SJ delivers talk to teachers

December 1, 2021
Law lecture
Law lecture :

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng delivers a talk at the course held for school principals and teachers.

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng highlighted the fundamental importance of the rule of law to more than 180 school principals and teachers at a training course today.


The training course was co-organised by Endeavour Education Centre and the Education Bureau to provide teachers with a proper understanding of the rule of law, the Constitution and the Basic Law as well as the importance of national security.


Ms Cheng emphasised that judicial independence is the cornerstone of the rule of law, which is premised on the solid infrastructure that has been laid down in the Basic Law, including the security of tenure, the immunity of judges, and importantly, the express provision in Article 85 of the Basic Law that guarantees judicial independence free from any interference.


Regarding the recent instances of intimidation against judges and judicial officers, Ms Cheng said that judges in exercising their judicial power must take into account the applicable law and admissible evidence.


Their judgments set out the full reasons for arriving at a decision which is in accord with the basic principle that judges are to decide cases according to the law impartially and independently, she added.


She said it is fundamental to the rule of law that everyone should respect court decisions and obey court orders. Attacks made against the Judiciary simply based on the outcome of cases or made with an attempt to exert undue influence on judges by means of doxxing or threats of violence are not only unacceptable in a law-abiding society but will also be to no avail.  


On prosecution policy, the Secretary for Justice said that Article 63 of the Basic Law guarantees all prosecutions are controlled by the Department of Justice free from any interference.


All prosecutorial decisions are based on admissible evidence and applicable laws, she said, noting that prosecutions would be instituted only if there is sufficient admissible evidence to support a reasonable prospect of conviction and if it is in the public interest to do so.


The Department of Justice has been carrying out this constitutional duty in a professional and fair manner, she added.


In explaining the rule of law in international legal order, Ms Cheng outlined the principles of equality of states and non-intervention and noted that improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is within the purview of the central authorities.


She said the improved system ensures the balanced and orderly political participation of the community and broader representation and called on electors to cast votes in the Legislative Council Election on December 19 to build a brighter future for Hong Kong together.


Ms Cheng also introduced to the principals and teachers the basic principles of statutory law and common law in Hong Kong's legal system, adding that rights and freedoms are protected by the Basic Law.


She said that such rights and freedoms are not absolute but may be subject to restrictions which are, amongst others, in the interests of public order and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.


Concluding her talk, Ms Cheng said that Hong Kong has been making progress in international rankings on the rule of law since Hong Kong's return to the motherland.


The Worldwide Governance Indicators project of the World Bank Group showed that Hong Kong's percentile rank in respect of the rule of law was 69.85 in 1996.


With the full implementation of "one country, two systems" and safeguards provided for by the Basic Law, Hong Kong's score reached 74.75 in 2000 and has been consistently above 90 since 2003.

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