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Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

Former Australian High Court Justice Keane becomes Hong Kong’s newest overseas judge

Former Australian High Court Justice Keane becomes Hong Kong’s newest overseas judge

Patrick Keane, the former Justice of the High Court of Australia, will become Hong Kong’s newest non-permanent judge of the High Court’s Court of Appeal after the Legislative Council approved his appointment on Wednesday.
The Subcommittee on Proposed Senior Judicial Appointment supported Keane’s appointment without any objection, said member Holden Chow Ho-ding.

The subcommittee proposed becoming less dependent on overseas judges by increasing the number of permanent judges.

It also asked the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission to consider overseas judges from other jurisdictions that practice common law, like those from Singapore and Malaysia, who are more familiar with the social values of Chinese society.

Ho recalled how certain overseas judges attempted to smear the Hong Kong National Security Law through their resignations and some individuals in the U.K. who incited non-permanent judges to leave the SAR.

Ho slammed those British politicians as shameful for their plots to hit back at China and disrupt the city’s independent judiciary.

He also suggested authorities conduct a more thorough background check before finalizing any judicial appointment to ensure candidates never made any remarks targeting China.

In the meantime, chief secretary Eric Chan Kwok-ki praised Keane as a reputable expert of common law and will excel in the position of overseas judge. His appointment would make an addition to the team of non-permanent overseas judges as well, Chan noted.

Chan added there isn’t an urgent need to increase the number of non-permanent judges, explaining that the workload of Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal has been stable the past few years with sufficient judges.

Chan continued that although the judicial systems of Singapore and Malaysia differ from that of Hong Kong, authorities will also consider top and fitting candidates if available.

Keane was admitted as a solicitor in 1976 and as a barrister the next year by the Supreme Court of Queensland. He became Queen’s Counsel in 1988 after 11 years at the bar.

Keane was appointed the Solicitor-General of Queensland in 1992. He was appointed a Judge of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2005 and assumed office as Justice of the High Court of Australia in March 2013.

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