The Fair Trial Rights of Accused Persons Found 'Unfit to Plead and Stand Trial' in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Le Roux-Kemp, A 'The Fair Trial Rights of Accused Persons Found "Unfit to Plead and Stand Trial" in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region' Cambridge Law Review (2019) Vol. IV, Issue 1, pp. 1-31
31 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2019
Date Written: May 23, 2019
It is a foundational principle of modern criminal justice systems that accused persons must possess of the necessary faculties to effectively and meaningfully participate in criminal proceedings. In the laws of England and Wales, formal statutory recognition of this fair trial right first appeared in 1800 and has since remained an ongoing legislative project keeping abreast with contemporary understandings and awareness of mental health and cognition, and reflecting interminable efforts to develop procedures that embolden fairness and justice. In this article, the legislative framework for “fitness to plead and stand trial” in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, is critically analysed with reference to the ongoing law reform and development in England and Wales. While the primary aim of this article is to critically evaluate whether and to what extent the relevant legislative framework of Hong Kong fosters or impedes the fair trial rights of accused persons suffering from a mental, intellectual, or other cognitive impairment, the discussion and analysis will also provide an opportunity for meaningful reflection on the evolution of fair trial rights for vulnerable accused in light of the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Thus, in addition to revealing the current shortcomings of the Hong Kong legislative scheme, this article prompts renewed attention on the importance of fairness and equality in criminal proceedings involving vulnerable accused.
Keywords: Fair Trial Rights, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Fitness to Plead, Criminal Justice
JEL Classification: K14, K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation