Hong Kong’s top judge cautious on calls for judicial reform

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s outgoing top judge said yesterday that calls for reform of the city’s judiciary cannot be based on dissatisfaction with court rulings, as pro-Beijing figures and state-owned media step up criticism of the city’s legal system.

“(The) judiciary’s position has all along been the same. If there’s any room for improvement, we will pursue it. We will consider it,” Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma said at a news conference ahead of his retirement on Sunday.

“But it’s not particularly satisfactory if there’s a call for reforms simply on the basis of a result one doesn’t like,” he said. “It is certainly not a good starting point or acceptable to say ‘I want reforms to ensure that I will always get the result which I want’.”

In recent weeks, Chinese officials and state-owned media have accused the semi-autonomous city’s courts of misinterpreting Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, in rulings relating to last year’s pro-democracy protests.

Hong Kong employs a common law legal system, and its judiciary often makes judgements public in efforts to be transparent.