Review of 2015

Following tradition, the year began with the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year on 12 January, at which the Hon Chief Justice Geoffrey MA spoke about the rule of law as the foundation of any society. He said that the administration of justice by the courts was not influenced by extraneous factors such as politics or political considerations, and the courts and judges would apply only the law. The objective was to ensure that fundamental human rights were properly enforced by the courts, and that individual rights and the rights of others in our community were all respected. He said that equality, fidelity to the law and its spirit, and judicial independence were fundamental to the operation of the law, and were set out and protected under the Basic Law.
He also provided an update on a few matters affecting the Judiciary and access to justice including the importance of legal aid which enhanced the access to justice, the review on the jurisdiction limits of the District Court and the Small Claims Tribunal, the removal of the “as of right” route of appeal to the Court of Final Appeal, the recruitment of judges and the relocation of the Court of Final Appeal to the former Supreme Court at Jackson Road.
New Judiciary Logo
The Judiciary introduced its new logo on 20 August to underline the independence of the Judiciary.

The Judiciary logo is based on an elevation drawing of the Court of Final Appeal Building at 8 Jackson Road, the exterior of which is a declared monument. The logo in blue displays solemnity and dignity, representing the Judiciary's core value of administering open and impartial justice.

The Judiciary is responsible for the administration of justice and is constitutionally independent of the executive Government and the Legislature. The Judiciary considers it helpful for it to have its own logo to reinforce this distinction.

The Judiciary logo is now used on all Judiciary stationery when communicating with the public and external parties.
Relocation of the Court of Final Appeal
From its establishment in 1997, the Court of Final Appeal was located at the Former French Mission Building at 1 Battery Path. In September 2015, the Court of Final Appeal moved to the Old Supreme Court Building located at 8 Jackson Road, Central.

The Old Supreme Court Building has a long history and its exterior is a declared monument. Opened in 1912, it was used as the Supreme Court until 1984. From 1985 to 2011, it was used as the Legislative Council. Upon the relocation of the Legislative Council Building to Tamar, the Old Supreme Court Building was returned to the Judiciary. Renovation works began in 2013 to reconvert the building to a court, as the location of the Court of Final Appeal from September onwards.

The building provides adequate and appropriate facilities for the smooth and efficient functioning of the Court. Facilities include two courtrooms, a Registry, a lawyers' common room and robing rooms, four consultation rooms and a press room. There are also chambers for the Court of Final Appeal judges and office facilities for supporting staff.
Establishment of the Competition Tribunal
The Competition Tribunal came into full operation on 14 December 2015 at the High Court Building, 38 Queensway.

The Competition Tribunal is a specialised court established under the Competition Ordinance (Cap. 619) to hear and decide cases connected with competition law in Hong Kong. The primary jurisdiction of the Competition Tribunal is to hear and adjudicate cases brought by the Competition Commission and the Communications Authority relating to alleged contraventions of the competition rules, follow-on private actions, alleged contravention of a conduct rule as a defence raised in proceedings before the Court of First Instance of the High Court, and reviews of certain determinations of the Competition Commission and the Communications Authority.

The President and the Deputy President of the Competition Tribunal, namely the Honourable Mr Justice Godfrey Lam Wan-ho and the Honourable Madam Justice Queeny Au-Yeung Kwai-yue respectively, were appointed in August 2013 for a term of three years. They are Judges of the Court of First Instance.

In addition, all the other Judges of the Court of First Instance are members of the Competition Tribunal, while the Registrar, Senior Deputy Registrars and Deputy Registrars of the High Court hold the corresponding positions in the Competition Tribunal.
Exchanges with other Jurisdictions
In 2015, our Judges and Judicial Officers attended various conferences and seminars for exchanges with their counterparts from other jurisdictions. The Hon Chief Justice Geoffrey MA attended the Global Law Summit in the United Kingdom in February, the Third Seminar of Senior Judges of Cross-Strait and Hong and Macao in Macao in July, and the 16th Conference of Chief Justices of Asia and the Pacific in Australia in November.

In September, the Court of Final Appeal hosted the biennial Asia-Pacific Judicial Colloquium attended by Chief Justices and Judges representing the Australian High Court, the New Zealand Supreme Court and the Canadian Supreme Court (Chief Justices attended included the Hon Chief Justice Robert French AC, the Rt Hon Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias and the Rt Hon Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.).
Appointment of Judges and Judicial Officers
Many judicial appointments took effect in the year 2015. Among these were the appointment of the Hon Mr Justice Jeremy POON and the Hon Mr Justice Derek PANG as Justices of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of the High Court and the appointment of the Hon Madam Justice Bebe CHU, the Hon Mr Justice David LOK, the Hon Mr Justice Joseph YAU and the Hon Mr Justice Albert WONG as Judges of the Court of First Instance of the High Court.
Caseload and Case Disposal
In 2015, the overall performance was satisfactory, save for the High Court. The majority of the performance targets at various levels of courts were achieved. A few targets in the High Court were however not met. There are a number of reasons for this. First, there are insufficient judicial posts in the High Court, in particular the Court of Appeal of the High Court, to cater for the operational needs of the High Court. Secondly, the High Court has been experiencing some constraints in the deployment of judicial manpower as a result of elevation of Judges to higher positions and retirement of Judges over the past few years. We review our manpower situation regularly and have a comprehensive succession plan. The Judiciary will launch open recruitment exercises for filling judicial vacancies at appropriate time, having regard to the overall judicial manpower situation and succession plan for different levels of court. The Judiciary has been engaging and will continue to engage temporary judicial resources as far as practicable to help maintain the level of judicial manpower required at different levels of court.
Membership of Boards and Committees
The Chief Justice appointed Judges and Judicial Officers and invited representatives from the legal profession and relevant government departments to sit on a number of boards and committees to contribute valuable views to issues that are important to the operation of the Judiciary. These boards and committees include the Civil Justice Reform Monitoring Committee, Working Party on Mediation, Civil Court Users’ Committee, Criminal Court Users’ Committee, Family Court Users’ Committee, Competition Tribunal Users’ Committee and the Governing Body of the Hong Kong Judicial Institute.
Visits and Visitors to the Judiciary
In 2015, the Judiciary arranged more than 250 visits for about 7500 visitors. Among all, most visitors are local students. We treasure all opportunities to meet with visitors and introduce to them the work of the Judiciary. Since November 2015, a pilot scheme has been launched under which guided visits to the Court of Final Appeal Building are conducted for school students.
You are cordially invited to visit our Photo Gallery for various memorable moments of the Judiciary in 2015.
Last Update Date : 24-02-2016