CS visits Department of Justice (with photos)

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, visited the office building of the Department of Justice at Justice Place (formerly Central Government Offices (CGO)) in Central this afternoon (August 4). She exchanged views with senior officials and met with front-line staff of the department. She was also given a tour of the office premises.

     Mrs Lam started her visit by meeting the Secretary for Justice, Mr Rimsky Yuen, SC; the Director of Administration and Development of the Department of Justice; and the five Law Officers or their Deputies to learn more about the work of various divisions and the challenges they are facing.

     Accompanied by Mr Yuen, she then toured the offices of the divisions at Justice Place. She first visited the Basic Law Unit and the China Law Unit under the Legal Policy Division. The Basic Law Unit deals with legal issues relating to the Basic Law, ensuring that the Government’s work and its proposed policies and bills are consistent with the Basic Law. The China Law Unit mainly provides legal advice on Mainland-related issues to the Government, discusses arrangements for mutual legal assistance on civil and commercial matters between Hong Kong and the Mainland, and promotes Hong Kong’s legal and dispute resolution services in the Mainland.

     Mrs Lam then met with staff of the International Law Division and was briefed on their work in relation to the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering and co-operation with the Hague Conference on Private International Law and other international organisations. The International Law Division handles requests for legal collaboration between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and other jurisdictions, provides legal advice to the Government on public international law and conducts negotiations on international agreements.

     This was followed by a visit to the Civil Division, where Mrs Lam was informed about how the division represents the Government in civil proceedings and provides related advice, as well as its work on mediation, including support for the Steering Committee on Mediation. Mrs Lam then visited the Law Drafting Division and received a briefing on the latest developments in law compilation and publication, including the progress of the new legislation database project. She also discussed law drafting work with staff in the division.

     During the visit, Mrs Lam thanked the Department of Justice for upholding the rule of law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and providing professional legal advice to government bureaux and departments. Stressing that the rule of law is a core value of Hong Kong, she encouraged the staff of the department to keep up their professionalism and to strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region.

     Before concluding the visit, Mrs Lam saw a number of heritage items in Justice Place, including the commemorative plaque and the time capsule for the opening of the former CGO in 1957, the former Executive Council Chamber, the conference room with original fittings and the former press room. The former CGO is one of the projects under the Conserving Central initiative announced by the Development Bureau in 2009. As the former Secretary for Development, Mrs Lam said she was pleased to note that the Department of Justice, in carrying out renovation for Justice Place, fully preserved and restored elements with historical significance and conservation value while integrating compatible new facilities.

Ends/Thursday, August 4, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:00