As Justice Centre Hong Kong endeavours to ensure equal access to justice for all in Hong Kong, we welcome the news that the Judiciary has announced an end to the General Adjourned Period (GAP) and confirmed a staged reopening of the courts, tribunals and registries from 4 May 2020.
Further developments will be announced on the judiciary website.
For those who had a hearing which was supposed to take place between 29 January and 3 May, we understand from the announcement that you should be given a new hearing date and enough time to prepare for it. You should contact your legal representative(s) for guidance on how to proceed, whom we understand should be contacted by the Courts in due course. If you are unrepresented, the Courts should contact you directly.
As always, it is very important to make sure that the court and/or your lawyer have your correct address and other contact details. If you are unsure, please contact the court and/or your lawyer directly.
If you have received a decision of a public body which you wish to challenge by judicial review – for example, if your appeal before the Torture Claims Appeal Board (TCAB)/Non-refoulement Claims Petition Office was unsuccessful – it is important to be aware of the time limits for doing so.
For general guidance on Judicial Review, the Department of Justice has provided a helpful guide which may answer many of your questions. This guide explains that you must apply for permission to start judicial review promptly and within the relevant time limit:
2.2.1 Generally, an application for leave to apply for judicial review must be made promptly and, in any event, within 3 months from when the grounds for judicial review first arose, unless time is extended by the Court upon good reasons given. Leave may be refused if an application for leave is delayed or premature.
The Judiciary’s announcement indicates that the High Court Registry is currently accepting applications for permission to start judicial review proceedings if the time limit will end within the GAP.
The High Court Registry is open from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, Monday to Friday. The Resource Centre for Unrepresented Litigants will reopen on 11 May (from 9:30 am to 12: 30 pm, Monday to Friday).
If the Immigration Department has refused your claim for protection at first instance, you can challenge this. The Appeal Board’s guidance states you “must file [a] petition within 14 days after notice of the decision is given”.
The TCAB remains open for the submission of notices of appeal/petition, so you can submit it by post or in person. It is probably safest not wait until the end of the GAP to submit your appeal.
For more information, please read:
- The announcement pop-up on the Judiciary’s website
- The ‘Special Arrangement’ pop-up on the TCAB Secretariat/ Non-refoulement Claims Petition Office’s website
Please keep checking the government websites for further announcements.
Please be aware that the above is intended to provide general information and is not intended to/does not constitute legal advice. If you think these matters impact you, you should consider seeking legal advice and/or representation urgently.