'Spigelman's resignation wake-up call for HK govt' - RTHK
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'Spigelman's resignation wake-up call for HK govt'

2020-09-21 HKT 10:35
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  • Eric Cheung notes that the government announcement about Justice James Spigelman's resignation did not thank him for his past work. Photo: RTHK
    Eric Cheung notes that the government announcement about Justice James Spigelman's resignation did not thank him for his past work. Photo: RTHK
Hong Kong University law expert Eric Cheung has described the resignation of an Australian judge from the SAR's top court as "worrying" and said it was a "wake-up call" for the government.

Cheung said that some of the unusual circumstances in Justice James Spigelman's case include the failure of the Judiciary to provide a reason why he stepped down as a non-permanent judge on the Court of Final Appeal, and Spigelman failing to say whether the reason for resigning was health-related.

Cheung also pointed out that even after the government published their gazette announcing Spigelman had stepped down, they did not issue a statement thanking him for his service and praising his past work.

He told an RTHK radio programme that the incident will inevitably affect international confidence in Hong Kong's judicial system, and said that this was "a wake-up call" for the SAR government.

Cheung said he hoped the authorities will now act to reassure people in Hong Kong that there is still judicial independence and rule of law.

The comments come after the government announced in a gazette published on Friday that Spigelman had stepped down from the Court of Final Appeal earlier this month.

No reason was given for the resignation, but Australian broadcaster ABC reported that Spigelman told them he resigned for reasons "related to the content of the national security legislation".

On Saturday, the Chief Executive’s Office dismissed suggestions that the resignation was over the national security law, saying that he "did not give any reasons for his resignation".