Articles: Human rights

Leung Chun Kwong v Secretary for the Civil Service & anotherSDO Section 7
HK Court of Appeal, 1-Jun-2018
The CA overturns the CFI decision granting Mr Leung benefits for his same-sex partner/spouse and upholds the decision denying him joint assessment for tax. The bigger question, regardless of sexual orientation, is this: why does the Government grant benefits based on marital status in the first place, and is that legal? The Sex Discrimination Ordinance, Section 7(1), prohibits discrimination based on marital status. Employees of equal rank and performance should not have different value of remuneration based on marital status. Mr Leung's complaint was that he did not qualify for discriminatory treatment in favour of married people, but why is there any such discrimination?
Justice is blind, except for haircuts
The Court of Appeal rules that a prison order requiring men to have short hair and allowing women to choose is not discriminatory, because of societal norms for haircuts. We find substantial flaws in this reasoning. We also find that the UK rule which HK inherited was amended by 1999 to remove the discrimination, something that Long Hair's lawyers appear to have overlooked. (1-May-2018)
QT v Director of Immigration
HK Court of Appeal, 25-Sep-2017
In a landmark decision, the Court unanimously grants the appeal by a person in a same-sex British civil partnership, ruling that the policy indirectly discriminates against gay couples in a civil partnership or marriage recognised overseas, because it grants a benefit (a dependent visa) only to spouses as defined by HK law, of the opposite sex, for which they cannot qualify. There is no rational connection between the legitimate aim of immigration control and the means adopted. Our take: this very thorough and well-reasoned ruling will impact other policies which adopt heterosexual marriage as a criterion for benefits. The Government may try to go to the Court of Final Appeal, but they are unlikely to succeed in overturning this.
Leung Kwok Hung v Commissioner of Correctional Services
HK Court of First Instance, 17-Jan-2017
In a victory for male equality, "Long Hair" succeeds in a judicial review of the decision to require that his hair be cut short on admission to prison. The rules state that a female prisoner is entitled on request to have her hair cut "especially before discharge or production in court. Except as recommended by [Medical Officer], a female prisoner's hair shall not be cut shorter than the style on admission without her consent." A point not addressed is that men are apparently not entiled to have a haircut before court appearances.
QT v Director of Immigration
HK Court of First Instance, 11-Mar-2016
Wang Qiaoling's battle to find missing lawyer husband, Li Heping
BBC, 10-Sep-2015

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