Human rights judges to be trained in Britain

JUDGES will be sent to Britain for extra training as the Judiciary prepares for the establishment of specialist human rights courts.

Two judges, one from the High Court and one from the District Court, will be nominated to join a human rights seminar to be held in London in February.

The Judiciary undertook to establish five additional courts at various levels at an annual cost of $17 million to handle cases involving the Bill of Rights and equal opportunities in the 1995-96 legislative year.

'It is good to have specialist judges looking after human rights issues since rulings would be much more consistent and listing of cases would be easier,' a judge said.

However, he said there were few human rights experts in Hong Kong, making it difficult to find enough judges for the new courts.

The judge said attending the human rights seminar in Britain would not be sufficient. He said they should at least have a one-year training course.

And they should be sent to Europe where human rights courts were more common and have some training in continental and international laws.

Deputy Judiciary administrator Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said the Judiciary had been collecting materials to build up a core library on human rights cases.

While the number of cases is small, with the specialist courts, Mr Cheung said, the Judiciary could tackle a sudden surge.

'Workload is particularly unpredictable for issues involving equal opportunities, such as sex discrimination. It is basically unchartered waters,' Mr Cheung said.