CALVIN NG CHINA DAILY Hong Kong Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wahCheng Yeuk-wah said the city is well-positioned to strengthen its leading position as an international legal and dispute resolution hub in the Asia-Pacific region, because of the strength of Hong Kong's legal system under the principle of one country, two systems The Basic Law and the one country, two systems principle, which has allowed Hong Kong as a part of China to maintain its common law system, as the only region in the country to practice such a system. They have also ensured the core values of upholding the rule of law and judicial independence in the city.
In the past 25 years since Hong Kong returned to the motherland, the rule of law has remained steadfast in the city and is the cornerstone of its success, both as an international financial center and an international dispute resolution hub, she said in an interview ahead of the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland.
The World Bank said Hong Kong's rule of law percentile ranking has increased steadily in the past 25 years from less than 70 percent in 1996 to more than 80 percent in 1998 and over 90 percent since 2003.
According to the 2021 Queen Mary University of London and White Case International Arbitration Survey, Hong Kong is the third-most preferred place in the world for arbitration services.
Regarding central government support, Cheng points out that both the 14th Five-Year Plan 2021-25 and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development plan and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area plan and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao plan support Hong Kong as an international legal and dispute resolution hub in the Asia-Pacific region.
Cheng believes that the Greater Bay Area's development will bring immense opportunities for Hong Kong's legal-service related industries.
Under a pilot program decided by the National People's Congress in 2020, lawyers from Hong Kong and Macao were allowed to handle civil and commercial cases in nine mainland cities within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area after passing an examination.
She said that the pilot program is very important for the development of lawyers from Hong Kong, and lawyers from the mainland can benefit from increased interaction and communication with their Hong Kong counterparts.
In order to further develop Hong Kong's strength, Cheng said it is important not to be complacent and that the city must look for opportunities in the area.
She said that dispute resolution involves not only arbitration, but also involves other forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation, which may be very good for the Asian culture and is more collaborative as it looks toward a win-win situation.
She said that the city should promote arbitration services beyond the Asian-Pacific region and update its arbitration and mediation laws regularly.
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She said that the city needs to attract outsiders to come and provide legal services in Hong Kong because of the importance of capacity building.
She said that Hong Kong must work closely with the mainland and continue to use the strength of the one country, two systems principle through a number of arrangements and collaboration.