Six candidates lined up for post of chief justice
Six candidates, including Executive Councillor Andrew Li Kwok-nang and Mr Justice Benjamin Liu Chi-ming, are being considered for the post of chief justice after the handover.
Six names are believed to have been passed to the Judicial Officers' Recommendation Commission which will choose the next chief justice.
Apart from Mr Li and Mr Justice Liu, other names include Mr Justice Charles Ching and Mr Justice Henry Litton of the Court of Appeal.
Mr Justice Litton has been quoted by some lawyers as saying: 'I should not be ruled out in the race.' Until now it has been regarded as a two-horse race between Mr Li, Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa's preference, and Mr Justice Liu, favoured by Xinhua (the New China News Agency). Mr Justice Ching can speak Chinese but not read it. The Judiciary has been promoting bilingualism. Mr Justice Litton is believed to hold a British passport.
Article 90 of the Basic Law says the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal shall be a Chinese citizen and permanent resident of the region without right of abode in any foreign country.
A Liu supporter said yesterday Mr Justice Ching and Mr Justice Litton had only a small chance.
'The race will still be between Mr Li and Justice Liu,' he said.
A judicial source said Mr Tung had not officially recommended one of the candidates, so that the commission would remain impartial.
The Bar Association and Law Society have been asked for their recommendations.