Govt refutes judge's comments

June 11, 2024

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)


Noting that the Government has expressed its strong disagreement with the personal opinions on the rule of law and independent judicial power of Hong Kong made by Lord Sumption who recently resigned as a non-permanent judge, Chief Executive John Lee supplemented that judges’ professional expertise is not on politics.


In a statement, the Government pointed out that there is absolutely no truth that Hong Kong courts are under any political pressure from the central authorities or the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government in the adjudication of national security cases or indeed any case of any nature; or that there is any decline in the rule of law in Hong Kong.


At a media session ahead of today's Executive Council meeting, Mr Lee said: “A judge is entitled to his personal political preferences, but that is not a judge’s area or professional expertise.


“A judge can like a particular system or dislike it. He may also like a particular law or not, but his professional duty is to interpret and apply that particular piece of law in accordance with legal principles and evidence.”


The Chief Executive recalled that in 2021, Lord Sumption refused to take part in a political boycott orchestrated in the UK and he said then that people should not confuse the rule of law with democracy. Lord Sumption also said there was no democracy during British rule in Hong Kong, but the rule of law was maintained at that time by judges deciding on cases according to the law and evidence.


Mr Lee pointed out: “Lord Sumption’s latest statement indicates that he does not like the political situation in Hong Kong, but this is exactly the area he has told us in 2021 that should not be confused with the rule of law. His recent statement looks to me to be contradictory to his previous stance in this regard.”


The Chief Executive stated that the Government has never, and will not allow anyone to interfere with the prosecutions of the Department of Justice and trials by the court.


“The court has always exercised its independent judicial power without any interference. This is how it was in the past, how it is at present, and how it will be in future. The rule of law in Hong Kong is strong and will not change.”


As for those UK officials and politicians who try to weaponise the UK’s judicial influence to target China and the Hong Kong SAR, Mr Lee stressed: “We should not allow it to happen. We shall protect judges, all round, from these undue interferences.”

Back to top