British judges leave Hong Kong’s highest court

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. © Reuters

The British government announced, on Wednesday, the withdrawal of British judges from the highest court in Hong Kong due to the national security law imposed by China on the autonomous region in 2020.


We have witnessed the systematic erosion of freedom and democracy in Hong Kong. “Since the National Security Act was imposed, the authorities have taken action against freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of association,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

“The situation has reached a critical point as British judges can no longer sit in the main court in Hong Kong,” the minister added in a statement.

In accordance with the agreement to return the former British crown colony to China in 1997, British judges have since worked for the HKCFA (Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal), which is Hong Kong’s highest judicial authority. Retired judges from Australia and Canada are also on the court. Eight of the 12 non-permanent foreign judges are British, including the UK’s chief justice and deputy chief justice, who announced their resignations “with immediate effect” in a separate statement.

“I have decided in agreement with the government that the judges of the Supreme Court cannot remain in Hong Kong without giving the impression that they are covering a board of directors that has departed from the values ​​of political freedom and freedom of expression,” the chief justice said. To the Supreme Court, Robert Reed, who announced his departure and the departure of his colleague Patrick Hodge.

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