Hong Kong's Legal Year 2010 Ceremonial Opening

Yesterday was the first day of Hong Kong's Legal Year 2010.

The ceremony was held amid much British-style pomp and circumstance. The out-going Hon Chief Justice of Hong Kong Andrew Kwok-nang Li (below, centre) made a speech which received a standing ovation from the assembled members of the judiciary.

Apart from the obvious attraction of seeing Chinese men and women wearing funny wigs, the event was uplifting for the fact that Andrew Li received so much support. He's the man who is widely credited with upholding, to the highest degree, the legal system we enjoy in Hong Kong under the "one county, two systems" principle. He's the man who stands between us and the abyss. And that's why they are all sorry to see him go.

Andrew Li said in his speech, "It is essential to judicial independence that the process of judicial appointment never be politicised. In our jurisdiction, it has not been politicised and I trust that it never will be. [...] Everyone, including all organs of government and all public officials, are subject to and equal before the law. The Judiciary is and must be seen to be impartial. Judges resolve all disputes, whether between citizens or between citizen and government in an impartial manner."

Unlike in other jurisdictions nearby.

ALEX HOFFORD : HONG KONG CHINA PHOTOGRAPHER

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