News & Insights

Deacons entrusts 160 year archive to the University of Hong Kong

Deacons is proud to announce that it has officially entrusted its historical archive to the University of Hong Kong (HKU) at a handover ceremony on April 3rd 2014.

The ceremony was held at the special collections area of the HKU Library and featured speeches by Senior Partner Lilian Chiang as well as the University Librarian Peter Sidorko. The general audience included Deacons colleagues, HKU Law Faculty members, local media and others involved in the archives handover.

The event has received very positive coverage in print media outlets including the South China Morning Post and on commercial radio. Publications such as the Hong Kong Economic Times, Ta Kung Pao and Apple Daily (N.B. Chinese) praised Deacons for its consideration in preserving valuable historical material despite the fact that there is no prevailing legislation on this issue.

Hong Kong solicitor firms are required by The Law Society of Hong Kong to retain client files for a minimum period of 7 years, and 15 years for conveyancing documents. Going much further than that, we have preserved our firm’s historical records, accumulated over more than 160 years, so that they will be available as a record for those who may in future wish to look back at the history of Hong Kong from the perspective of its first legal firm.

It is one of only a few such business archives containing material which pre-dates World War Two, during which nearly all commercial files and archives in Hong Kong were destroyed or lost.

The archives are catalogued into 65 separate document series, comprising 2,218 files which contain more than 8,000 separate documents. They date from the 1850s through to the 1950s and highlights from the archives include the commercial dealings of prominent Hong Kong businessmen such as Paul Chater, Ellis Kadoorie and Emanuel Raphael Belilios.

We believe that those who come after us may benefit from hindsight when making decisions about their own legal, economic and business future. Because of its historical and research value we believe it is deserving of public access and usage, especially by researchers and academics.

If you are in Hong Kong or visiting later this month, we encourage you to visit the exhibition which is now open to the public.

Key Contacts

Lilian Chiang, MH

Senior Partner | Property

Email or call +852 2825 9234

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