Administrative Law


The Administrative law of Hong Kong is designed to provide a system for the independent judicial review of a wide range of administrative decisions made by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and some non-governmental bodies. The purpose of the judicial review is to prevent public authorities from abusing their decision-making power. It is a review of the decision-making process, not a review of whether the decision itself is right or wrong.

If you do not agree with a decision of a Government Department or agency, or that of an officer of a Department that affects you, you may be able to get it changed. If the decision affecting you has been made illegally, irrationally or involves some procedural impropriety, you may have a ground to apply for judicial review of that decision.

The High Court, the Court of Appeal of the High Court and the Court of Final Appeal have been given the power to review decisions made under particular Ordinances of Hong Kong. The sorts of decisions that can be reviewed include decisions about:

  • Social security pension, or a benefit
  • Government workers' compensation
  • Environmental issue
  • Lands Resumption
  • Criminal deportation
  • Plus many other issues

You may ask for our advice as to whether the courts have power to judicially review a decision affecting you or not.

Time limitation applies as you must make your judicial review application within three (3) months from the date when the grounds for judicial review arose. The court has the power to grant an extension on a case by case basis upon good grounds being shown.

If you are interested, you can ask for our advice as to against what authorities judicial review lies and on what grounds the decisions of such authorities can be impugned.

Example of Successful Case:

Uniglobe Telecom ( Far East ) Ltd. v. Telecommunications Authority (HCAL No.10 of 1998. Judgment of Hartmann J. handed down on 20th March 2000 ).

This is a Court of First Instance decision in which we have successfully overturned the Telecommunications Authority (TA)'s decision to cancel our client's PNets licence. Our client is a telecommunications operator. The subject decision was the first of its kind in Hong Kong and was based upon the power exercised by the TA under the Telecommunications Ordinance. We were able to persuade the Judge at the Court of First Instance that the TA had acted unreasonably in arriving at their decision to cancel our client's licence. The Judge agreed that the decision to cancel ought to be quashed. Costs order in favour of our client was granted.

For further information, please contact:

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