Geoffrey Ma named as new Chief Justice


Maggie Ho reports
Chief Justice Andrew Li
Barrister Ronny Tong
Outgoing Chief Justice Andrew Li. File photo.
The Chief Judge of the High Court, Geoffrey Ma, has been named as the new Chief Justice. He'll replace Andrew Li, who shocked the legal community in August last year by announcing that he was stepping down.

The Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, made the announcement that Mr Justice Ma will become the SAR's second chief justice - subject to endorsement by the Legislative Council. This is considered to be a formality, given his reputation in the judiciary. Mr Tsang spoke of the judge's high integrity - noting that he commanded strong respect within and outside the judiciary, including in the legal profession - which he served for many years as a barrister.

Mr Justice Ma became a judge in late 2001 - and the Chief Judge of the High Court 18 months later. His wife - Madam Justice Yuen - sits on the court of appeal. To avoid any conflict of interest, Mr Justice Ma will not hear any cases from his wife - and will not deal with any administrative matter concerning her. He'll take up the top job in September.

Three judges have also been named as non-permanent Hong Kong judges on the court of final appeal. They are Robert Tang -a former Bar Association chairman - Frank Stock and Michael Hartmann. They all currently serve on the court of appeal.

A former chairman of the Bar Association, Ronny Tong, welcomed Mr Justice Ma's appointment. However, he added that the judge was known to be a bit conservative.

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