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The Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (Chinese: 香港終審法院首席法官) is the head of the Judiciary of Hong Kong and the chief judge of the Court of Final Appeal. The Chief Justice is one of four permanent members of the Court. During British rule between 1843 and 1997, the head of the Hong Kong judiciary was the Chief Justice of Hong Kong; that position became the Chief Judge of the High Court in 1997.

Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal
Geoffrey Ma

since 3 September 2010
StyleThe Honourable
AppointerChief Executive of Hong Kong with endorsement by the Legislative Council
Term lengthLife tenure (until statutory retirement at age 65)
Inaugural holderAndrew Li, 1 July 1997
FormationHong Kong Basic Law
1 July 1997
Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal
Traditional Chinese香港終審法院首席法官

The Chief Justice acts as the chief administrative officer for the courts system, and in that capacity serves as the spokesperson for the judicial branch; he is assisted by the Chief Judge of the High Court, who is responsible for the administration of the High Court and is accountable to the Chief Justice. The office of Chief Justice is second only to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong in the Hong Kong order of precedence. In the case of an impeachment of a Chief Executive of Hong Kong, the Chief Justice presides over the trial as provided by the Hong Kong Basic Law.

The first Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal was Andrew Li. The second and incumbent Chief Justice is Geoffrey Ma.


Court of Final Appeal structureEdit

The Court of Final Appeal is headed by the Chief Justice and comprises three permanent judges and a panel of non-permanent judges. In hearing and determining an appeal, the Court will consist of five judges, and the Court may, as required, invite a non-permanent judge from Hong Kong or another common law jurisdiction such as England and Wales to sit on the Court.

As of December 2008, there are 16 non-permanent judges, six from Hong Kong and ten from other common law jurisdictions.[1]

The Chief Justice is the President of the CFA. Where he is not available to hear an appeal for any cause, he is required to designate a Permanent Judge to sit in his place as President.

Registrar, Court of Final AppealEdit

Attached to the Court of Final Appeal is a Registrar.[2]

S.42(5) Court of Final Appeal Ordinance, Cap 484 permits the Chief Justice, "in absence of the Registrar for any cause, to appoint a person who possesses the same qualifications as are required under section 37AA(1) of the High Court Ordinance (Cap 4) for appointment as the Registrar of the High Court to act in the place of the Registrar"

The Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission Report ("JORC") for 1997 to 2002 at page 21 confirmed the appointment of Mr Edward Timothy Starbuck WOOLLEY as Registrar, Court of Final Appeal.[3]

There was a 12-year absence of a substantive Registrar, Court of Final Appeal until 10 March 2014 when, on the recommendation of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission, the Chief Executive appointed KWANG Cheok-Weung, Simon as Registrar, Court of Final Appeal. [4]

Subsequently, Mr KWANG Cheok-Weung, Simon is now listed as one of the Judges and Judicial Officers on the Hong Kong Judiciary website.[5]


Portrait Name Term of office Duration Prior experience Higher Education Appointed by Ref
1 Andrew Li Kwok-nang 1 July 1997 31 August 2010 13 years, 61 days Deputy Judge of High Court Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (MA, LLM) Tung Chee-hwa
2 Geoffrey Ma Tao-li 1 September 2010 Incumbent 8 years, 260 days Chief Judge of the High Court University of Birmingham (LLB) Donald Tsang


The Chief Justice resides at the Chief Justice's House at 18 Gough Hill Road, The Peak.

See alsoEdit


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  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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