Two UK Judges Resign from Hong Kong’s Top Court

Two prominent British judges, Lord Lawrence Collins and Lord Jonathan Sumption, have stepped down from their positions on Hong Kong’s highest court. The decision comes in the wake of growing concerns over the political situation in the city, particularly following the conviction of 14 democracy activists for subversion.

Lord Collins, who has been serving on the Court of Final Appeal since 2012, cited the political climate in Hong Kong as the reason for his resignation. Lord Sumption, on the other hand, did not provide a statement regarding his departure.

The departure of these two judges follows similar resignations by three other Western judges in recent years. Their decision to step down highlights the increasing pressure faced by foreign judges in Hong Kong amidst concerns over the city’s legal system.

The Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong has historically included overseas judges as a way to uphold the British-style common law legal system following the handover of the territory to China in 1997. However, critics argue that recent national security laws imposed by Beijing have compromised the independence and integrity of the court.

The remaining foreign judges on the Court of Final Appeal have defended their continued participation, stating that it is in the best interest of the people of Hong Kong. However, concerns remain about the erosion of judicial independence and the influence of the Chinese government on legal outcomes in the city.

The resignations of Lord Collins and Lord Sumption are seen as a significant blow to Hong Kong’s legal system and have raised further questions about the future of the city’s judiciary. The international legal community, as well as rights groups and Western governments, continue to monitor the situation closely.