GBA rule of law action plan released

April 12, 2024

The Action Plan on the Construction of Rule of Law in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has been released, the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced today.


Secretary for Justice Paul Lam explained that the action plan has two intentions, namely to underpin the guiding principle of “Three Interfaces, Two Connects & One Greater Bay Area”, and strengthen collaboration with the legal and dispute resolution sectors and other stakeholders to effectively implement policy measures set out in the plan.


Through mechanisms, regulatory frameworks and talent – the “three interfaces” – the DoJ said it will promote hardware and software connectivity in constructing rule of law in the bay area, co-operation between the various cities according to their respective strengths, and collaboration between different legal systems, thereby eventually achieving the goal of “one Greater Bay Area”.


Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan, who is also the leading Hong Kong-side official in the working group on Guangdong-Hong Kong co-operation on legal and dispute resolution services, and in the working group on Hong Kong-Shenzhen legal co-operation, elaborated on specific measures under the “three interfaces”.


In relation to the interface of mechanisms, the DoJ will make good use of the mechanisms already established with other bay area ministries and stakeholders, and promote the setting up of a high-level bay area platform with the Supreme People’s Court to take forward practical and research work on judicial and legal matters relating to the bay area.


The DoJ will also promote the establishment of a bay area legal and dispute resolution services information platform to enable people and enterprises to obtain comprehensive and accurate information.


With regard to the regulatory frameworks interface, the DoJ has been taking steps to expand the scope of application of “allowing Hong Kong-invested enterprises to adopt Hong Kong law” and “allowing Hong Kong-invested enterprises to choose for arbitration to be seated in Hong Kong”.


Moreover, it will promote the formulation of best practices in bay area non-litigation dispute resolution rules to facilitate the interface and co-ordination of different dispute resolution services in the bay area, and prepare to organise bay area mediator training programmes in Hong Kong. It will also set up a bay area online dispute resolution platform to facilitate the development of a multifaceted dispute resolution mechanism, and support Hong Kong mediation organisations in handling commercial mediation cases in the bay area in the form of “specially invited mediation organisations”.


In terms of talent, the DoJ will put forward new measures, including the establishment of the Hong Kong International Legal Talents Training Academy, to gather and nurture foreign-related legal talent in the bay area, and advocate for the establishment of a platform for bay area lawyers to drive their professional development. It will also enable the Hong Kong legal sector to integrate into the bay area’s development in order to build a competitive brand of legal services, and organise visits and exchanges to encourage the development of bay area legal talent.


Mr Lam said the action plan, released on the fifth anniversary of the promulgation of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, demonstrates the importance the DoJ attaches to its work relating to the bay area.


He said: “The DoJ will take action as a means and adopt a result-oriented approach to pursue in a pragmatic spirit the implementation of the action plan during the tenure of the current-term Government, with a view to contributing to the construction of rule of law in the (bay area) with concrete results.”


He emphasised that the DoJ will deepen co-operation among stakeholders, including establishing standing and effective interface mechanisms with Mainland authorities, and listen to people’s views.


The department will also encourage various sectors to open up opportunities, while assisting them in forming a platform for exchange and collaboration, so as to achieve integrated growth and contribute to the country’s strategic development, he added.

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