The department's links with other jurisdictions

Hong Kong’s legal system has the same roots and applies many of the same principles as other common law systems around the world. Just as lawyers in Hong Kong refer to case law from jurisdictions from Singapore to South Africa, so decisions of Hong Kong’s courts can assist lawyers researching overseas.

Since 1997, Hong Kong’s status as a Special Administrative Region of the PRC has meant that, in addition to continuing to foster strong links with the common law world, mutual understanding with the Mainland of our two legal systems is also important.

   
 
The Secretary for Justice promotes Hong Kong's legal services in Paris (October 2011)
 

The sharing of experience with lawyers in other jurisdictions plays an important role in legal life, a fact reflected in the composition of Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, which at every full hearing has included one judge from another common law jurisdiction.

 

Visits

 
 
The Secretary for Justice is briefed by Mr Zheng Hongjie, Director General of the Qianhai Authority, on Qianhai's development

The Secretary for Justice and the Law Officers regularly meet visitors from the Mainland and overseas, both lawyers and non-lawyers. The Secretary for Justice personally met 31 visitors or delegations from overseas and 20 from the Mainland during 2010 and 2011. Those from overseas included delegations led by the Ministers of Justice / Attorney Generals of Bangladesh, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Slovenia and the United States of America. Visitors from the Mainland included senior judges from the Supreme People’s Court and senior officials from the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Treaties and Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Departments of Justice at the provincial and municipal levels.

Other members of the department met a wide range of visitors to the department during 2010 and 2011. These included a delegation from Macao of 11 legislative drafters and legal translators from the Legal Affairs Bureau and the Law Reform and International Law Bureau and a delegation from the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.

Members of the department also gave briefings on Hong Kong’s legal system to many distinguished visitors from the Mainland and overseas, including lawyers, legislators, journalists and consular officials.

     
 
The Law Draftsman meets Mr Zhang Xiaoming , Vice-Minister of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, in Beijing
 
The Secretary for Justice meeting the Korean Minister of Justice, Mr Kwon Jae-jin (December 2011)
 

The Secretary for Justice and the Law Officers themselves from time to time visit their counterparts or undertake duties in other jurisdictions. For instance, in 2010 and 2011, the Secretary for Justice met officials from the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme People’s Court, and other law departments in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Qingdao to discuss measures to further enhance legal co-operation between Hong Kong and the Mainland. The Secretary for Justice also visited Brussels, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo, meeting senior government officials, legal practitioners and important contacts in each jurisdiction. He also visited The Hague, where he met the Secretary General of The Hague Conference on Private International Law and the President of the International Court of Justice.

   
 
The Secretary for Justice and the Deputy Law Draftsman (Bilingual Drafting and Administration) (third left) meeting an official delegation from Korea
 

In January 2011, the Law Draftsman led a delegation of counsel on a legal study visit to Beijing and Chongqing. Organisations which the delegation visited included the Ministry of Justice, the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People’s Congress and the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council.

In June 2011, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) led a delegation of counsel from the Prosecutions and International Law Divisions to Macao to meet Dr Ho Chio-meng, Prosecutor General of Macao, and members of his office. In November 2011, the DPP led a delegation of prosecutors to Beijing, where those the delegation met included Professor Cao Jianming, Procurator General of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Professor Hu Yunteng, Director General of the Research Office of the Supreme People’s Court, Mr Wang Wei, Acting Chief Prosecutor of the People’s Procuratorate, Haidian District, Beijing, and Professor Wang Xixin, Vice Dean of Peking University.

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Conferences and seminars in the Mainland and overseas

The Secretary for Justice and the Law Officers also regularly attend conferences and seminars in the Mainland or overseas to keep abreast of legal developments and law reform in other jurisdictions and to learn from the experience of others.

In July 2010, the Secretary for Justice officiated at the opening of the Hong Kong Legal Services Forum in Shanghai and in October 2011 attended the 9th Chinese Lawyers’ Forum in Qingdao and delivered a speech on Hong Kong’s role in, and contribution to, the PRC’s 12th Five-Year Plan.

The Law Draftsman and other counsel from the Law Drafting Division participated in the Conference of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC) held in Hyderabad, India in February 2011, the Australian Drafting Conference held in Adelaide, Australia in August 2011 and the Asian Region Conference of CALC held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in September 2011. The Law Draftsman also attended the Clarity 2010 Conference held in Lisbon, Portugal. That was the 4th international conference organised by Clarity, which is an international organisation promoting plain legal language.

   
 
Our drafting counsel meeting an official delegation from Macao
 

In November 2010, the DPP attended the 4th International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities’ Annual Conference and General Meeting in Macao, along with a number of counsel from the Prosecutions Division.

Other major international conferences attended by counsel of the department during 2010 and 2011 included the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice Conference on Re-imaging the Law in Ottawa, the 15th Annual Conference of the International Association of Prosecutors in The Hague and the 17th Commonwealth Law Conference in Hyderabad.

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Day-to-day links with other jurisdictions

 
The Hong Kong Legal Services Forum in Shanghai (July 2010)
The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Kevin Zervos, SC, meeting Dr Ho Chio-meng, Prosecutor General of Macao at the Public Prosecutions Office of Macao
 
Our drafting counsel attending the CALC 2011 Asian Region Conference in Sri Lanka

While the majority of lawyers in the department have completed their legal qualifications in Hong Kong, some have qualified in overseas jurisdictions, including Australia, Canada, England and New Zealand. In addition to this in-house experience of other jurisdictions, every counsel has online access to the wealth of legal resources from around the world available via the internet. The department receives on a regular reciprocal basis reports and papers from law reform agencies and other legal bodies around the world. The department also makes use of the Commonwealth Legal Advisory Service when researching aspects of comparative law, in addition to the regular contacts which members of the department maintain with their counterparts overseas.

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