Kemal Bokhary

Kemal Bokhary is the former permanent judge of Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal. Bokhary qualified as a barrister in the United Kingdom at 23 but returned to work in Hong Kong, where he was born. He has served as one of the four permanent judges in the Court of Final Appeal since 1997. Bokhary is known for his sense of humour in court. He stepped down on October 24, 2012 – a day before he turned 65.


Bokhary's memoirs offer look at the man who held the gavel

Kemal Bokhary gained a reputation as the city's most liberal judge. Photo: SCMP

It's sometimes easy to forget that judges are human beings. Each appears much like another under their wig and gown. They seldom, if ever, give media interviews or express their views in public, and we usually hear from them only when they deliver their court judgments.

Sunday, 7 July, 2013, 2:17pm

Talking points

Ferry captains back in court

Ferry captains back in court

9 May 2013 - 4:45am

A life in court: lawyers, robbers and other reptiles

Kemal Bokhary

It was a key court ruling on the "one country, two systems" principle that made Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary want to stay on as a permanent judge as he neared retirement.

24 Apr 2013 - 4:06am 2 comments

Who said it?

Kemal Bokhary

If you see something that you do not like about the mainland and you criticise it, that is not an attack against the country.

18 Apr 2013 - 3:18am

Patriots can be Beijing critics too, liberal judge Kemal Bokhary says

Justice Kemal Bokhary says being critical of the mainland does not make one's love for the country any less. Photo: Sam Tsang

Criticism of the mainland in areas one dislikes does not amount to being unpatriotic - a trait Beijing officials have signalled should disqualify one from vying for chief executive - a liberal judge of the top court says.

18 Apr 2013 - 8:48am 10 comments

Who said it?

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah

I expect 2013 to be a year full of challenges - we cannot be too optimistic

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah on the city's economic outlook


You can find a good judge just anywhere and a bad judge just anywhere as well

Former Court of Final Appeal judge Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary


8 Jan 2013 - 2:57am

Courts are keen to convict, claim lawyers

Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club yesterday. Photo: Sam Tsang

Lawyers are suggesting that judges are becoming more inclined to convict defendants as growing numbers of former prosecutors join the bench.

This follows the appointment last week of four District Court judges, two of whom had held senior positions in the Department of Justice, including a former senior assistant director of public prosecutions.

8 Jan 2013 - 6:04am 1 comment

Ex-justice secretary Wong Yan-lung denies 'storm cloud' over judiciary

Former Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary said in October that "storm clouds of unprecedented ferocity" were gathering over the courts. Photo: Felix Wong

The previous secretary for justice says he sees no "storm clouds" gathering over the rule of law, countering a judge's recent warning of a threat to the city's judicial independence.

One of the city's best-known judges, Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary, said in October that "storm clouds of unprecedented ferocity" were gathering over the courts.

8 Dec 2012 - 4:10am

Liberal judge Bokhary stands by his dissenting views

Kemal Bokhary

One of Hong Kong's best-known judges, who believes he was obliged to accept retirement because of his liberal views, yesterday again warned of the threat to the city's rule of law if judicial decisions were overturned outside the courts.

6 Dec 2012 - 3:40am 3 comments

Letters to the Editor, November 20, 2012

A building in Gaza is hit during an Israeli air strike. Photo: AP

Appalling lack of respect for marine life

Unfortunately the recent case of people at Lung Mei destroying sea life is not an isolated one.

20 Nov 2012 - 3:08am

Who said it?

Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary

In a free and open society, controversy is a hallmark

Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary, recently retired judge of Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal, on the fierce public debate surrounding judicial rulings


It was great. We had a lot of doughnuts

17 Nov 2012 - 1:37am

Kemal Bokhary rejects call to exclude overseas judges from top court

Kemal Bokhary

Nationality should not be a criterion for appointing judges to the city's top court, Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary said yesterday, rejecting a suggestion that only Chinese nationals should take up the posts.

17 Nov 2012 - 4:23am 1 comment

Kemal Bokhary rejects nationality criterion for top judges

Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary. Photo: Felix Wong

Nationality should not be a criterion for appointing judges to the city’s top court, Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary said on Friday.

16 Nov 2012 - 7:49pm 2 comments

Letters to the Editor, November 10, 2012

Ex-permanent judge Kemal Bokhary. Photo: Felix Wong

Impartiality must be the legal standard

I read with misgivings the dubious claim of Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary, former permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal, that his "liberalism" cost him an extended appointment despite his impeccable understanding of Hong Kong's legal relations with China ("Former judge: 'I was ousted for being too liberal'", November 5).

11 Jun 2015 - 4:33pm 1 comment

City Digest, November 6, 2012

Court idea an attack on judges: lawmaker

6 Nov 2012 - 3:29am