Teresa Cheng endorses UK judge's views on Hong Kong judicial independence
The Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said in a statement today, she fully agrees with the remarks of Non-Permanent Judge Lord Jonathan Sumption, QC, that Hong Kong's permanent judiciary is committed to judicial independence and the rule of law, and that Chinese and Hong Kong governments have so far done nothing to interfere with the judiciary's independence.
She was referring to Sumption's commentary in the Times newspaper in London of March 18, and reported by The Standard today. The comment in the Times, was titled, 'Britain should avoid undermining the Hong Kong judiciary.'
Cheng, said that as pointed out by Sumption, in his article to the Times, “since the national security law came into force last year, there have been calls for British judges to withdraw... The problem about these demands is that they do not distinguish between democracy and the rule of law.”
Cheng said she fully agrees with his remarks that “the permanent judiciary of Hong Kong is completely committed to judicial independence and the rule of law”, and “the Chinese and Hong Kong governments have so far done nothing to interfere with the independence of the judiciary.”
Hong Kong’s judicial independence is premised on the solid infrastructure that has been laid down primarily in the Basic Law - the security of tenure, the immunity of judges, the non-revolving door, and importantly the expressed provision in Article 85 of the Basic Law that guarantees judicial independence, free from any interference, Cheng said.
The judicial oath, taken by all judges, requires them to safeguard the law and administer justice, without fear or favor. Judges are required to adjudicate cases independently and impartially, Cheng said.
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