Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

‘King of judicial review’ files new legal challenge, despite gov’t ban on receiving legal aid

The “King of judicial review” Kwok Cheuk-kin filed his first High Court challenge on Thursday after the Hong Kong government announced it would ban him from receiving any legal assistance for three years.

On June 6, the Legal Aid Department decided to ban the 78-year-old judicial activist from receiving legal aid citing his “abuse of the system.” Kwok has filed over 20 judicial challenges against mostly politically-related government decisions made over the past decade.

Kwok Cheuk-kin.

Kwok Cheuk-kin. Photo: Ellie Ng/HKFP.

Despite the ban, he applied for a fresh judicial review on Thursday, reported RTHK.

He is attempting to overturn a separate Legal Aid Department decision back in February, which blocked him from receiving legal assistance to challenge the constitutionality of a rally involving some 30,000 police officers.

The rally was held at a Mong Kok police clubhouse in support of seven officers convicted of beating a protester during the pro-democracy Occupy protests. Police commissioner Steven Lo Wai-chung called the rally a “special members’ meeting” at the clubhouse, which was held in order to “discuss professional and business issues.”

Kwok subsequently filed a judicial review asking the High Court to declare that the rally was in fact an assembly, which had to be regulated under the Public Order Ordinance. The Legal Aid Department refused to offer him assistance for the challenge.

Waiting for a reply

Speaking to RTHK on Thursday, Kwok said that he has sent a letter asking the department to reconsider its blanket ban on him receiving any assistance for three years.

police rally

February police rally. File photo: HKFP/Kris Cheng.

He said that he would wait for the department’s reply before making a decision as to what to do next.

Earlier, human rights solicitor Michael Vidler and university scholar Eric Cheung Tat-ming both said that the blanket ban against Kwok could be unconstitutional.

See also: Gov’t ban on elderly man applying for legal aid may be unconstitutional, legal experts say

Article 35 of the Basic Law gives Hong Kong residents the rights to access the courts and bring legal proceedings against the acts of the government.

'King of judicial review' files new legal challenge, despite gov't ban on receiving legal aid