1. Basic Legal Knowledge

  2. Procedures during criminal hearings

  3. Juvenile Court

  4. Arresting procedure, my rights and obligations

  5. Free or subsidized legal assistance

  6. Protection for victims

  7. Punishment and sentencing options

  8. Criminal records and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance

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Sources of law in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Laws are generally composed of the Basic Law, Common Law, Rules of Equity and Statute Law.

The Basic Law

The Basic Law of the HKSAR is similar to a mini-constitution for the HKSAR. It took effect on 1 July 1997 on the establishment of the HKSAR. The most prominent feature of the Basic Law is the underlying principle of "one country, two systems" whereby the socialist system and policies shall not be practised in the HKSAR and the previous capitalist system and way of life is to remain unchanged for 50 years.

Under the Basic Law, all the laws previously in force in Hong Kong (including common law and statues, etc.) shall be maintained except for any that contravene the Basic Law and subject to any amendment by the HKSAR legislature. National laws of the People's Republic of China shall not be applied in the HKSAR except for a number of such laws relating to defence and foreign affairs.

Common Law and Rules of Equity

Common law is a system of law that derives from decisions of judges. Previous court judgments of similar cases in Hong Kong or other countries under the common law system will be recognized as authorities for the disposition of future cases. Article 84 of the Basic Law provides that the Hong Kong courts may refer to case precedents from other countries under common law jurisdictions.

Rules of equity act as a supplement of strict and rigid law and provide flexibility to the judges to exercise their discretion. Judges may grant equitable remedies to the aggrieved party. The usual equitable remedies include injunction (a court order requiring someone to stop doing something) and specific performance (a court order requiring one of the parties to a contract to perform his/her part of the contract).

Statute Law

Statute law makes up a large component of the Hong Kong laws. It consists of written ordinances of which the majority are passed by legislative procedure in the Legislative Council of the HKSAR, and they eventually become the Laws of Hong Kong (for details of each ordinance, please refer to the "Bilingual Laws Information System").

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