Judge Bokhary confident of HK judiciary’s independence
Liberal judge Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary said on Monday he was confident that the courts would act independently when they dealt with the government’s recent controversial request to Beijing for a reinterpretation on the right of abode law.
“Nobody can pick up the phone and tell the judges what to do,” the former permanent judge said in a speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. “If you want to undo what you did, you have to do it openly.
“That’s the way it was and I believe that’s the way it is,” he said. “Without [independence], the rule of law will die. If it continues, the rule of law will live.”
He was referring to the government’s request that the Court of Final Appeal ask the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to clarify abode provisions in the Basic Law to resolve issues involving foreign maids and children born in Hong Kong to mainland parents.
When he retired in October, Bokhary spoke of “storm clouds of unprecedented ferocity” gathering over the judiciary. Asked on Monday if he was referring to the reinterpretation, Bokhary said he would not answer that directly because the case was before the court now.
But he said people could work it out themselves by remembering what he said about other judges standing up to the storm and his call for the courts to put their faith in the people of Hong Kong, the academy, the profession and the media.
Bokhary earlier said that he believed he did not have his term as a permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal extended because of his liberal judgments. He now serves as a non-permanent judge, sitting in court occasionally.