The new chief justice, Andrew Cheung, was sworn in at Government House on Monday.
He took the judicial oath administered by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, pledging to uphold the Basic Law, swearing allegiance to the HKSAR, and promising to safeguard the law and administer justice without fear or favour, self-interest or deceit.
In a statement, the new head of the city’s top court said he is deeply honoured and privileged to be in the position, and vowed to maintain the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.
He was due to deliver a speech at a ceremony later on Monday to mark the opening of the legal year, and all eyes would be on whether he will respond to remarks by sceptics that the rule of law has “died” in Hong Kong, or on suggestions for the judiciary to be reformed.
Cheung took over the reins of the judiciary from Geoffrey Ma, who said last week that an independent judicial system is crucial in protecting people’s rights and freedoms.
Ma also told journalists that he has not once received pressure from Beijing or local government officials during his decade-long tenure.