By Gary Cheung
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong’s first chief justice after the 1997 handover, Andrew Li Kwok-nang, has defended the rising number of judicial reviews taking up officials’ time as a positive outcome of good governance, pointing out that justice and convenience were “sometimes not on speaking terms”.
Li, who presided over the judiciary from 1997 to 2010, maintained that the judiciary was in good shape and dismissed as unjustified recent criticism by a retired Court of Final Appeal judge that it had failed to meet contemporary needs.
In a robust defence of the judicial reviews that may inconvenience the authorities, he emphasised that the courts had an effective mechanism to stop any attempt to abuse the process.
Describing judicial reviews by an independent judiciary as “fundamental to the rule of law”, Li urged that they not be viewed as a “nuisance” to government.
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