Chief Justice responds to Lord Sumption’s resignation article, affirms Hong Kong Judiciary’s commitment to impartiality

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Chief Justice Andrew Cheung

11th June 2024 – (Hong Kong) Chief Justice Andrew Cheung of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal has issued a statement in response to Lord Sumption’s recent article announcing his resignation as a Non-Permanent Judge. The statement addresses several key points:

Firstly, the Chief Justice expresses gratitude for Lord Sumption’s past contributions to the Court of Final Appeal, emphasising the Hong Kong Judiciary’s acknowledgment of his work.

Regarding ongoing proceedings and potential appeals, the Judiciary maintains its policy of not commenting on such matters or the comments made by others. While recognizing the right to express opinions publicly, the Chief Justice advises caution, as public statements could potentially exert pressure or interfere with the administration of justice.

The statement asserts that judges at all levels are expected to uphold the Judicial Oath, deciding cases impartially and independently based on the law and evidence. Any suggestion that their decisions are influenced by extraneous factors, including political considerations, must be substantiated adequately and not made lightly.

The Chief Justice acknowledges the delicate balance between protecting fundamental rights and safeguarding national security, a challenge faced by the Hong Kong Judiciary. While acknowledging that court decisions may be subject to controversy, the statement cautions against implying that fundamental rights are compromised due to political concerns.

Lastly, the Chief Justice expresses confidence in the Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal, affirming their commitment to integrity and professionalism in handling any appeals.