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The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (HKCFA or CFA; Chinese: 香港終審法院) is the final appellate court of Hong Kong. It was established on 1 July 1997, when China resumed exercising sovereignty over Hong Kong, replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the highest judicial institution under Hong Kong law. With its constitutional role defined in the Basic Law of Hong Kong, the Court of Final Appeal exercises its judicial powers independent of interference. The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance and the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Rules set out the functions and procedures of the court.

Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal
香港終審法院
HongKongCourtOfFinalAppeal.svg
The logo features the Court of Final Appeal Building
Established1 July 1997
Location8 Jackson Road, Central,
Hong Kong[1]
Coordinates22°16′51″N 114°09′37″E / 22.28090°N 114.16035°E / 22.28090; 114.16035Coordinates: 22°16′51″N 114°09′37″E / 22.28090°N 114.16035°E / 22.28090; 114.16035
Composition methodAppointment by the Chief Executive acting in accordance with the recommendation of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission with Legislative Council endorsement
Authorized byHong Kong Basic Law
Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance
Judge term lengthThe Chief Justice and permanent judges must vacate their offices when they reach the age of 65, but there is no retiring age for non-permanent judges
No. of positionsOne Chief Justice, at least three permanent judges and at most 30 non-permanent judges
WebsiteHong Kong Court of Final Appeal
Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal
CurrentlyGeoffrey Ma
Since1 September 2010
Court of Final Appeal
Traditional Chinese香港終審法院

The Court of Final Appeal has no original jurisdiction. An appeal can either originate from the Court of Appeal or the Court of First Instance. All appeal cases are heard by a bench of five judges consisting of the Chief Justice, three permanent judges and a non-permanent judge. If the Chief Justice does not sit in an appeal, the three permanent judges will sit with a Hong Kong non-permanent judge and an overseas non-permanent judge.

Contents

RoleEdit

From the 1840s to 1 July 1997, Hong Kong was a British Dependent Territory, and the power of final adjudication on the laws of Hong Kong was vested in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. The power to exercise sovereignty over Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. Based on the one country, two systems principle, Hong Kong retains its a high degree of autonomy and maintains its own legal system. The Court of Final Appeal was established on 1 July 1997 in Central, Hong Kong. Since then, it has served as the court of last resort, thus administering the power of final adjudication on the laws of Hong Kong.

Under the Basic Law, the constitutional document of Hong Kong, the special administrative region remains a common law jurisdiction. Judges from other common law jurisdictions can be recruited and serve in the judiciary as non-permanent judges according to Article 92 of the Basic Law. Judges appointed pursuant to Article 92 have served in the judiciaries of England and Wales, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

The court has the power of final adjudication with respect to the law of Hong Kong as well as the power of final interpretation over local laws including the power to strike down local ordinances on the grounds of inconsistency with the Basic Law.[2][3] The power of final interpretation of national law including the Basic Law is vested in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China (NPCSC) by virtue of Article 158 of the Basic Law and by the Constitution of the PRC, however national laws which are not explicitly listed in Annex III of the Basic Law are not operative in Hong Kong.

Article 158 delegates such power to the courts of Hong Kong for interpretation while handling court cases. Although this arrangement has attracted criticism of "undermining judicial independence", an interpretation by the NPCSC does not affect any court judgments already rendered. Controversy regarding this power of interpretation arose in the right of abode issue in 1999.

BuildingEdit

From its inception until September 2015, the court was located in the Former French Mission Building, in Central.[4] In September 2015 the court relocated to the former (until 2011) Legislative Council Building, which was originally the colonial Supreme Court (1912–1985).

GalleryEdit

List of Permanent JudgesEdit

Chief JusticesEdit

No. Name Born Appointed by Took office Left office Tenure length Higher Education Previous judicial office Silk
1 Andrew Li Kwok-nang 1 December 1948
(age 70)
Tung Chee-hwa 1 July 1997 31 August 2010 13 years and 62 days University of Cambridge (MA, LLM) Deputy District Judge (1982-85)
Deputy High Court Judge (1991-97)
QC (1988)
2 Geoffrey Ma Tao-li 11 January 1956
(age 63)
Donald Tsang 1 September 2010 In office 8 years and 322 days University of Birmingham (LLB)

College of Law

Recorder of the Court of First Instance (2000–01)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (2001–02)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2002–03)
Chief Judge of the High Court (2003–10)
QC (1993)

Permanent judgesEdit

No. Name Born Appointed by Replacing Took office Left office Tenure length Higher Education Previous judicial office Silk
1 Henry Denis Litton 7 August 1934
(age 84)
Tung Chee-hwa Inaugural 1 July 1997 14 September 2000 3 years and 76 days University of Oxford (MA) Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (1992–95)
Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (1995–97)
QC (1970)
2 Charles Arthur Ching 7 October 1935

30 November 2000
(aged 65)

Tung Chee-hwa Inaugural 1 July 1997 7 October 2000 3 years and 99 days University of Oxford (MA) Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (1995–97) QC (1974)
3 Syed Kemal Shah Bokhary 25 October 1947
(age 71)
Tung Chee-hwa Inaugural 1 July 1997 24 October 2012 15 years and 116 days Inns of Court School of Law Judge of the High Court of Justice (1989–93)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (1993–97)
QC (1983)
4 Patrick Chan Siu-oi 21 October 1948
(age 70)
Tung Chee-hwa Litton 1 September 2000 20 October 2013 13 years and 50 days University of Hong Kong (LLB, PCLL) Judge of the District Court (1987–91)
Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court (1991–1992)
Judge of the High Court of Justice (1992–97)
Chief Judge of the High Court (1997–2000)
5 Roberto Alexandre Vieira Ribeiro 20 March 1949
(age 70)
Tung Chee-hwa Ching 1 September 2000 In office 18 years and 322 days London School of Economics (LLB, LLM) Recorder of the Court of First Instance (1997–99)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (1999–2000)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2000)
QC (1990)
6 Robert Tang Kwok-ching 7 January 1947
(age 72)
Leung Chun-ying Bokhary 25 October 2012 24 October 2018 6 years and 0 days University of Birmingham (LLB) Deputy District Judge (1982)
Deputy High Court Judge (1986)
Recorder for the High Court of Justice/Court of First Instance (1995–2004)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (2004–05)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2005–06)
Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (2006–12)
Non-Permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal (2010–12)
QC (1986)
7 Joseph Paul Fok 24 September 1962
(age 56)
Leung Chun-ying Chan 21 October 2013 In office 5 years and 272 days University College London (LLB)

Inns of Court School of Law

Recorder of the Court of First Instance (2003–09)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (2010–11)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2011–13)
SC (1999)
8 Andrew Cheung Kui-nung 24 September 1961
(age 57)
Carrie Lam Tang 25 October 2018 In office 268 days University of Hong Kong (LLB, PCLL)

Harvard Law School (LLM)

District Judge (2001–03)
Deputy High Court Judge (2001–03)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (2003–11)
Chief Judge of the High Court (2011–18)

List of Non-Permanent JudgesEdit

Current non-permanent judges from Hong KongEdit

Name Appointed by Took office Tenure Length Previous judicial office
Frank Stock Donald Tsang 1 September 2010 8 years and 322 days Deputy High Court Judge (1991)
Judge of the High Court of Justice/Court of First Instance (1992–2000)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2000–09)
Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (2009–14)
Kemal Bokhary Leung Chun-ying 25 October 2012 6 years and 268 days Judge of the High Court of Justice (1989–93)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (1993–97)
Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal (1997–2012)
Patrick Chan Leung Chun-ying 21 October 2013 5 years and 272 days Judge of the District Court (1987–91)
Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court (1991–92)
Judge of the High Court of Justice (1992–97)
Chief Judge of the High Court (1997–2000)
Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal (2000–13)
Robert Tang Carrie Lam 25 October 2018 268 days Deputy District Judge (1982)
Deputy High Court Judge (1986)
Recorder for the High Court of Justice/Court of First Instance (1995–2004)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (2004–05)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2005–06)
Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (2006–12)
Non-Permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal (2010–12)
Permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal (2012–18)

Current non-permanent judges from other common law jurisdictionsEdit

Chinese name English name Jurisdiction Appointed by Took office Tenure Length Remarks
賀輔明勳爵 Lord Hoffmann   United Kingdom Tung Chee-hwa 12 January 1998 21 years and 189 days Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (1995–2009)
苗禮治勳爵 Lord Millett   United Kingdom Tung Chee-hwa 28 July 2000 18 years and 357 days Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (1998–2004)
紀立信法官 Murray Gleeson   Australia Donald Tsang 1 March 2009 10 years and 141 days Chief Justice of Australia (1998–2008), Chief Justice of New South Wales, (1988–1998)
華學佳勳爵 Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe   United Kingdom Donald Tsang 1 March 2009 10 years and 141 days Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2009–2013), Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2002–2009)
廖柏嘉勳爵 Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury   United Kingdom Donald Tsang 1 March 2009 10 years and 141 days President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2012–2017), Master of the Rolls (2009–2012), Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2007–2009)
郝廉思勳爵 Lord Collins of Mapesbury   United Kingdom Donald Tsang 30 June 2011 8 years and 20 days Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2009–2011); Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (2009)
簡嘉麒勳爵 Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony   United Kingdom Donald Tsang 30 June 2011 8 years and 20 days Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2009–2017), Master of the Rolls (2005–2009)
范理申勳爵 Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers   United Kingdom Leung Chun-ying 1 October 2012 6 years and 292 days President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2009–2012), Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (2005–2008), Master of the Rolls (2000–2005)
施覺民法官 James Spigelman   Australia Leung Chun-ying 29 July 2013 5 years and 356 days Chief Justice of New South Wales (1998–2011)
甘慕賢法官 William Gummow   Australia Leung Chun-ying 29 July 2013 5 years and 356 days Justice of the High Court of Australia (1995–2012)
范禮全法官 Robert French   Australia Leung Chun-ying 31 May 2017 2 years and 50 days Chief Justice of Australia (2008–2017)
韋彥德勳爵 Lord Reed   United Kingdom Leung Chun-ying 31 May 2017 2 years and 50 days Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2012–present), Senator of the College of Justice (1998–2012)
何熙怡女男爵 Baroness Hale of Richmond   United Kingdom Carrie Lam 30 July 2018[5] 355 days President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2017–present)
麥嘉琳法官 Beverley McLachlin   Canada Carrie Lam 30 July 2018[5] 355 days Chief Justice of Canada (2000–2017)


Former non-permanent judges from Hong KongEdit

Name Took Office Left Office Tenure Length
Sir Denys Roberts 28 July 1997 27 July 2003 6 years and 0 days
Sir Alan Huggins 28 July 1997 27 July 2003 6 years and 0 days
Neil Macdougall 28 July 1997 27 July 2003 6 years and 0 days
Art McMullin 28 July 1997 27 July 2003 6 years and 0 days
Sir Derek Cons 28 July 1997 27 July 2006 9 years and 0 days
Philip Gerard Clough 28 July 1997 27 July 2006 9 years and 0 days
William James Silke 28 July 1997 27 July 2009 12 years and 0 days
Kutlu Tekin Fuad 28 July 1997 27 July 2009 12 years and 0 days
Sir Noel Power 28 July 1997 19 November 2009 12 years and 115 days
Gerald Nazareth 28 July 1997 27 July 2012 15 years and 0 days
John Mortimer 28 July 1997 27 July 2015 18 years and 0 days
Henry Litton 14 September 2000 27 July 2015 14 years and 317 days
Charles Ching 7 October 2000 30 November 2000 55 days
Michael Hartmann 1 September 2010 31 August 2016 6 years and 0 days


Former non-permanent judges from other common law jurisdictionsEdit

Jurisdiction Name Took Office Left Office Tenure Length
 /  Lord Cooke of Thorndon 28 July 1997 27 July 2006 9 years and 0 days
  Sir Edward Somers 28 July 1997 27 July 2003 6 years and 0 days
  Sir Anthony Mason 28 July 1997 27 July 2015 18 years and 0 days
  Sir Daryl Dawson 1 September 1997 31 August 2003 6 years and 0 days
  Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead 12 January 1998 11 January 2004 6 years and 0 days
  Sir Gerard Brennan 28 July 2000 27 July 2012 12 years and 0 days
  Sir Thomas Eichelbaum 28 July 2000 27 July 2012 12 years and 0 days
  Lord Woolf 28 July 2003 27 July 2012 9 years and 0 days
  Lord Scott of Foscote 28 July 2003 27 July 2012 9 years and 0 days
  Sir Ivor Richardson 28 July 2003 27 July 2009 6 years and 0 days
  Michael McHugh 1 July 2006 30 June 2012 6 years and 0 days
  Sir Thomas Gault 1 July 2006 19 May 2015 8 years and 323 days

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Court Services & Facilities – Court of Final Appeal". Government of Hong Kong. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  2. ^ [1] Archived 16 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ [2] Archived 4 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Finance Committee – Public Works Subcommittee (Papers) 8 Nov 95". Government of Hong Kong. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b Hong Kong Gazette Notice GN5815/2018

External linksEdit