The opening ceremony of the 2022 legal year held on Monday (24th) has not received as much attention as 2020, which has just experienced the anti-amendment movement, or 2021, which is not long after the "Hong Kong National Security Law" came into effect.
However, as Chief Justice Zhang Ju-neng of the Court of Final Appeal said in his speech, the opening ceremony "brings the public's focus on judicial work and the rule of law" and "provides an opportunity to explain to the public the challenges faced by the Judiciary." place.
Especially since the judiciary received threatening letters two months ago, the challenge to the rule of law in Hong Kong cannot be understated.
As the head of the judiciary, in addition to emphasizing that the courts should interpret fundamental rights in a broad sense and adopt a narrow understanding of the limitations of rights, he also proposed a number of measures to respond to social needs.
Since August last year, the judiciary has implemented a two-tiered complaint handling mechanism to improve transparency and accountability; last year, the High Court introduced new provisions in constitutional and administrative litigation cases, which require the court to issue a ruling when adjourning its judgment. The date of judgment, and it is planned to be extended to all civil cases in the High Court and the District Court this year to enhance judicial efficiency.
It is up to the courts to defend the rule of law, but the role of the Attorney General is equally important.
As the legal department of the government, the Department of Justice must use legal policies to promote the rule of law and judicial justice, and to enhance the society's understanding and practice of the rule of law.
In her speech, Secretary Cheng Ruohua mentioned the constitutional order in Hong Kong, as well as the two major initiatives of the "Hong Kong National Security Law" and the revision of the electoral system ordinance.
Although Zheng Ruohua mentioned that the Department of Justice will independently perform its prosecution duties, in recent years, some decisions of the Department of Justice to prosecute or not to prosecute have caused controversy, and the progress of prosecution in some cases is not without room for improvement. How to play the role of the public prosecutor is undoubtedly an important issue.
The law cannot be politicized, the society cannot self-destruct the rule of law
As for the new chairman of the Bar Association, To Kam-kun, he mentioned in his speech that barristers cannot be regarded as "politicians with wigs" and thus lose the confidence of the public.
It is particularly worth noting that neither he nor the US Supreme Court Justice Breyer he cited said was that barristers "cannot be" politicians, but "cannot be regarded as" politicians, which means that barristers give society's The look and feel is also crucial.
Du Gankun mentioned that the Bar Association will not be involved in politics, nor will it have political considerations when speaking on issues of the rule of law. Obviously, this is also in response to the criticism of the pro-establishment forces that the Bar Association has been involved in political turmoil in recent years.
However, it would be a big mistake to think that the rule of law in Hong Kong depends only on the courts, the Department of Justice, barristers and lawyers.
In addition to Zhang Juneng's mention of some people trying to intimidate judges or put pressure on them, Chen Zeming, president of the Law Society of Hong Kong, also pointed out that all kinds of intimidation are just an attempt to unduly influence judges' independent judgment procedures and damage the reputation of Hong Kong's sound legal and judicial system.
In the final analysis, no matter whether the rule of law in Hong Kong has been impacted in the past two years, these attempts to undermine the judicial process will only undermine the rule of law itself, and even make "the rule of law is dead" a self-fulfilling statement.
In the past two years, many people have said that Hong Kong's core values have collapsed and its prospects are no longer there.
However, just like the rule of law, in fact, everyone is responsible for this. The judiciary, the Department of Justice, professionals and even the society itself should do their part and correct them.
The CCP regime often emphasizes “self-revolution, and the blade turns inward,” and to a certain extent this statement also applies to Hong Kong.
Instead of just criticizing others, ask yourself how you can do better.
Improving judicial efficiency will help improve the rule of law and legal aid reform to achieve judicial justice Put down political glasses and listen to the law