Speech at the Opening of the display of Court Dress
and the legal exhibition De Lege Lata
13 March 2014
About the Opening Ceremony
The unveiling of the court dress display was officiated by the Hon Mr Andrew Li on 13 March 2014,
together with the opening of the Faculty of Law's permanent exhibition De Lege Lata
on Hong Kong legal system and legal profession.
I wish to thank all of you sincerely for taking time to attend this Ceremony.
It is important for judges and advocates to wear a uniform in court. This is conducive to maintaining the dignity of the court and the judicial process.
I believe that the uniform serves an equally important purpose. Putting it on should remind the judge and the advocate of their important professional duties: The judge to adjudicate disputes between citizens and between citizen and Government fairly and impartially without fear or favour. The advocate to advance his client’s case fearlessly whilst at the same time, discharging fully his duties to the court. The judge and the advocate must always remember that when they are engaged in the trial of cases, they themselves are on trial in the court of professional and public opinion.
I had worn my judicial and professional uniform day in and day out for 37 years: 13 years on the bench and 24 years at the Bar. I have the deepest sentiment for them. The greater my sentiment, the stronger my wish to find a permanent home for them.
I had offered them to the Judiciary. But understandably, the plans for the Court of Final Appeal at the old Supreme Court Building do not include space for such displays.
I am delighted that this Law School has accepted my donation. This Law School is our oldest and leading Law School. It is fitting that my professional and judicial uniform should have their permanent home here.
The rule of law with an independent Judiciary is of pivotal importance to Hong Kong under one country two systems. It is only under the rule of law that the freedoms, which are at the heart of our separate system, can be safeguarded. Our cherished freedoms include of course the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. Vigilance must be exercised at all times by all of us to ensure that any attempt to undermine our freedoms is overcome and that our freedoms are fully protected.
Lawyers play and will continue to play a vital role in maintaining the rule of law in our community. And lawyers are what Law Schools make them. Successive generations of lawyers being educated here will have the vital responsibility of ensuring that the rule of law continues to thrive in the coming years and indeed beyond 2047. I wish them every success in this great mission.
Finally, Dean, this is probably one of the last functions you will attend as Dean before you step down at the end of June. I understand that as the search for your successor was prolonged, your departure has been long delayed.
Your tenure as Dean over the last 12 years has been a most distinguished one. Under your leadership, the Law School has a new building with state of the art facilities, talented Faculty staff, top quality students, a vibrant intellectual environment in which academic freedom is vigorously exercised and a high international ranking. I must take this opportunity of congratulating you and everyone in the Law School for all that has been achieved under your leadership. I am sure that you will continue to make an important contribution to the Law School and the University. And I wish you all the best for the future.
To face the challenges of the future, no institution can afford to stand still. I am sure that the Law School will go from strength to strength. I wish the Law School every success in its most important endeavours. Thank you.