Andrew Cheung named Chief Justice

March 24, 2020

Chief Executive Carrie Lam today announced the appointment of Court of Final Appeal Permanent Judge Andrew Cheung as Court of Final Appeal Chief Justice with effect from January 11, 2021. 


Mrs Lam has accepted the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission's (JORC) recommendation on Mr Cheung’s appointment. Subject to the Legislative Council’s endorsement, the Chief Executive will make the appointment under Article 88 of the Basic Law.


Mrs Lam congratulated Mr Cheung on the impending appointment.


“Mr Justice Cheung is a highly competent judge with exceptional qualities and leadership. He is a person of high integrity and commands strong respect both within the Judiciary and from the legal profession. As Chief Judge of the High Court for over seven years, he possesses strong administrative experience in the operation of the Judiciary.


“The rule of law is the cornerstone of Hong Kong's stability and prosperity. An independent Judiciary plays a pivotal and indispensable role in upholding the rule of law and in ensuring the fair administration of justice; these are well recognised strengths of Hong Kong's judicial system.


“Throughout the years, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has been rendering all necessary support to the Judiciary in sustaining effective judicial administration.


“We have been meeting in full the resource requirements of the Judiciary, implementing the Judiciary's proposals on the remuneration and statutory retirement ages for judges and judicial officers, and taking forward the new High Court and new District Court projects."


She added that the Government will continue to provide the same support to Mr Cheung and members of the Judiciary.


Mrs Lam thanked Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma, who will be retiring in January 2021, for his staunch commitment and relentless efforts in safeguarding the rule of law and promoting the international status of the Judiciary, particularly amongst common law jurisdictions.


She also commended his sterling contribution in enhancing the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of judicial administration.


“The achievements of Chief Justice Ma have left behind a world-acclaimed Judiciary that will maintain its stature in the hands of his successor. With his solid judicial experience, I am confident that Mr Justice Cheung will discharge his duties as the head of the Judiciary with distinction.” 


Basic Law Article 88 provides that the Chief Executive shall appoint judges of Hong Kong SAR courts on the recommendation of an independent commission composed of local judges, people from the legal profession and eminent individuals from other sectors.


The JORC consists of the incumbent Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma as Chairman, the Secretary for Justice and seven other members, including two judges, one barrister, one solicitor and three people not connected with the practice of law.


Article 90 of the Basic Law states that the Chief Executive shall obtain LegCo’s endorsement on the appointment of Court of Final Appeal judges, including the Chief Justice. The Government will now proceed to seek LegCo’s endorsement of the recommended appointment.


Mr Cheung said he is honoured by the Chief Executive’s acceptance of JORC’s recommendation on the appointment.


He added he is fully conscious of the community’s high expectations of the Judiciary and that if appointed, he will do his utmost to ensure that the rule of law and judicial independence are maintained and that the rights and freedoms of the individual are safeguarded.

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