Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Hong Kong’s first chief justice after the handover, Andrew Li Kwok-nang, has refuted suggestions the judicial review process is being abused, saying reviews should not be seen as being a “nuisance” for the government.
Retired Court of Final Appeal judge Henry Litton last week criticized Umbrella Movement student leader Yvonne Leung Kai- kwok for her application earlier this year for a judicial review to challenge the government’s political reform package. He described it as “simply grandstanding that should be roundly condemned.”
However Li, who served as chief justice from 1997 to 2010, wrote in a commentary the legal system prevents the abuse of judicial reviews as they require court permission before commencing.
Li agreed judicial reviews may be “an inconvenience to the public authority” as they often take time, expense and delay the implementation of decisions, but “convenience and justice are sometimes not on speaking terms” under the rule of law.
Legal sector legislator and Civic Party member Dennis Kwok Wing-hang agreed with Li that the threshold for a judicial review to be permitted is satisfactory.
“If a person is approved for legal aid, plus the court sees that they have a realistic prospect of winning the case, why should they be banned from the court?” Kwok asked.
But pro-establishment lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun sided with Litton and said the public has already disregarded judicial reviews that are filed with political motivations.
Li responded to such allegations: “I do not think that attributing improper motives to to the unsuccessful applicants in such cases will contribute to a constructive debate on the matter.”