Ma takes oath as HK's second chief justice

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 September, 2010, 12:00am

The newly appointed chief justice vowed to do his best to safeguard the rule of law and judicial independence as he was sworn in as the head of the Court of Final Appeal yesterday.

Mr Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li became the second chief justice, succeeding Andrew Li Kwok-nang, who had served since the 1997 handover. Li is retiring.

In the judicial oath at Government House, Ma swore that as chief justice of the city's highest court, he would uphold the Basic Law, bear allegiance to Hong Kong, serve it conscientiously, safeguard the law, and administer justice without fear or favour, self-interest or deceit.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who witnessed the ceremony, urged Ma, as head of the judiciary, to uphold the rule of law and independence of the judiciary and to safeguard the rights and freedom of Hong Kong people.

Tsang lauded Ma for his rich experience in the judiciary, saying his performance was outstanding and well recognised when he served as a High Court judge.

'I believe Mr Justice Ma is absolutely competent for his new job,' Tsang said.

Ma started his legal practice in 1980 and joined the judiciary in 2001. He was named the chief High Court judge in 2003.

In his speech, Ma said: 'It is a great honour and privilege for me to be the ... second chief justice and to be able to serve the people of Hong Kong. I am, of course, aware of my responsibilities, chief among them is to safeguard the rule of law and maintain the independence of judiciary. I will do my best.'

Earlier this week Ma said he was aware of public expectations and that he would do his best in the job.

He had said outside the Court of Final Appeal: 'I am fully aware of the community's expectations of the chief justice. I will do my best to uphold the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.'