Common Law

Rule of law suffers when Hong Kong targets money laundering

HSBC has been convicted in the media of money laundering in Mexico because it handled money that the US Drug Enforcement Agency has made the world believe comes from drug trafficking, although the DEA brought no such charges. Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong's efforts to tackle money laundering are under increasing strain due to a surge in the number of suspicious transactions being reported and concerns over a brain drain of investigators to the private sector.

Sunday, 24 February, 2013, 1:50am 5 comments

Why judges need the moral manoeuvre of common law

Why judges need the moral manoeuvre of common law

Someone from a foreign legal system visits a common law courthouse. In one court, a hostile judge asks a lawyer: "Is there any legal precedent that I CAN do this?" In the court next door, a hostile judge asks another lawyer: "Is there any legal precedent that I CANNOT do this?"

19 Feb 2013 - 4:15am 1 comment

What's being said on

There are strong expectations on Shanghai building a free-trade zone. Photo: AFP

On Shanghai building a free-trade zone:

Patrick Shu Wing-lee - Hong Kong still has the edge, but must not sit idly doing nothing to improve further. Otherwise, other cities on [the] mainland may take over some day. Hong Kong will then drop to second or third place.

Sam Ho - Hong Kong should not be complacent, or it will be overtaken by its neighbours.

30 Jan 2013 - 4:21am

Preserve common law after 2047: top Hong Kong judge

Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li

Common law should remain the basis of Hong Kong's legal system beyond 2047, the end of the 50-year guarantee stated in the Basic Law, the city's top judge says.

Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li also warned that the judiciary's authority would be undermined if the government again sought a Basic Law interpretation from Beijing in the way it did in the 1999 right of abode case.

24 Jan 2013 - 8:34am 30 comments

Only one verdict on foreign judges

Justice Kemal Bokhary bids fairwell to reporters outside Court of Final Appeal in Central. Photo: SCMP

It's debatable whether Hong Kong will survive or become just another Chinese city if we don't bend over backwards to attract talented expats. But there is one area in which the presence of foreign expertise has been a pillar of our city: the judiciary.

28 Nov 2012 - 4:50am 8 comments

Overseas judges vital for Hong Kong's common law system

There is a growing sense of discomfort at the judiciary becoming a subject for public debate. The first charge was brought by the former secretary for justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie, who accused Hong Kong's top court of making "mistakes" in its right of abode ruling a decade ago. Then, only a few days later, the nationality of our judges was put under the public spotlight.

14 Nov 2012 - 3:16am 1 comment

Agree how to disagree - the first step to dispute resolution

The only thing predictable about commercial disputes is that they are inevitable. What steps can the prudent executive take to minimise the disruptions from disputes?

While disputes are unavoidable, effective planning can reduce the disruptions they cause.

24 Oct 2012 - 4:01am

Judge blasts developers for wasting time with planning appeals

A judge yesterday accused developers of increasingly using judicial reviews to challenge decisions by city planners, causing serious delays to development.

6 Sep 2012 - 3:45am

Former chief justice sings Wong's praises

Former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang has taken the unusual step of making public a personal letter paying tribute to the 'outstanding contribution' of Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung, who steps down this week after seven years in the job.

27 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Perils of letting patriarch hold all the assets

Trusts have many uses, even in a low-tax regime like Hong Kong. They can be effective for long-term wealth planning and can provide assurance that assets and wealth will pass intact to the next generation.

22 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Bar Association fights bid to hire top UK lawyer

The Bar Association is fighting a bid by the government to hire a top British lawyer to represent it in a legal battle over the estate of late tycoon Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum.

6 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Solicitors in high courts by end of year

Solicitors with the right experience or qualifications may represent clients in the high courts - long the exclusive domain of barristers - by the end of this year.

A government assessment board set up to screen solicitors said yesterday that qualification standards would be gazetted in May, by which time it would start accepting such applications.

31 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

Judicial reviews worth defending

Concerns have been raised that lawyers are abusing the legal process for personal gain by handling judicial reviews challenging government policies. These are serious allegations. Thankfully, there is no evidence to suggest that this is happening. Applications for legal aid are subject to rigorous scrutiny. The merits of each case are carefully examined.

21 Oct 2011 - 12:00am

Model's case spotlights a tenet of rule of law

A lingerie model's state of mind is poised to become Exhibit A in the criminal courts - and the rule of law will benefit from the experience.

18 Oct 2011 - 12:00am

Smart Money

Useful investing resources - wills and inheritances:

3 Oct 2011 - 12:00am