Short History of Sir Oswald Cheung’s Chambers
Sir Oswald Cheung, a member of the Lincoln’s Inn, commenced practice at the Hong Kong Bar in 1952 initially from Sam Gittins’ Chambers at Marina House (on the site of what is part of the Landmark) but very soon thereafter he set up his own Chambers at the then Alexandra House at Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong.  In 1965, he moved to Prince’s Building and set up a set of Chambers with other members of the Bar and he was appointed Queen’s Counsel in the same year, being the first Chinese to be appointed Queen’s Counsel in Hong Kong.   Sir Oswald Cheung’s Chambers is one of the oldest sets of barristers’ Chambers in Hong Kong.   He was Chairman of the Bar in 1965, Member of the Legislative Council 1970-1981 and Member of the Executive Council 1974-1986.  He was knighted in 1987 when he retired from politics and in the same year, he was made a bencher of the Lincoln’s Inn.

The first address of Oswald Cheung’s Chambers was at 703, Prince’s Building.  There were four founding members:  Oswald Cheung QC,  Gerald de Basto, Charles Ching and Ronald Arculli.  Ronald Arculli later left the Bar for the solicitors’ branch of the profession and went on to hold numerous distinguished public posts.  Gerald de Basto after taking silk, became a District Court Judge and then a Judge of the High Court.  Charles Ching had a long and extremely successful career at the Bar as a leading silk, was appointed directly to the bench of the Court of Appeal and then became one of the founding members of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal in 1997.

Early members of Chambers also included Anthony Dicks, Patrick Fung, Andrew Li and Kemal Bokhary, who said in his Recollections that every founding member of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal had at one time practised from the north-east corner of the 7th Floor of Prince’s Building.  Three out of the four had spent their early days in these Chambers. The lively days of those early years are captured in that remarkable volume. The present head of Chambers, Edward Chan SC, who first came as a summer student, joined as a member in 1975. 

In 1986, Oswald Cheung’s Chambers moved to its present address on 10th Floor, New Henry House with only six members, but soon expanded.  Annexes were set up on other floors of the building.  Robert Tang QC, who succeeded Sir Oswald as head of Chambers in 2003, joined in 1986.  After he was elevated to the bench, he was succeeded by the present head of Chambers, Edward Chan SC.  At present, there are 62 full members, 6 of whom are Senior Counsel.

Throughout his life, Oswald Cheung had a passion to assist the young.  This was why he took the lead to establish the Chambers system in Hong Kong. To-day, the policy of this set of Chambers remains one of helping new comers to the Bar whenever possible, while providing an environment of congenial discussion and mutual assistance.  

As a matter of co-incidence rather than design, the practice of this set of Chambers is predominantly civil, though every area of practice is covered.  Another feature is the tradition of public service, not only serving as Chairmen and committee members of the Bar Association and as Members of the Legislative Council, but also participating in community service through a wide range of public bodies throughout the years.  In the history of the Hong Kong Bar Association, no fewer than eight Bar Chairmen have practised as members of these Chambers. 
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