Judge Thomas Au Hing-cheung is to hand down a judgment in the case surrounding the oath controversy of two localist Youngspiration lawmakers on Tuesday, according to court records.

The judgement will be handed down at 3:30pm and the court estimates that it will take three minutes.

The case was lodged by the Chief Executive and the Secretary for Justice. They have demanded the court declare the offices of Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching vacant, after some deemed the words they used during their October 12 swearing-in session insulting to Chinese people. The government also asked the court to rule that the president of the Legislative Council is not entitled to allow the duo to retake their oaths.

Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

The High Court heard the case on November 3. But the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress issued an interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law – a key component of both sides’ arguments – on November 7, before any ruling was made.

The interpretation last Monday sought to define the term “in accordance with law.” It said that oath-taking is a mandatory procedure for those assuming public office, and that lawmakers must “accurately, completely and solemnly” read out phrases such as the full name of Hong Kong.

Mr Justice Au then invited all parties in the case to provide additional submissions if necessary.

Counsel for the duo have asked the court to disregard the interpretation.

The High Court. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Counsel for Yau argued that Article 104 “requires no interpretation” as it merely “self-evidently creates an obligation” for public officers to take an oath, as well as requiring that the oath must be “in accordance with law.”

Counsel for Youngspiration’s Baggio Leung argued similarly that the interpretation should be nullified on the basis that the NPCSC had overstepped its constitutional boundaries by amending the Basic Law without complying with the formal procedure.

Counsel for the government submitted that the interpretation does not affect any of their arguments and said the evidence “clearly confirms” that Yau and Leung had “declined or neglected” to take their oath, and they must vacate their office immediately.

Leung and Yau have yet to complete their oaths and were barred from attending Legislative Council meetings.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.