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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Four new senior counsels ‘reminded’ to speak out to defend HK’s legal system

Four new senior counsels ‘reminded’ to speak out to defend HK’s legal system

Four newly appointed senior counsels have been reminded by the Chief Justice to “speak out” to defend Hong Kong’s legal system from attempts to interfere with the administration of justice by judges, subtly hitting back at a recent U.S. report that suggested sanctioning 29 Hong Kong judges.
The remarks were made by Chief Justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung of the Court of Final Appeal at the ceremony for the admission of the new senior counsel on Saturday morning.

The four new senior counsels are Anthony Chan Ho-ki, 42, Christopher Chain Siao-liang, 37, Bruce Tse Chee-ho, and Mike Lui Sai-kit. They were appointed by Cheung back in April.

Secretary for Justice Paul Lam Ting-kwok extended congratulations to the four, saying their appointments show their ability and integrity are well known and recognized.

Speaking at the ceremony today, Chief Justice Cheung noted it is the duty of all lawyers to protect the rule of law against those who would seek to undermine it.

“It is their duty to speak out in defense of Hong Kong's legal system, including the independence of the Judiciary, and to stand up against any attempt to interfere with the due administration of justice by our judges,” he said.

He also pointed out that the role of Senior Counsel in Hong Kong is far more significant than just a rank superior to that of an ordinary counsel.

“The maintenance of the split profession between the Bar and solicitors ensures that clients have the benefit of independent legal advice and representation, particularly at trial. The cab-rank rule ensures the availability of legal representation to all, even those whose cases public opinion might be against,” Cheung also said.

His comments could be associated with a staff report by the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) last Friday (May 12), which suggested imposing sanctions on 29 Hong Kong judges presiding over national security cases.

At the hearing, commissioner Chris Smith of CECC specifically named two judges – Amanda Woodcock and Kwok Wai-kin, as he said they are among judges who “are complicit in the dismantling of the rule of law in Hong Kong and who bow to the dictates of the Chinese Community Party.”

Chief Justice Cheung is also on the list of judges for the proposed sanctions. And as usual, the SAR government later issued a statement to strongly condemn the report for its slandering remarks and despicable threats against judges.

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