Hong Kong Court Hierarchy

The Judiciary in Hong Kong is responsible for the administration of justice in the country and hears all prosecution and civil disputes.  The legal system in the country including the courts is divided into courts at the federal or country level and courts at the state level.

There are many courts in the judiciary system, each responsible for a set of functions and for hearing a certain specific types of cases. There is a hierarchical system or structure thus formed. To understand the Hong Kong Court Hierarchy in detail, you can go through the following given information.

Hong Kong Court Hierarchy

The Court of Final Appeal

At the apex of all the other courts in the country is the Court of Final Appeal which has the highest power and responsibility.  It comprises of 5 judges which are the Chief Justice, the 3 permanent judges and one non-permanent judge.

The High Court

Next in line comes the High court which further has a hierarchical system as given below:

  • The Court of Appeal

This court mainly hears those cases or appeals which are related to civil or criminal matters.  These cases come from the District Court, Court of First Instance as well as the appeals from the Lands Tribunal.

  • The court of the first Instance

This court has unlimited jurisdiction in both criminal as well as Civil matters and it exercises function on cases related to bankruptcy, family adoption, company winding up, probate and mental health matters, there are about 42 judges and Deputy judges of the court of first instance.

The District Court

The District Court comes at the third level in the hierarchy and is the intermediate court of Hong Kong.  It has limited jurisdiction in both criminal and civil matters.

The Magistrates Court

Magistrates courts exercises criminal jurisdiction over a few types of offences.  There are approximately 70 magistrates who sit across various tribunals and seven Magistrates Courts.  For each Magistrate court, a principal Magistrate is in charge.  Under the Magistrate Court, also comes the Juvenile court.

  • The Juvenile Court

This is the court which has jurisdiction to hear charges that have been levelled against children under the age of 14 and young persons who come within the age bracket of 14 and 16.

Special Courts and Tribunals

These are the special courts which are responsible for hearing special or specific cases.

  • The Coroner’s Court
  • The Lands Tribunal
  • The Labour Tribunal
  • The small claims tribunal
  • The Obscene articles tribunal