Court of Final Appeal (Hong Kong)
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Court of Final Appeal Hong Kong

Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal
HongKongCourtOfFinalAppeal.svg
The logo features the Court of Final Appeal Building
Established1 July 1997; 22 years ago (1997-07-01)
Location8 Jackson Road, Central,
Hong Kong[1]
Coordinates22°16?51?N 114°09?37?E / 22.28090°N 114.16035°E / 22.28090; 114.16035Coordinates: 22°16?51?N 114°09?37?E / 22.28090°N 114.16035°E / 22.28090; 114.16035
Composition methodAppointment by the Chief Executive acting in accordance with the recommendation of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission with Legislative Council endorsement
Authorized byHong Kong Basic Law
Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance
Judge term length70 for the Chief Justice and Permanent Judges, but this may be extended by two three-year terms, meaning retirement age can be extended to 76; no retirement age for non-permanent judges
Number of positionsOne Chief Justice, at least three permanent judges and at most 30 non-permanent judges
WebsiteHong Kong Court of Final Appeal
Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal
CurrentlyGeoffrey Ma
Since1 September 2010
Court of Final Appeal
Traditional Chinese

The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (HKCFA or CFA; Chinese: ) is the final appellate court of Hong Kong. It was established on 1 July 1997, upon the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, replacing the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the highest judicial institution under Hong Kong law. As defined in the Basic Law of Hong Kong, the Court of Final Appeal is constitutionally allowed to exercise its judicial powers free from interference. The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance and the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Rules set out the functions and procedures of the court.

The Court of Final Appeal has no original jurisdiction; an appeal has to originate from the High Court (either from the Court of Appeal or the Court of First Instance). All appeal cases are heard by a bench of five judges consisting of the Chief Justice, three permanent judges and a non-permanent judge from another common law jurisdiction. If the Chief Justice does not sit in an appeal, a permanent judge is designated to sit in the Chief Justice's place, and a non-permanent judge from Hong Kong will sit on the court as well. Similarly, if a permanent judge is unable to sit, a non-permanent Hong Kong judge will sit in place of that permanent judge. Technically, should a non-permanent judge from outside Hong Kong be unable to attend due to extraordinary circumstances, two non-permanent Hong Kong judges may sit on the court.

Role

From the 1840s to 1 July 1997, Hong Kong was a British Dependent Territory, and the power of final adjudication on the laws of Hong Kong was vested in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. The power to exercise sovereignty over Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. Based on the one country, two systems principle, Hong Kong retains its a high degree of autonomy and maintains its own legal system. The Court of Final Appeal was established on 1 July 1997 in Central, Hong Kong. Since then, it has served as the court of last resort, thus administering the power of final adjudication on the laws of Hong Kong.

Under the Basic Law, the constitutional document of Hong Kong, the special administrative region remains a common law jurisdiction. Judges from other common law jurisdictions can be recruited and serve in the judiciary as non-permanent judges according to Article 92 of the Basic Law. Judges appointed pursuant to Article 92 have served in the judiciaries of England and Wales, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

The court has the power of final adjudication with respect to the law of Hong Kong as well as the power of final interpretation over local laws including the power to strike down local ordinances on the grounds of inconsistency with the Basic Law.[2][3]

Article 158 Interpretation

The power of final interpretation of national law including the Basic Law is vested in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China (NPCSC) by virtue of Article 158 of the Basic Law and by the Constitution of the PRC, however national laws which are not explicitly listed in Annex III of the Basic Law are not operative in Hong Kong.

Article 158 delegates such power to the courts of Hong Kong for interpretation while handling court cases. Although this arrangement has attracted criticism of "undermining judicial independence", an interpretation by the NPCSC does not affect any court judgments already rendered.

Instances of Article 158 interpretations are as follows:

Building

From its inception in July 1997 until September 2015, the court was located in the Former French Mission Building, in Central.[4] In September 2015 the court relocated to the former (until 2011) Legislative Council Building, which was originally the colonial Supreme Court (1912-1985).

Gallery

List of Permanent Judges

Chief Justices

No. Name Appointed by Took office Tenure length Higher Education Previous Judicial Office Silk
1 Andrew Li Kwok-nang
(Born 12 December 1948; age 70)
Tung Chee-hwa 1 July 1997
-
31 August 2010
13 years and 62 days University of Cambridge (MA, LLM) Deputy District Judge (1982)
Deputy High Court Judge (1991)
QC (1988)
2 Geoffrey Ma Tao-li
(Born 11 January 1956; age 63)
Donald Tsang 1 September 2010
-
Incumbent
9 years and 97 days University of Birmingham (LLB)

College of Law

Recorder of the Court of First Instance (2000-01)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (2001-02)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2002-03)
Chief Judge of the High Court (2003-10)
QC (1993)

Permanent Judges

No. Name Appointed by Replacing Took office Tenure length Higher education Previous judicial offices Silk
1 Henry Denis Litton
(Born 7 August 1934; age 85)
Tung Chee-hwa Inaugural 1 July 1997
-
14 September 2000
3 years and 76 days University of Oxford (MA) Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (1992-95)
Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (1995-97)
QC (1970)
2 Charles Arthur Ching
(7 October 1935 - 30 November 2000; aged 65)
Tung Chee-hwa Inaugural 1 July 1997
-
7 October 2000
3 years and 99 days University of Oxford (MA) Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (1995-97) QC (1974)
3 Syed Kemal Shah Bokhary
(Born 25 October 1947; age 72)
Tung Chee-hwa Inaugural 1 July 1997
-
24 October 2012
15 years and 116 days Inns of Court School of Law Judge of the High Court of Justice (1989-93)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (1993-97)
QC (1983)
4 Patrick Chan Siu-oi
(Born 21 October 1948; age 71)
Tung Chee-hwa Litton 1 September 2000
-
20 October 2013
13 years and 50 days University of Hong Kong (LLB, PCLL) Judge of the District Court (1987-91)
Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court (1991-92)
Judge of the High Court of Justice (1992-97)
Chief Judge of the High Court (1997-2000)
5 Roberto Alexandre Vieira Ribeiro
(Born 20 March 1949; age 70)
Tung Chee-hwa Ching 1 September 2000
-
Incumbent
19 years and 97 days London School of Economics (LLB, LLM) Recorder of the Court of First Instance (1997-99)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (1999-2000)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2000)
QC (1990)
6 Robert Tang Kwok-ching
(Born 7 January 1947; age 72)
Leung Chun-ying Bokhary 25 October 2012
-
24 October 2018
6 years and 0 days University of Birmingham (LLB) Deputy District Judge (1982)
Deputy High Court Judge (1986)
Recorder of the High Court of Justice/Court of First Instance (1995-2004)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (2004-05)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2005-06)
Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (2006-12)
Non-Permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal (2010-12)
QC (1986)
7 Joseph Paul Fok
(Born 24 September 1962; age 57)
Leung Chun-ying Chan 21 October 2013
-
Incumbent
6 years and 47 days University College London (LLB)

Inns of Court School of Law

Recorder of the Court of First Instance (2003-09)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (2010-11)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2011-13)
SC (1999)
8 Andrew Cheung Kui-nung
(Born 24 September 1961; age 58)
Carrie Lam Tang 25 October 2018
-
Incumbent
1 year and 43 days University of Hong Kong (LLB, PCLL)

Harvard Law School (LLM)

District Judge (2001-03)
Deputy High Court Judge (2001-03)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (2003-11)
Chief Judge of the High Court (2011-18)

List of Non-Permanent Judges

Current Non-Permanent Judges from Hong Kong

Name Appointed by Took office Tenure Length Previous judicial office
Frank Stock Donald Tsang 1 September 2010 9 years and 97 days Deputy High Court Judge (1991)
Judge of the High Court of Justice/Court of First Instance (1992-2000)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2000-09)
Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (2009-14)
Syed Kemal Shah Bokhary Leung Chun-ying 25 October 2012 7 years and 43 days Judge of the High Court of Justice (1989-93)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (1993-97)
Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal (1997-2012)
Patrick Chan Siu-oi Leung Chun-ying 21 October 2013 6 years and 47 days Judge of the District Court (1987-91)
Deputy Registrar of the Supreme Court (1991-92)
Judge of the High Court of Justice (1992-97)
Chief Judge of the High Court (1997-2000)
Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal (2000-13)
Robert Tang Kwok-ching Carrie Lam 25 October 2018 1 year and 43 days Deputy District Judge (1982)
Deputy High Court Judge (1986)
Recorder for the High Court of Justice/Court of First Instance (1995-2004)
Judge of the Court of First Instance (2004-05)
Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal (2005-06)
Vice-President of the Court of Appeal (2006-12)
Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal (2010-12)
Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal (2012-18)

Current Non-Permanent Judges from Other Common Law Jurisdictions

Chinese name English name Jurisdiction Appointed by Took office Tenure Length Prior most senior judicial role
Lord Hoffmann United Kingdom United Kingdom Tung Chee-hwa 12 January 1998 21 years and 329 days Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (1995-2009)
Lord Millett United Kingdom United Kingdom Tung Chee-hwa 28 July 2000 19 years and 132 days Lord of Appeal in Ordinary (1998-2004)
Murray Gleeson Australia Australia Donald Tsang 1 March 2009 10 years and 281 days Chief Justice of Australia (1998-2008)
Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe United Kingdom United Kingdom Donald Tsang 1 March 2009 10 years and 281 days Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2009-2013)
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury United Kingdom United Kingdom Donald Tsang 1 March 2009 10 years and 281 days President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2012-2017)
Lord Collins of Mapesbury United Kingdom United Kingdom Donald Tsang 30 June 2011 8 years and 160 days Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2009-2011);
Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony United Kingdom United Kingdom Donald Tsang 30 June 2011 8 years and 160 days Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2009-2017)
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers United Kingdom United Kingdom Leung Chun-ying 1 October 2012 7 years and 67 days President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2009-2012)
James Spigelman Australia Australia Leung Chun-ying 29 July 2013 6 years and 131 days Chief Justice of New South Wales (1998-2011)
William Gummow Australia Australia Leung Chun-ying 29 July 2013 6 years and 131 days Justice of the High Court of Australia (1995-2012)
Robert French Australia Australia Leung Chun-ying 31 May 2017 2 years and 190 days Chief Justice of Australia (2008-2017)
Lord Reed United Kingdom United Kingdom Leung Chun-ying 31 May 2017 2 years and 190 days Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2018-present)
Baroness Hale of Richmond United Kingdom United Kingdom Carrie Lam 30 July 2018[5] 1 year and 130 days President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2017-present)
Beverley McLachlin Canada Canada Carrie Lam 30 July 2018[5] 1 year and 130 days Chief Justice of Canada (2000-2017)
Lord Sumption United Kingdom United Kingdom Carrie Lam 4 December 2019 3 days Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (2012-2018)

Former Non-Permanent Judges from Hong Kong

Name Took Office Left Office Tenure Length
Sir Denys Roberts 28 July 1997 27 July 2003 6 years and 0 days
Sir Alan Huggins 28 July 1997 27 July 2003 6 years and 0 days
Neil Macdougall 28 July 1997 27 July 2003 6 years and 0 days
Art McMullin 28 July 1997 27 July 2003 6 years and 0 days
Sir Derek Cons 28 July 1997 27 July 2006 9 years and 0 days
Philip Gerard Clough 28 July 1997 27 July 2006 9 years and 0 days
William James Silke 28 July 1997 27 July 2009 12 years and 0 days
Kutlu Tekin Fuad 28 July 1997 27 July 2009 12 years and 0 days
Sir Noel Power 28 July 1997 19 November 2009 12 years and 115 days
Gerald Nazareth 28 July 1997 27 July 2012 15 years and 0 days
John Mortimer 28 July 1997 27 July 2015 18 years and 0 days
Henry Litton 14 September 2000 27 July 2015 14 years and 317 days
Charles Ching 7 October 2000 30 November 2000 55 days
Michael Hartmann 1 September 2010 31 August 2016 6 years and 0 days

Former Non-Permanent Judges from Other Common Law Jurisdictions

Jurisdiction Name Took Office Left Office Tenure Length
New Zealand/United Kingdom New Zealand / United Kingdom Lord Cooke of Thorndon 28 July 1997 27 July 2006 9 years and 0 days
New Zealand New Zealand Sir Edward Somers 28 July 1997 27 July 2003 6 years and 0 days
Australia Australia Sir Anthony Mason 28 July 1997 27 July 2015 18 years and 0 days
Australia Australia Sir Daryl Dawson 1 September 1997 31 August 2003 6 years and 0 days
United Kingdom United Kingdom Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead 12 January 1998 11 January 2004 6 years and 0 days
Australia Australia Sir Gerard Brennan 28 July 2000 27 July 2012 12 years and 0 days
New Zealand New Zealand Sir Thomas Eichelbaum 28 July 2000 27 July 2012 12 years and 0 days
United Kingdom United Kingdom Lord Woolf 28 July 2003 27 July 2012 9 years and 0 days
United Kingdom United Kingdom Lord Scott of Foscote 28 July 2003 27 July 2012 9 years and 0 days
New Zealand New Zealand Sir Ivor Richardson 28 July 2003 27 July 2009 6 years and 0 days
Australia Australia Michael McHugh 1 July 2006 30 June 2012 6 years and 0 days
New Zealand New Zealand Sir Thomas Gault 1 July 2006 19 May 2015 8 years and 323 days

See also

References

  1. ^ "Court Services & Facilities - Court of Final Appeal". Government of Hong Kong. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ [1] Archived 16 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ [2] Archived 4 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Finance Committee - Public Works Subcommittee (Papers) 8 Nov 95". Government of Hong Kong. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ a b Hong Kong Gazette Notice GN5815/2018

External links


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