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Court of Final Appeal

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COURT OF FINAL APPEAL

The Court of Final Appeal is the highest appellate court in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It has jurisdiction in respect of matters conferred on it by the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance, Cap. 484 and by any other law.

It hears appeals on civil and criminal matters from the High Court (the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance).

 

What are the powers of the Court of Final Appeal?

The powers of the Court of Final Appeal are set out in section 17 of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal Ordinance. This court may confirm, reverse or vary the decision of the court from which the appeal lies or may remit the matter with its opinion to that court, or may make such other order in the matter as it thinks fit.

 

What type of cases can be heard by the Court of Final Appeal?

For civil matters:

  • Appeals as of right from any final judgment of the Court of Appeal, where the matter in dispute amounts to or is worth $1 million or more.
  • Appeals at the discretion of the Court of Appeal or the Court of Final Appeal in any other civil matter if, in the opinion of either court, the question involved in the appeal is one which, because of its great general or public importance, or otherwise, ought to be submitted to the Court of Final Appeal for decision.

For criminal matters:

  • Appeals, at the discretion of the Court of Final Appeal from:
    • any final decision of the Court of Appeal,
    • any final decision of the Court of First Instance (not being a verdict or finding of a jury) from which no appeal lies to the Court of Appeal.

 

Is leave to appeal required?

Leave, i.e. permission, to appeal is required.

For civil appeals, no appeal shall be admitted unless leave to appeal has been granted either by the Court of Appeal or the Court of Final Appeal. Where an appeal lies as of right, leave to appeal shall not be refused but shall, in the first instance, be granted as conditional leave.

For criminal appeals, no appeal shall be admitted unless leave has been granted by the Court of Final Appeal. Leave will only be granted if it is certified by the Court of Appeal or the Court of First Instance (as the case may be) that a point of law of great and general importance is involved in the decision. Where the Court of Appeal or the Court of First Instance declines to certify, the Court of Final Appeal may so certify the matter and grant leave to appeal. Where an applicant relies only on the substantial and grave injustice ground, he must apply directly to the Court of Final Appeal for leave.

 

When should an application for leave to appeal be filed?

An application for leave to appeal must be filed within 28 days from the date of the judgment or decision to be appealed from. In the case of civil appeals, the applicant must also give the opposite party 7 days' notice of his intended application which may be given at any time during the period of 28 days.

 

Who hears the application for leave to appeal?

Application for leave to appeal is heard by the Appeal Committee, which usually consists of the Chief Justice and two permanent judges, or three permanent judges nominated by the Chief Justice. The decision of the Appeal Committee shall be final and not itself subject to appeal.

Where the Registrar is of the opinion that an application discloses no reasonable grounds for leave to appeal, or is frivolous or fails to comply with the Rules, he may issue a summons to the applicant, calling upon him to file written submissions and show cause before the Appeal Committee why the application should not be dismissed. The Appeal Committee may, after considering the matter, order that the application be dismissed or give such other directions as the justice of the case may require.

 

Who hears the appeal?

An appeal is heard and determined by the Court of Final Appeal, which is usually made up of the Chief Justice, three permanent judges and either one non-permanent Hong Kong judge or one judge from another common law jurisdiction.

 

How can I obtain further information on the appeal procedure?

The procedures of the Court are set out in the Rules of the Court of Final Appeal. You may ask the Court of Final Appeal Registry for further information.

 

How to Contact Us?

Address: 1 Battery Path, Central, Hong Kong

Hotline Number: 2123 0123

Fax: 2121 0300

Whenever possible, the Judiciary will reply at once to correspondence from members of the public. If that is not possible, an interim reply will be provided within 10 days and a full response within 30 days of receipt.

Comments and suggestions for improving our services are welcome. Please send them to the Judiciary Administrator at the High Court, 38 Queensway, Hong Kong.

No Legal Advice

In order to maintain the impartial role of the Judiciary, our staff will not provide any legal advice or offer any comment on the conduct or merits of specific court cases and proceedings.

Please note that you should consult a legal practitioner or approach free legal advisory bodies for assistance if you require legal advice or assistance.

 

Business Hours

Registry / Accounts Offices

Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
*(Closed on Public Holidays)

 

What are the arrangements of the Court of Final Appeal in case of bad weather?

Please refer to Typhoon and Rainstorm Warning Arrangements in the Judiciary website or radio/television announcements of the same.

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