On 20 April 2017, the Hon. Prof. Andrew Li, First Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal delivered a lecture on Judicial Independence in Hong Kong upon the invitation of Prof. Lin Feng, Associate Dean of School of Law, CityU, and Director of the Centre for Judicial Education and Research, CityU. The lecture was well received by the LLM and JSD Chinese judge students and teachers of SLW.
Prof. Geraint Howells, Dean of the School of Law, CityU, chaired the lecture. After giving a brief opening remark and introducing Prof. Li, Prof. Howells turned the floor over to Prof. Li to commence his lecture, which evolved from the topic of Judicial Independence in Hong Kong. Prof. Li pointed out that “the rule of law with an independent Judiciary is universally recognised as a cornerstone of Hong Kong under One Country, Two Systems.” The arrangements for the appointment and removal of judges are designed to guarantee judicial independence. The Hong Kong Judiciary has also published a Guide to Judicial Conduct, in which it stated that a judge must be independent, impartial and display integrity and propriety in all matters of conduct both in and out of court.
Prof. Li also introduced some interesting features of the Hong Kong Judiciary, including, the inclusion of expatriate judges, the undertaking that judges at District Court and above shall not return to private legal practice in Hong Kong without the consent of the Chief Executive, and the purpose of audio recording during all court proceedings, among other things.
During the Q & A session, the Chinese judge students had an in-depth discussion with Prof. Li, sharing their thoughts and views about legal and social issues in both Hong Kong and Mainland China.
Two hours slipped away quickly, and the judge students still longed for more time to listen to Prof. Li. They thought the lecture provided a platform for them to better understand the differences between the two judicial systems.