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Secretary for Justice, Ms. Teresa Cheng, GBS, SC, JP

Biography

Ms. Teresa Cheng, SC, was appointed Secretary for Justice on January 6, 2018. She was a Senior Counsel in private practice before joining the Government. She is also a chartered engineer, chartered arbitrator and accredited mediator. She was frequently engaged as arbitrator or counsel in complex international commercial or investment disputes.

Ms. Cheng was one of the founders and Chairman of the Asian Academy of International Law. She is a Past Vice President of the International Council of Commercial Arbitration, Past Vice President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration and Past Chairperson of Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. In 2008, she became the first Asian woman elected through a global election as President of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She served as Deputy Judge / Recorder in the Court of First Instance of the High Court of Hong Kong from 2011 to 2017. She is a member of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes Panel of Arbitrators, and was a member of the World Bank's Sanctions Board.

Ms. Cheng is a Fellow of King's College in London, and was the Course Director of the International Arbitration and Dispute Settlement Course at the Law School of Tsinghua University in Beijing.

  Ms Teresa Cheng, GBS, SC, JP, Secretary for Justice
Ms Teresa Cheng
GBS, SC, JP
Secretary for Justice

The Role of the Secretary for Justice

The Secretary for Justice is appointed by the Central People's Government upon nomination by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Secretary for Justice is the principal legal adviser to the Chief Executive, to the government and to individual government departments and agencies. The incumbent Secretary has been appointed to the Executive Council. In addition to his duties and responsibilities in relation to the conduct of criminal proceedings, the Secretary for Justice is the defendant in all civil actions brought against the government.

Before 1 July 1997, the post of Secretary for Justice was called Attorney General.

The Department of Justice is headed by the Secretary for Justice, who fulfils a wide range of duties. Chief among these is to act as the principal legal adviser to the Chief Executive, to the government and to individual government bureaus, departments and agencies. The Secretary for Justice is also a member of the Executive Council.

The decision to prosecute criminal offences is the sole responsibility of the Secretary for Justice who in this respect operates independently, free from any interference. The Secretary for Justice is also the defendant in all civil actions brought against the government and represents both the government and the public interest in the courts.

As guardian of the public interest in a wider sense, the Secretary for Justice may make application for judicial review to enforce public legal rights. The Secretary has a right to intervene in any case involving a matter of great public interest. The Secretary represents the public interest as counsel to tribunals of inquiry. The Secretary is the Protector of Charities and must be joined as a party in all actions to enforce charitable or public trusts. The Secretary for Justice also has a more general public interest role as amicus curiae (literally, friend of the court), the most important example of which is bringing alleged contempts of court to the notice of the courts.

Amongst many other functions, the Secretary for Justice is Chairman of the Law Reform Commission, Vice-Chairman of the Fight Crime Committee, and serves on the Chief Secretary for Administration's Policy Committee, the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission and the ICAC's Operations Review Committee.

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