SCMP Article – Will Hong Kong join Singapore, Malaysia in ditching foreign judges after British law lords’ exit?

  • Foreign judges have long provided an authoritative backstop to Hong Kong’s judiciary, but their relevance has waned in the 25 years since the handover
  • One analyst said it was now a question of ‘when, rather than whether’ the city follows other former British colonies in removing foreign judicial influence

Hong Kong’s legal fraternity was left with much to reflect on when Britain withdrew its last two serving judges from the city’s highest court last month, citing concerns over the Beijing-imposed national security law and its implications for political freedom.

The resignation of the UK Supreme Court’s president and vice-president from their concurrent positions on Hong Kong’s apex court closed the chapter on a long-standing arrangement often viewed as a strong endorsement of the city’s rule of law.

In his departing statement, Supreme Court president Robert Reed said he and his deputy Patrick Hodge “cannot continue to sit in Hong Kong without appearing to endorse an administration which has departed from values of political freedom, and freedom of expression”.