Pro-democracy camp will not have to pay govt’s legal fees over mask ban appeal, HK’s top court ruled
Former lawmakers from the pro-democracy camp do not need to pay the government’s legal fees after losing in the mask ban judicial review, the Court of Final Appeal has ruled.
The case involved public interests and important legal principles, the city’s highest court explained in a written judgment today.
This came after Hong Kong’s top court rejected the legal challenge by 25 pro-democracy former lawmakers over the Chief Executive’s imposition of the anti-mask law under the emergency law amid the social unrest last year.
The court also ruled that the pro-democracy camp has to pay for the administration’s legal fees for the appeal at the Court of Final Appeal.
Then-chief justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, incumbent chief justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung and Justices Joseph Fok, Roberto Ribeiro and Lord Leonard Hoffmann said today that they are satisfied that the “public interest litigation exception” is properly invoked.
“These were clearly appeals of obvious general and public importance, … Leave to appeal was granted to both the applicants and the respondents to pursue the various points on which they had lost,” the judgment read.
“The grant of such leave clearly reflected the importance of the points of law and shows the case met the threshold test on the merits to engage the discretion to apply the public interest litigation exception,” it added.