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Wednesday, September 23, 2020, 08:51
HK CE says legal system will stay intact under security law
By Eleanor Huang in Hong Kong
Wednesday, September 23, 2020, 08:51 By Eleanor Huang in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s leader and political heavyweights held on Tuesday that the city’s judicial independence is as intact and robust as ever under the National Security Law, and the resignation of a veteran Australian judge from the city’s top court will in no way hamper its judicial independence.

Speaking to the media ahead of her weekly Executive Council meeting, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor explained that the Australian judge did not cite any specific reason for resigning as a nonpermanent judge of the Court of the Final Appeal.

“Right now, we have 13 such very eminent judges from common law jurisdictions, and I’m sure Hong Kong will continue to benefit from their wise counsel and their expertise in adjudicating cases,” she said.

Under the Basic Law, judges from other common law jurisdictions are welcome to sit on the CFA.

Lam stressed that Hong Kong’s political system, its constitutional order as well as its judicial independence are free from any interference.

ALSO READ: HK govt: Judicial independence guaranteed under Basic Law

Responding to speculations that Judge James Spigelman resigned due to the enactment of the National Security Law, which came into effect on June 30, Carrie Lam said that judicial independence is not undermined in any way under the law

Responding to speculations that Judge James Spigelman resigned due to the enactment of the National Security Law, which came into effect on June 30, Lam said that judicial independence is not undermined in any way under the law.

“Hong Kong is now restoring law and order, which makes the city an even more attractive place for doing business rather than the contrary,” she said, adding that some have deliberately misrepresented the situation in the city.

Ip Kwok-him, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress and member of the Executive Council to the Chief Executive, said if the Australian judge did resign due to the law, then he has failed to uphold his judicial professionalism for letting his political judgment cloud his professional work.

Describing the articles as “reasonably drafted”, Ip said the city’s national security legislation actually bears a strong resemblance to the national security laws in other common law jurisdictions in terms of human rights protection.

Ip said a judge should act at all times to promote public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary. “Over the past year, all Hong Kong residents can see it is the black-clad rioters who are destroying the city’s rule of law, and the National Security Law is implemented here to safeguard our law and order,” he said.

READ MORE: National security law 'respects HK judicial independence'

Hong Kong’s NPC deputy Maggie Chan Man-ki slammed some in the city for depicting Spigelman’s resignation as a sign that the city’s judicial independence has declined, saying it is total “nonsense”.

“If the implementation of the National Security Law in the city means that the place has no judicial independence, I don’t think many countries in this world have judicial independence,” Chan said.

eleanorhuang@chinadailyhk.com


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