Thursday, February 2, 2012

Price on Rule of Law in Post-War Hong Kong

Rohan Price (Tasmania) has posted Exceptionalism and the Rule of Law in Post-War Hong Kong.  The abstract:

A comprehensive body of case law developed in the immediate postwar years which interpreted and applied Proclamation No. 15 - Landlord and Tenant (1945). The BMA’s policy rent control and preservation of residential tenure were realized by a sympathetic predisposition towards tenants in the Tenancy Tribunal on natural justice grounds which, on appeal, the District Court shored up by reference to the legal requirements of the Proclamation. In the major cases when the landlord prevailed in the District Court, it is notable that the Tribunal was, in one case, admonished for not having a sufficiently hard-headed reason for it siding with the tenant (Ching Sum Co) and, in the other, the landlord won because the Tribunal made a factual error in relation to the bona fides of the tenant (Re On Lok Co). A closer examination of the case law shows that the District Court permitted the executive’s pro-tenant policy to prevail if the reasons for decision in a tenant’s favor in the Tenancy Tribunal could be dressed up in legal terms and the tenant was not so repulsive as to make a finding of their bona fides impossible. This note argues that judicial independence was proclaimed in Hong Kong by the Bench in exceptional cases while the trend of decisions indicates nothing short of loyalty to the executive.

 Matt Festa

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