Lam named to top court

Top News | Erin Chan 13 May 2021

Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon will be appointed as a permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal.

Lam takes over the vacated place of Andrew Cheung Kui-nung, who was promoted to chief justice in January.

There has been speculation since October that Maria Yuen Ka-ning, justice of appeal in the High Court's Court of Appeal and wife of former chief justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, has been recommended for the position.

To prevent a conflict of interest, Ma when he was chief justice avoided handling cases Yuen had heard and withdrew from administrative subjects concerning her.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor accepted the recommendation of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission on Lam's appointment.

Subject to the endorsement of the Legislative Council, the chief executive will make the appointment under the Basic Law.

Lam said she was pleased to accept the recommendation.

"Justice Lam is an all-rounded appellate judge who possesses rich experience and expertise in handling civil cases of all types," she said.

"His judgments are well-reasoned and balanced They are regularly reported in the law reports and cited in arguments and judgments."

She said justice Lam has "rich experience in steering reforms to improve on the administration of justice."

Lam added that he would be a great asset to the Court of Final Appeal.

Cheung also welcomed the recommendation on justice Lam's appointment.

Lam, 59, has been Justice of Appeal and vice president of the High Court's Court of Appeal since 2012 and 2013, respectively.

He obtained a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Hong Kong in 1983 and a postgraduate certificate in laws from HKU in 1984.

He had been in private legal practice since 1985, until he joined the judiciary as a district judge in 2001.

In 2003, Lam was appointed as a judge of first instance of the High Court. During his time in the judiciary, he handled a number of prominent cases, including his most recent one in 2019, which saw 25 former lawmakers, including "Long-hair" Leung Kwok-hung, apply for judicial review of the controversial anti-mask law.

From 2008 to 2011, Lam oversaw the lengthy court battle over late tycoon Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum's estate.

In 2011, Lam heard the case on foreign domestic helpers seeking permanent residence and the right of abode in Hong Kong.

Lam has also been active in other legal field-related services.

He is currently the chairman of Family Proceedings Court Users' Committee, Working Group on Family Arbitration, Working Group on Court Record Management under the Committee on Information Technology and the Working Party on Mediation.

He has also been a member of the Secretary for Justice's Steering Committee on Mediation and High Court Rules Committee since 2012.

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