Some lawyers think the call for his appointment has been lost.
“It was silly … people making so much noise,” said a senior London lawyer who worked with Perry and believes the Hong Kong judiciary remains independent. “If I were Jimmy Lai, I would much prefer that David Perry, in a very careful and careful way, sue me only for things that could genuinely be considered to be within the rules of public order,” said the lawyer, who has also worked in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong often turns to Perry and his British colleagues because of England’s great legal talent. His appointment would make it more difficult for Hong Kong officials to prevent Lai and his fellow defendants from hiring UK lawyers, said another lawyer in the city.
Others are more critical. “No lawyer who has any sense of moral worth or moral dignity should take this case and [Perry] absolutely did the right thing [by stepping back], ”Says Bob Seely, a conservative MP and a member of a multi-party group in Hong Kong.
Falconer welcomes Perry’s resignation, but says the saga was “very damaging to the British legal profession”.
He supports the principle of taxis classification, which requires lawyers to represent the first client who hires them, so that even undesirable clients can have access to a lawyer, but says that the “quid pro quo of this is a legal system that we trust ”.
“What you shouldn’t do is get the apparent approval of a respectable English professional like David Perry coming in to sue, which has given respectability to an accusation that is very, very disrespected.”