Andrew Cheung to become next chief justice of HK

March 24, 2020 18:39
A file picture of Andrew Cheung, who is set to become Hong Kong's chief justice on Jan. 11 next year. Photo: HK Govt

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday announced the appointment of Andrew Cheung Kui-nung as the city's next chief justice as the incumbent top judge, Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, prepares to retire early next year.

Cheung, who is currently a permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal, will become chief justice on Jan. 11, 2021, when Ma will step down.

“Justice Cheung is a highly competent judge with exceptional qualities and leadership. He is a person of high integrity and commands strong respect both within the Judiciary and from the legal profession," Lam said in a press release.

"As Chief Judge of the High Court for over seven years, he possesses strong administrative experience in the operation of the Judiciary,” she said.

Lam added that the government will continue to provide support to Cheung and members of the Judiciary.

The chief executive took the opportunity to thank the outgoing chief justice Ma, praising him for his "relentless efforts in safeguarding the rule of law and promoting the international status of the Judiciary."

Appearing before the media ahead of an Executive Council meeting, Lam urged Legco’s house committee to elect a chairperson as soon as possible, so as to handle works including approving the Cheung appointment.

Lam said she and Ma believe that it is better to seek to complete the appointment of Cheung before the next summer recess of Legco in July, so as to ensure a smooth handover.

Cheung, meanwhile, said that he is honored by the elevation to the top judicial post, which came after Lam accepted a proposal put forward by the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission.

Saying that he is fully conscious of the community's high expectations of the Judiciary, Cheung said he will do his utmost to ensure that the rule of law and judicial independence are maintained and that the rights and freedoms of the individual are safeguarded.

Cheung obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree and the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws from the University of Hong Kong in 1983 and 1984 respectively. He then secured his Master's degree in law from Harvard University in the United States in 1985. 

Cheung was called to the Hong Kong Bar in 1985. He was admitted as Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore in 1995.

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