• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 10:36am
NewsHong Kong
JUDICIARY

Law groups fight back after Elsie Leung attack

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 12:41pm

Two legal bodies issued strong defences of Hong Kong's independent judiciary yesterday, with the Law Society warning the government to "act cautiously" before seeking any interpretation of the Basic Law from Beijing.

The society and the Bar Association were defending the judiciary against a scathing attack by a former justice minister, Elsie Leung Oi-sie, on Saturday.

Leung said the legal profession, including judges, lacked an understanding of the relationship between Beijing and Hong Kong. This had led to mistakes in previous rulings in which the top court had superseded the central government's power.

Leung urged the government to seek an interpretation of the Basic law from the National People's Congress Standing Committee to solve the issues surrounding mainland women giving birth in the city.

Yesterday the Law Society said it believed "the government should act cautiously when considering whether to seek an interpretation of any provisions of the Basic Law". It also said "a referral to the NPCSC to interpret Article 24(2)(1) of the Basic Law will undermine the authority and standing of the Court of Final Appeal and likely damage the rule of law in Hong Kong".

Later yesterday, the Department of Justice added its voice to the debate by saying judicial independence and the rule of law were Hong Kong's core values. Article 85 of the Basic Law, it said, specified that Hong Kong courts "shall exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference".

"The government is committed to upholding judicial independence and rule of law," it said.

The Bar Association said that while it had consistently acknowledged the NPC's power to interpret the Basic Law, Hong Kong's common-law system had to be defended.

"It is a cardinal principle of the common law that the interpretation of all enacted laws is a matter solely for the judges when deciding cases litigated before them," it said.

"Any act which interferes, or which may be perceived as interfering, with the independence of the judiciary in Hong Kong must be viewed with great circumspection."

At the centre of the debate is granting permanent residency to children born in Hong Kong to mothers from the mainland.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
2

This article is now closed to comments

Camel
It was this so called "independent" judge (what was his name again?) who overruled the immigration department's view on this very first case of a couple of mainland parents giving birth to a child in Hongkong, whose child received the by legal status the citizenship. Even with the providing of further material how the issue in the basic law was intepreted, and many advises and call for carefully review from the HK government, the judge in his arrogance didn't allow any challenge of his decision as well as any further review by anybody else. He referred to his status as an independent organ in the government and his power to set how the execusion of the law should be and how he himself interpreted it. (as if he did it on purpose knowing this would cause a lot of trouble but funny to see what will happen). The result is what we have now and we have to say to him. Thank you very much for the funny time so far.
likingming
Populism vs Rule of Law
First round : Populism defeated Rule of Law in 2000 by first-time Basic Law re-interpretation with the tacit approval of the people to deprive the abode rights of our 1.67m descendants mainlanders.
Second round : Populism is going to defeat Rule of Law again.
Ha! Ha! CORE value ? You must be kidding !

Login

SCMP.com Account

or