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Department of Justice
Agency overview
Formed1 July 1997; 26 years ago (1997-07-01)
HeadquartersG/F, Main Wing,
6/F, Main and East Wing,
Justice Place, 18 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong
5-7/F, High Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong
Annual budget949.2m HKD[1]
Minister responsible
Child agencies
  • · Prosecutions Division
  • · Civil Division
  • · Legal Policy Division
  • · Law Drafting Division
  • · International Law Division
  • · Administration and Development Division
Department of Justice
Cantonese YaleLeuht jing sī

The Department of Justice (DoJ), is the department responsible for the laws of Hong Kong headed by the Secretary for Justice. Before 1997, the names of the department and the position was the Legal Department (律政署) and Attorney General (律政司) respectively. The Department of Justice provides legal advice to other departments in the government system, “drafts government bills, makes prosecution decisions, and promotes the rule of law”.[2]


In March 2021, after 15 of 47 pro-democracy figures were granted bail by a court, the DoJ immediately filed an appeal, sending the 15 people back to their detention cells.[3]

Also in March 2021, Hong Kong Free Press reported that 3 defendants were acquitted of rioting because they were not physically present at the riot, with the DoJ later complaining to the Court of Final Appeal that the acquittal was erroneous and that people could still be participants in a crime even if not physically present, such as by using social media and pressing the "like" button.[4]

In April 2021, a spokesman for the DoJ commented on US ambassador Hanscom Smith's criticism of Hong Kong's arrest of Jimmy Lai, claiming that "It is regrettable to note that the convictions have drawn unfair criticisms with political overtones. Any assertion to suggest that 'Beijing [is] eroding Hong Kong's freedoms' is totally baseless."[5]

Separately in April 2021, the DoJ asserted that in cases involving the national security police, the police would be exempt from laws that cover the search and seizure of journalists' material.[6] In response, the Hong Kong Journalists Association said that the move would make it more difficult for journalists to protect their sources.[6]

Also in April 2021, after the sentencing of Jimmy Lai and other pro-democracy figures drew criticism from overseas politicians, the DoJ released a statement saying that though the government attaches great importance to rights and freedom, those freedoms are not absolute.[7]

In December 2022, the DoJ said criticisms were "far from the truth" when the CEO of Maxwell Chambers said "Hong Kong, in particular, was one place where some parties with very long-term contracts avoided putting it as the seat of arbitration, due to uncertainty about the legal environment after Hong Kong returned to China, even with assurances of 50 years of self-government and freedom of speech."[8][9][10]

In August 2023, after the High Court blocked the DoJ from banning the song Glory to Hong Kong, the DoJ appealed and claimed that the Chief Executive should have more power than the courts, for national security matters.[11]



See also


  1. ^ a b "" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
  2. ^ "Department of Justice". Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  3. ^ "15 granted bail out of 47 democrats but all go back into detention after prosecutors appeal | Apple Daily". Apple Daily 蘋果日報 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Archived from the original on 5 March 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  4. ^ Hamlett, Tim (29 March 2021). "Hong Kong and the terrifying legal gamble of pressing a digital button". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Archived from the original on 29 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Foreign ministry accuses US envoy to Hong Kong of 'smearing' electoral overhaul". South China Morning Post. 2 April 2021. Archived from the original on 2 April 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Hong Kong national security police can seize journalistic files without court approval: prosecutors | Apple Daily". Apple Daily 蘋果日報 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Archived from the original on 1 April 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  7. ^ Kong, Dimsumdaily Hong (17 April 2021). "Department of Justice says HKSAR Government respects rights and freedoms protected under the Basic Law". Dimsum Daily. Archived from the original on 17 April 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Lawyers downplay fracas between Hong Kong, Singapore over arbitration capabilities". South China Morning Post. 25 December 2022. Retrieved 26 December 2022.
  9. ^ "Govt: law journal's criticisms 'far from truth' - RTHK". Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  10. ^ "Department of Justice's response to media enquiries". Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  11. ^ Leung, Hillary (10 August 2023). "Hong Kong leader should outweigh courts in national security matters, gov't says after protest song ban rejected". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 10 August 2023.