Legal Affairs EP14 | Rule of law, judicial independence still intact in HK: Chan Chak-ming tells int'l legal community
The President of the Law Society of Hong Kong, Chan Chak-ming, recently visited the UK to explain the rule of law in HK to the international legal community and to exchange views with local law students.
Chan, who was re-elected President of the Law Society, attended the opening ceremony of the Legal Year of England and Wales and exchanged views with members of the legal profession from England and the United States.
In this edition of Legal Affairs, we invite Chan to share his trip experience with us. Chan says that this was his first visit to London as President of the Law Society to participate in the Year and his first overseas trip in the past three years due to the epidemic.
"The Western world has doubts about the provisions of the National Security Law in HK (NSL), which came into force the year before. So more explanation is needed," he says.
Chan uses the word "groundbreaking" to describe the significance of the trip and says that it was an important signal to the international community that HK has reopened its door to the world again.
Asked about the resignation of the two non-permanent judges of the Court of Final Appeal in the first half of the year, Chan says that he had not had the opportunity to meet the resigned judges face-to-face but stresses that the judicial independence of HK and its international reputation as a legal hub has not been affected in any way.
On the question of how UK judges viewed HK's decisions on national security cases, Chan says it was clear from the exchanges that they did not have a proper understanding of what the NSL entailed.
"They were thinking in an over-simplified way and jumping to hasty conclusions." Chan points out that he had conveyed an accurate picture of the NSL from a legal point of view using professional jargon. In the end, many foreign judges were also inclined to agree that the enactment of the NSL was in accordance with the proper legal procedures.
However, Chan says that many countries and regions outside HK still lack an understanding of the actual situation in HK and what the NSL entails.
On how to improve this situation, Chan says that HK's legal community members need to go out more and dispel the misconceptions of the international community.
"I always told them I was not a spokesman for the government, but I spoke for the truth. People's freedoms and rights have not been compromised in any way, and the international community should do their due diligence before making a conclusion," he says.