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High Court (Hong Kong)

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The High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Chinese: 香港特別行政區高等法院), consists of the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance; it deals with criminal and civil cases which have risen beyond the lower courts. It was named the Supreme Court before 1997. Though previously named the Supreme Court, this Court has long been the local equivalent to the Senior Courts of England and Wales[1] and has never been vested with the power of final adjudication.

High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
香港特別行政區高等法院
Regional Emblem of Hong Kong.svg
Location38 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong Island,
 Hong Kong
Coordinates22°16′41.38″N 114°9′47.23″E / 22.2781611°N 114.1631194°E / 22.2781611; 114.1631194Coordinates: 22°16′41.38″N 114°9′47.23″E / 22.2781611°N 114.1631194°E / 22.2781611; 114.1631194
Authorized byHong Kong Basic Law and High Court Ordinance
Decisions are appealed toCourt of Final Appeal
WebsiteJudiciary of Hong Kong
Chief Judge of the High Court

Contents

CompositionEdit

Eligibility and appointmentEdit

A person who has practised for at least 10 years as a barrister, advocate, solicitor or judicial officer in Hong Kong or another common law jurisdiction is eligible to be appointed as a High Court Judge or Recorder.[2][3] A person who has practised for at least 5 years as a barrister, advocate, solicitor or judicial officer in Hong Kong or another common law jurisdiction is eligible to be appointed as the Registrar or a Master.[4]

Full-time Judges and Recorders, as well as the Registrar and Masters, are appointed by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of the independent Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission (JORC).[5][6]

Part-time Deputy Judges are appointed on a temporary basis by the Chief Justice.[7]

It is not uncommon for a person to sit as a Recorder or Deputy High Court Judge prior to appointment as a full-time High Court Judge.

Where a newly-appointed High Court Judge has previously served as the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Department of Justice, he or she is subject to a 'sanitisation' period of 6 months upon appointment during which he or she does not deal with any criminal trials or appeals or any civil cases involving the Government to maintain judicial independence and impartiality.[8][9]

Chief Judge of the High CourtEdit

The Chief Judge of the High Court is the Court Leader of the High Court and the President of the Court of Appeal. He or she is responsible for the administration of the High Court and is accountable to the Chief Justice, who is head of the Judiciary. He or she must be a Chinese citizen who is a Hong Kong permanent resident with no right of abode in any foreign country.[10]

The Judges who have held the position of Chief Judge of the High Court of Hong Kong to date are:

Name Tenure
Patrick Chan 1997–2000
Arthur Leong Siu-chung 2000–2003
Geoffrey Ma 2003–2010
Andrew Cheung 2011–2018

For pre-1997 Chief Justices, see: Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Hong Kong

Full-time JudgesEdit

Full-time High Court Judges are given the prefix ‘the Honourable’ and referred to as ‘Mr/Madam/Mrs Justice [surname]’. The Chief Judge of the High Court may be referred to in writing by adding the post-nominal "CJHC". Vice Presidents of the Court of Appeal may be referred to in writing by adding the post-nominal "VP". Justices of Appeal may be referred to in writing by adding the post-nominal "JA".

The current full-time Judges of the High Court (as at 30 July 2018) are (ranked according to the priority of their respective appointments):[11][12]

Chief Judge of the High Court

Justices of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of the High Court

Judges of the Court of First Instance of the High Court

  • The Hon Mr Justice Andrew Chung On-tak
  • The Hon Mr Justice Barnabas Fung Wah
  • The Hon Mrs Justice Judianna Wai-ling Barnes
  • The Hon Madam Justice Maggie Poon Man-kay
  • The Hon Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung (Judge in charge of the Constitutional and Administrative Law List)
  • The Hon Mr Justice Jonathan Russell Harris (Judge in charge of the Companies and Insolvency List)
  • The Hon Mr Justice Mohan Tarachand Bharwarney (Judge in charge of the Personal Injury List)
  • The Hon Madam Justice Queeny Au-Yeung Kwai-yue
  • The Hon Mr Justice Patrick Li Hon-leung
  • The Hon Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping
  • The Hon Mr Justice Louis Chan Kong-yiu
  • The Hon Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai
  • The Hon Madam Justice Mimmie Chan Mei-lan (Judge in charge of the Companies List and the Construction and Arbitration List)
  • The Hon Mr Justice Anthony Chan Kin-keung (Judge in charge of the Admiralty List)
  • The Hon Mr Justice Godfrey Lam Wan-ho
  • The Hon Mr Justice Peter Ng Kar-fai
  • The Hon Madam Justice Anthea Pang Po-Kam
  • The Hon Mr Justice Anderson Chow Ka-ming
  • The Hon Madam Justice Bebe Chu Pui-ying
  • The Hon Mr Justice David Lok (Judge in charge of the Mental Health List)
  • The Hon Mr Justice Joseph Yau Chi-lap
  • The Hon Mr Justice Albert Wong Sung-hau
  • The Hon Mrs Justice Audrey Patricia Campbell-Moffat
  • The Hon Madam Justice Susana Maria D'Almada Remedios
  • The Hon Mr Justice Wilson Chan Ka-shun
  • The Hon Madam Justice Lisa Wong Kwok-ying

In important cases, a Justice of Appeal may sit as an additional Judge of the Court of First Instance.[13][Note 1] A Judge of the Court of First Instance may also hear cases in the Court of Appeal on a three- or two-member bench.[14]

Cases in the Court of First Instance are usually heard by a single Judge, though important cases may be heard by a bench consisting of more than one Judge.[15][Note 2] This practice is similar to the English High Court, where important cases may be heard by a Divisional Court consisting of a three- or two-member bench.

All Judges of the Court of First Instance also serve as members of the Competition Tribunal.[16] The President and Deputy President of the Competition Tribunal (currently Mr Justice Lam and Madam Justice Au-Yeung respectively) are appointed by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission.

The President of the Lands Tribunal must be a High Court Judge (currently Mr Justice Louis Chan)[17] and is appointed by the Chief Executive.[18]

High Court Judges also serve a number of other public service roles. It is a statutory requirement that the Electoral Affairs Commission be headed by a Chairman who is a High Court Judge (currently Mr Justice Fung)[19] appointed by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Chief Justice.[20] The Chief Executive also appoints three to six Judges of the Court of First Instance (currently Mr Justice Chung, Mr Justice Fung and Mr Justice Bharwaney)[21] on the recommendation of the Chief Justice to serve as panel judges handling interception and surveillance authorisation requests from law enforcement agencies.[22] The Chief Executive may appoint a High Court Judge to lead a public inquiry.[23] For example, Mr Justice Andrew Chan was appointed in 2015 as Chairman of the Inquiry into incidents of excess lead found in drinking water,[24] and Mr Justice Lunn, JA was appointed in 2012 as Chairman of the Inquiry into the collision of vessels near Lamma Island.[25]

A number of serving and retired Hong Kong High Court Judges also sit as Supreme Court Judges in Brunei. For example, while Mr Justice Rogers served as Vice President of the Hong Kong Court of Appeal, he also sat as a non-resident Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Brunei Darussalam between 2010 and 2011.[26][27] As of 2017, three retired Hong Kong High Court Judges sit as Judges of the Court of Appeal of Brunei Darussalam (Mr Justice Mortimer, who is the President of the Brunei Court of Appeal, and Mr Justice Burrell and Mr Justice Seagroatt, who are Justices of Appeal); two retired Hong Kong High Court Judges sit as Judicial Commissioners of the High Court of Brunei Darussalam (Mr Justice Findlay and Mr Justice Lugar-Mawson).[28]

RecordersEdit

Recorders are practitioners in private practice (in practice, Senior Counsel) who are appointed for a fixed term of a few years and sit for a few weeks in a year. Recorders may exercise all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of a full-time Judge of the Court of First Instance.[29]

The recordership scheme was introduced in 1994 to encourage experienced practitioners who are willing to sit as a High Court Judge for a few weeks every year, but are not prepared to commit themselves to a permanent, full-time appointment. It was intended to act as a more formal system of appointment compared to the more ad hoc nature of appointment of Deputy High Court Judges.[30]

The current Recorders of the Court of First Instance of the High Court (as at 1 February 2018) are (ranked according to the priority of their respective appointments):[11][12]

  • Mr Jason Pow Wing-nin, SC
  • Mr Russell Adam Coleman, SC
  • Mr Anthony Kenneth Houghton, SC
  • Ms Winnie Tam Wan-chi, SC
  • Mr Stewart Wong Kai-ming, SC
  • Ms Linda Chan Ching-fan, SC
  • Mr Robert John Whitehead, SC
  • Mr Eugene Fung Ting-sek, SC
  • Mr Charles Peter Manzoni, SC
  • Ms Yvonne Cheng Wai-sum, SC

Part-time Deputy JudgesEdit

The Chief Justice appoints on a temporary basis a number of serving full-time District Court Judges, retired High Court Judges[Note 3] and practitioners in private practice (in general, barristers who are Senior Counsel or solicitors who are senior partners with litigation experience) to sit as part-time Deputy High Court Judges.[31] Before 1983, the position of Deputy High Court Judge was known as Commissioner.[32]

A Deputy High Court Judge may exercise all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of a full-time Judge of the Court of First Instance.[33]

Judicial review cases are not listed before part-time Judges.[Note 4][34]

In order to ensure judicial independence and impartiality, part-time Judges are not permitted to participate actively in political activities (although membership of a political party is acceptable).[34]

Forms of addressEdit

All High Court Judges (regardless of whether they are full-time Judges, Recorders or Deputy Judges on temporary appointment) are addressed in court as "My Lord" or "My Lady".

In court judgments and decisions, Vice Presidents of the Court of Appeal are referred to as '[surname] VP' or '[surname] V-P' (or in the plural as '[surname] and [surname] V-PP'). Justices of Appeal are referred to as '[surname] JA' (or in the plural as '[surname] and [surname] JJA'). Full-time Judges of the Court of First Instance are referred to as '[surname] J' (or in the plural as '[surname] and [surname] JJ'). Recorders are referred to as 'Mr/Madam/Mrs Recorder [surname]' (with the post-nominal 'SC' if they are Senior Counsel). Deputy High Court Judges are referred to either as 'Deputy Judge [surname]', 'Deputy High Court Judge [surname]' or 'DHCJ [surname]' (with the post-nominal 'SC' if they are Senior Counsel).[Note 5] Deputy High Court Judges were previously called Commissioners and were referred to as [Mr/Madam/Mrs Commissioner [surname]' (with the post-nominal 'Q.C.' if they were Queen's Counsel) in judgments before 1983.[32]

High Court BuildingEdit

 
Entrance of the High Court in Admiralty
 
High Court Building façade viewed from Queensway in Admiralty

The High Court Building is located at 38 Queensway, Admiralty. The 20-storey building was built in 1985 as the home of the then Supreme Court of Hong Kong, which was renamed in 1997. It was named the Supreme Court Building, and the road leading to its main entrance is still named Supreme Court Road. The High Court Building was designed by Architect K. M. Tseng.

The structure is a white clad tower and has a water fountain outside its front door.

Sometimes, the High Court may sit in another venue.[35] For example, a serving District Judge sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge may hear a case in a courtroom situated in the District Court building. This is similar to England, where the High Court sometimes sits outside London in County Courts which act as High Court District Registries.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ For example, Mr Justice Macrae, JA sat as an additional Judge of the Court of First Instance in HKSAR v Rafael Hui, HCCC 98/2013
  2. ^ For example, Z v Director of Legal Aid, HCAL 5/2011, reported at [2011] 4 HKLRD 362, was heard before Mr Justice Reyes and Mr Justice Wright.
  3. ^ Including retired English High Court Judges, such as Sir Richard Field who sat as a Deputy High Court Judge in Hong Kong and decided cases including Diyixian.com Limited v G'Five International Limited, HCA 229/2013, reported at [2016] 5 HKLRD 495.
  4. ^ This restriction does not apply to serving District Judges sitting as Deputy High Court Judges. For example, Her Honour Judge Amanda Woodcock has decided a number of judicial review cases (such as Hameed Bilal v Torture Claims Appeal Board, HCAL 174/2017), while His Honour Judge Kent Yee decided the habeas corpus case of Mohammad Aslam Qureshi v Director of Immigration, HCAL 75/2015. Nor does this restriction apply to retired High Court Judges. For example, Sir Brian Keith (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) decided Building Authority v Appeal Tribunal (Buildings), HCAL 183/2015, reported at [2016] 1 HKLRD 1381. Previously, practitioners in private practice sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge could decide judicial review cases. For example, Robert Kotewall QC decided Chan Lau Fong & Others v Attorney General, HCMP 3232/1990.
  5. ^ Queen's Counsel sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge may be referred to with the post-nominal 'QC' (including after the resumption of the exercise of sovereignty on 1 July 1997). For example, following retirement from the bench, when Mr Justice Stone sat as a Deputy High Court Judge, he was referred to as Deputy High Court Judge William Stone QC (see 廈門新景地集團有限公司 v Eton Properties Limited and Others, HCCL 13/2011; on appeal in CACV 158/2012, reported at [2016] 2 HKLRD 1106).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ formerly the Supreme Court of England and Wales, renamed by the "Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (c. 4) s 59(1)". legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 2015-01-24.
  2. ^ High Court Ordinance (Cap. 4), Section 9
  3. ^ Hong Kong Basic Law, Article 92
  4. ^ High Court Ordinance (Cap. 4), Section 37AA
  5. ^ Hong Kong Basic Law, Articles 48(6) and 88
  6. ^ Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission Ordinance (Cap. 92)
  7. ^ High Court Ordinance (Cap. 4), Section 10
  8. ^ Buddle, Cliff (1997-11-29). "Former DPP among new judges". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  9. ^ See the press releases announcing the judicial appointments of former DPPs Ian McWalters SC ([1]) and Kevin Zervos SC ([2])
  10. ^ Hong Kong Basic Law, Article 90
  11. ^ a b http://www.judiciary.gov.hk/en/organization/judges.htm
  12. ^ a b http://www.info.gov.hk/cml/eng/civil/15.htm
  13. ^ High Court Ordinance (Cap. 4), Section 4(2)
  14. ^ High Court Ordinance (Cap. 4), Section 5(2)
  15. ^ High Court Ordinance (Cap. 4), Section 32(3)
  16. ^ Competition Ordinance (Cap. 619), Section 135
  17. ^ "G.N. 131", Hong Kong Government Gazette (No. 2, Vol. 18, 10 January 2014)
  18. ^ Lands Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 17), Section 4(1)(a)
  19. ^ HKSAR Government Press Release: Re-appointment of Chairman of Electoral Affairs Commission
  20. ^ Electoral Affairs Commission (Cap. 541), Section 3(3)
  21. ^ http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201710/13/P2017101200366.htm
  22. ^ Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance (Cap. 589), Section 6
  23. ^ Commissions of Inquiry Ordinance (Cap. 86)
  24. ^ http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201508/13/P201508130520.htm
  25. ^ http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201210/22/P201210220483.htm
  26. ^ "The Deputy Sultan attends the swearing-in of new judges" (PDF). Brunei Darussalam Prime Minister's Office (Department of Information). 2010-05-08.
  27. ^ http://www.ipd.gov.hk/eng/promotion_edu/20160809/Bio_of_Mr_Anthony_Rogers.pdf
  28. ^ "Swearing-in ceremony". Brunei Darussalam Prime Minister's Office. 2016-04-23.
  29. ^ High Court Ordinance (Cap. 4), Section 6A(3)
  30. ^ http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr93-94/english/lc_sitg/hansard/h940706.pdf
  31. ^ http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr05-06/english/panels/ajls/papers/aj0724cb2-2794-2e.pdf
  32. ^ a b For example, Ko So Yee v Chan Sion Chun & Others, HCA 9666/1982
  33. ^ High Court Ordinance (Cap. 4), Section 10(2)
  34. ^ a b Hong Kong Judiciary: Guideline in relation to part-time Judges and participation in political activities
  35. ^ Rules of the High Court (Cap. 4A), Order 33, rule 1

External linksEdit