Doing Hong Kong justice

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 July, 2011, 12:00am


1900: Construction begins on what was then to be the Supreme Court building. Designed by Aston Webb and E. Ingress Bell, consulting architects to the Crown Agents to the Colonies, the building features colonnades, dome and hip roofs covered by Chinese tiles, in a mixture of neoclassical and traditional Chinese styles. A blindfolded statue of Themis, the Greek goddess of justice and law, stands on top, holding a sword in her left hand and a pair of scales in her right, symbolising the power and fairness of the court. The blindfold represents impartiality.

1912: Construction finishes. Governor Sir Frederick Lugard officially opens the Supreme Court building.

1941-1945: During the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, the building becomes the headquarters of the military police. Its basement is used to hold prisoners of war.

1945: The second world war ends. The building resumes its function as the Supreme Court.

1978: The building closes for maintenance due to cracks in the structure caused by construction of the MTR.

1984: The exterior of the building is declared a monument and protected under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance.

1985: Internal conversion works are completed to turn the building into the home of the Legco.

July 1, 1997: Ousted Democrats stage a protest on the balcony at the disbanding of the current Legco, vowing to come back after the 1998 election.

July 9, 1997: The Provisional Legco, which worked in Shenzhen for three months before the handover, as it was not recognised by the British colonial government, holds its first meeting.

1998 - present day: The building serves as the home of the post-handover Legco

July 18, 2011: Former and incumbent lawmakers will attend a ceremony to bid farewell to the building.

September: Legislators will move out.

2012: Court of Final Appeal due to move in after conversion works are completed.