Liverpool Law Society has added its voice to expressions of concern by international legal bodies about the new national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong. The society, which has some 2,000 members, wrote to the Chinese authorities this week stating that the new law has many worrying aspects.
The society said 'members are especially concerned that the national security law threatens judicial independence in Hong Kong through a number of provisions. Cases under the law may only be heard by judges who are on a list designated by the chief executive of Hong Kong. Judges can be removed from that list if their actions or statements are deemed to endanger national security. This not only allows for undue political interference with the judiciary in Hong Kong but also violates the principle that judges should have tenure as a means to guarantee their independence.'
In a letter written to the Chinese ambassador and chief executive of Hong Kong, Liverpool society president Julie O'Hare and parliamentary officer Jeremy Myers, said legal practitioners around the world would have greater faith in China and its administration in Hong Kong if China is seem to comply with the original Basic Law and Joint Declaration agreed in 1997.
Liverpool Law Society said it will continue to monitor the application of this law in practice, especially to members of the legal profession and human rights defenders, as well as threats to judicial independence in Hong Kong.