It's my duty as CE to meet chief justice: Carrie Lam - RTHK
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It's my duty as CE to meet chief justice: Carrie Lam

2021-02-02 HKT 10:55
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  • It's my duty as CE to meet chief justice: Carrie Lam
Vicky Wong reports
Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that it is her duty to meet the head of the judiciary but they never discuss any cases, so such meetings should not be construed as her intervening in judicial independence.

The chief executive's comments followed reports in local media over the weekend that she had a one-to-one meeting with Andrew Cheung just days before his first case as chief justice at the Court of Final Appeal. The case in question was a bail hearing for Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai.

Speaking ahead of her weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam did not confirm or deny the reports, but said such meetings are normal.

"As the chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR, I am obliged to uphold the independence of the judiciary," she said.

"I am not just the head of the Hong Kong SAR government. I’m the one in charge of the entire Hong Kong SAR and the independence of the judiciary, the efficiency of the judiciary and the smooth operation of the judiciary are matters of concern to the chief executive."

She said she needs to meet the head of the judiciary to discuss matters within their “respective jurisdiction”, including issues such as staffing, resources, new court buildings, and the appointment of judges.

"This is only normal, and I would advise against any reading into that sort of legitimate and proper meetings between the CE and the CJ as intervention into judicial independence. That is totally unacceptable and will not be done by any chief executive, and as a result, none of my meetings with the former CJ or the current CJ touched upon cases, this is not the subject of our conversation at all," said Lam.

On Monday, the Court of Final Appeal held a hearing to deal with the government’s appeal against a lower court decision to grant bail to Lai, who is accused of colluding with foreign forces under the national security law.

The top court reserved judgement in Lai's appeal case, and he was again remanded in custody.