An Internationalist, Consequentialist and Non-Progressive Court: Constitutional Adjudication in Hong Kong (1997-2009)
City University of Hong Kong Law Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, Winter 2010
22 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2010 Last revised: 8 Jun 2011
Date Written: November 2, 2010
The first Chief Justice of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under resumed Chinese sovereignty retires in August 2010. Under Chief Justice Andrew Li’s stewardship, the courts of the HKSAR acquired the power of judicial review of legislation through its authority to interpret the Basic Law of the HKSAR. This article aims to unpack the approaches towards constitutional interpretation and constitutional adjudication adopted by the HKSAR courts between 1997 and 2009. It claims that the HKSAR courts, especially the Court of Final Appeal, have evolved to be both internationalist and consequentialist in constitutional adjudication while maintaining a perspective on constitutional interpretation that is non-progressive. In so doing, the HKSAR courts institutionally underpin the promotion of the HKSAR’s autonomy, the protection of minorities from the excesses of government, and the preservation of the HKSAR’s common law based legal system.
Keywords: Hong Kong, Basic Law, Judicial Power, Court of Final Appeal, Constitutional Interpretation
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