This chapter discusses the fundamental principles of the HKSAR's legal system, which include a common law system, rule of law, judicial independence, and the protection of human rights. It then examines two new institutional arrangements that were instituted after the political handover - the power of final adjudication (vested with the Court of Final Appeal) and the power of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (SCNPC) to interpret the Basic Law. The chapter argues that the SCNPC's power to interpret the Basic Law has established an institutional link between the HKSAR legal system and the Chinese legal system. After the handover, the struggle of the HKSAR judiciary focuses on how it should resolve the inherent conflict between these two new institutional arrangements. The chapter also studies the impact of the SCNPC's interpretation of the Basic Law on the HKSAR courts. It concludes that the HKSAR judiciary would be able to protect the principle of rule of law and human rights of the Hong Kong people if the matters it adjudicates do not involve the interests of the central authorities.
Keywords: Hong Kong, Government, Politics, Special Administrative Region, Judiciary, Legal System, Court of Final Appeal, Common law, Standing Committee of the National People’s, Congress, Chinese legal system
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