Published: 13:09, April 12, 2024 | Updated: 16:28, April 12, 2024
HK unveils action plan to enhance rule of law in GBA
By Wang Zhan and Fang Xue in Hong Kong
Hong Kong's Secretary for Justice Paul Lam (right) and Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan hold the Action Plan on the Construction of Rule of Law in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area released by the Department of Justice on April 12, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVT)

Hong Kong on Friday unveiled its Action Plan on the Construction of Rule of Law in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area on Friday, outlining the guiding principle, development direction, and specific policy measures to strengthen the rule of law in the region.

The plan prioritizes implementing the “three interfaces, two connects and one GBA” while also strengthening collaboration with the legal or dispute resolution sectors and other stakeholders, according to a statement released by the Hong Kong government.

“Three interfaces, two connects and one GBA” is a principle proposed by the government to promote the interfaces of mechanisms, regulatory frameworks and talent constituting the “three interfaces” and the connectivity of hardware and software as “two connects” to achieve the goal of “one GBA”.

“The DoJ will take action as a means and adopt a results-oriented approach to pursue in a pragmatic spirit the implementation of the action plan during the tenure of the current-term government, with a view to contributing to the construction of rule of law in the GBA with concrete results,” said Secretary for Justice Paul Lam Ting-kwok.

Lam said the DoJ will promote the formulation of best practices in bay area non-litigation dispute resolution rules to facilitate the interface and coordination of different dispute resolution services in the bay area

The release of the action plan on the fifth anniversary of the promulgation of the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area demonstrates the importance that the Department of Justice attaches to its work relating to the GBA and its proactive and pragmatic approach, he pointed out.

For the interface of mechanisms under the "three interfaces” principle, Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan said that the DoJ will not only continue to make good use of the mechanisms already established with relevant ministries and stakeholders in the GBA, but will also proactively promote the establishment of a high-level GBA standing interface platform jointly with the Supreme People’s Court to take forward the practical and research work on judicial and legal matters relating to the GBA, including closely following up on the implementation of various arrangements on mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters.  

At the same time, the DoJ will also promote the establishment of a GBA legal and dispute resolution services information platform to enable people and enterprises in the three places to obtain comprehensive and accurate information.

For the interface of regulatory frameworks, the DoJ has been taking steps to expand the scope of application of the measures “allowing Hong Kong-invested enterprises to adopt Hong Kong law” and “allowing Hong Kong-invested enterprises to choose for arbitration to be seated in Hong Kong” to enable legal and dispute resolution professionals in the area to complement each other for the promotion of a market interface.  

To enhance the professional service interfaces, the department will promote GBA non-litigation dispute resolution rules, organize GBA mediators training in Hong Kong, establish an online dispute resolution platform, and support Hong Kong mediation organizations in handling GBA commercial mediation cases as “specially invited mediation organizations”.

To enhance talent interfaces, the DoJ will establish the Hong Kong International Legal Talents Training Academy to cultivate legal talent in international matters in the GBA. It will also promote a platform for GBA lawyers, integrating Hong Kong's legal sector into the GBA’s development and fostering a competitive legal services brand. Additionally, the DoJ will organize visits and exchanges to facilitate the flow and synergistic development of legal talent in the GBA.

The justice chief said the DoJ will continue to deepen cooperation among stakeholders from different sectors, including establishing standing and effective interface mechanisms with relevant Chinese mainland authorities, and continue to listen to the views of the legal and dispute resolution sectors and other stakeholders, encourage the sectors to open up new opportunities, and at the same time assist them with establishing a platform for exchanges and collaboration.

These measures will achieve integrated development through extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, contributing to the country's key strategic development, Lam said.

Contact the writer at fangxue@chinadailyhk.com