Haldanes Solicitors and Notaries
7th Floor, Ruttonjee House, 11 Duddell Street
Central, Hong Kong
Jonathan Midgley is a leader of the Asia-Pacific business crime market, with commentators recognising him as "the leader of the field in Hong Kong for the defence of white-collar crime charges".
Jonathan Midgley is a criminal defence lawyer and senior partner at Haldanes. Mr Midgley has been consistently rated for several decades by independent legal journals as one of Hong Kong’s premier criminal defence lawyers. In 2013, when Hong Kong introduced the concept of solicitor advocate for the first time, Mr Midgley, as a result of his standing in the field of criminal defence, was immediately appointed to the criminal division.
Your practice is largely focused on defence work. What unique insights can you offer to practitioners focused on prosecution work?
Prosecutors, hopefully, always remember that they are there to present the facts. To set them out in an unbiased neutral way for either a judge or jury to determine the merits. A criminal defence lawyer has a duty to “fearlessly defend a client“, it is an entirely different responsibility.
How has being a solicitor-advocate shaped your practice?
Becoming a solicitor advocate in 2013 has largely resulted in psychological adjustment. Also, clients see you professionally in a different light. From a practical point of view there have been some opportunities to utilise the wider rights of audience. For example, I co-conducted an appeal in the Court of Appeal for a gentleman accused of being in possession of a gun as he entered Hong Kong.
What has been your most interesting case to date?
There have been so many interesting cases, it is almost impossible to label one “the most interesting”. Perhaps I can name two cases that were very closely linked. Firstly, the case of Nina Wang, when she was accused of forging her late husband’s will, where I acted for her on her criminal prosecution. That was followed a little later by the case of the “Feng Shui master”, Tony Chan. Ironically, we looked after the civil side of that case. The media’s attention in both was exhausting!
How does your global network of colleagues enhance your practice?
A global network of colleagues, both solicitors and barristers has been a tremendous bonus. It means that I can turn to exceptionally talented senior in England, which is something I have done regularly over the years.
How do you anticipate the changing landscape in Hong Kong to impact its legal market?
There are obviously challenges facing Hong Kong. The changes that have occurred recently impact the legal profession. However, I remain optimistic that the common law system will continue in Hong Kong.
How have mid-sized law firms fared with the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic?
Most law firms, through the pandemic, have managed surprisingly well, but with other difficulties to overcome, as did society as a whole.
In which direction would you like to steer your practice in the next five years?
I would encourage those younger than I to guide Haldanes into the future.
What can younger practitioners be doing to make a name for themselves in the Hong Kong criminal defence market?
Become advocates and appear regularly in court.