High Court again rejected injunction application against emergency law

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The High Court has rejected another application for an injunction against the government's use of an emergency law to introduce an anti-mask law.

But it has approved the judicial review filed by 24 pan-democratic lawmakers and will spare two days by the end of this month for hearing, which the camp's leader Tanya Chan Suk-chong said was a rare move.

Speaking outside the court, she said the arrangement of holding the hearing within a month means High Court justice Godfrey Lam Wan-ho agrees that the issue is controversial.

Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang said: “Obviously I think they also see that this case raises extremely important constitutional issues concerning the use of power by the chief executive, concerning the role of the LegCo as the only law-making body in Hong Kong.”

“If the chief executive can use the emergency powers in this way, there is nothing stopping her from using it to do other things such as prolonging the detention time (for arrested persons) and to contravene the fundamental human rights of Hong Kong people or to even suspend elections,” he said.

Senior Counsel Gladys Li representing the camp told the court that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's decision to bring in the anti-mask law to ban protesters from wearing masks under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance bypassed the legislative power of the Legislative Council, making the parliament only a rubber stamp.

But Senior Counsel Benjamin Yu Yuk-hoi representing the government argued that the ordinance granted Lam and the Executive Committee to set rules without having to go through the LegCo in emergency conditions, as it is unrealistic to ask lawmakers to complete the whole legislative procedure in one day.

This came after justice Lam on Friday night rejected a similar application by former student leader Lester Shum Ngo-fai and “King of Judicial Review” Kwok Cheuk-kin, hours after Lam's announcement to invoke the emergency law.