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HK shines when it comes to rule of law

By Luis Liu in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-01 07:18

Legal aid

In addition to quantifiable aspects, day-to-day practices also matter, and the easy access to the courts carries great weight in how rule of law is valued, Song said.

Hong Kong has a robust legal aid system, he added: "In the appropriate circumstances, applicants for judicial reviews will be granted legal aid so they are in a position to challenge administrative action or government policy, with funding provided by the government."

Meanwhile, people of differing political views have been given legal aid when facing litigation, Song said, including protesters who participated in the "Occupy Central" movement in 2014, and those involved in the Mong Kok riot last year, according to official documents.

Legal reports show that many leading constitutional or human-rights cases have been granted legal aid. In 2016-17, about HK$36 million ($4.6 million) was spent on providing legal aid to applicants for judicial reviews of executive decisions.

The Hong Kong government said: "Safeguarded by an independent judiciary, rule of law ensures a secure environment for people and organizations and a level playing field for business. No one is above the law. Everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, political affiliation, opinion or position is equal before the law. Private individuals, legal workers and public entities all have the right to access courts to enforce legal rights or defend an action."

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