Hong Kong’s highest court will hear in August an appeal application from the two ousted Youngspiration lawmakers over their disqualifications.
Localist politicians Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung Chung-hang made the application to the Court of Final Appeal last month. It was submitted after the High Court rejected the duo’s application to the highest court – however, they had the option to apply directly.
Yau will be represented by Senior Counsel Gladys Li Chi-hei, whilst Leung will be represented by Queen’s Counsel David Pannick on August 25.
The pair were kicked out of the Legislative Council after they protested during their oath-taking ceremonies last October, displaying “Hong Kong is not China” flags and changing the wording of their oaths in a way some deemed insulting to Chinese people.
The government subsequently lodged a legal challenge against them.
Before a ruling was handed down at the Court of First Instance, Beijing issued a rare interpretation of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s de facto constitution, which said that lawmakers must take their oaths sincerely and accurately. The interpretation sparked protests by the general public and the legal sector.
According to their fresh application, their lawyers argued that the case has a “great general or public importance” and thus should be heard.
They asked the court to consider as to whether the constitutional principle of judicial non-intervention in the internal affairs of the Legislative Council applies to oath taking; whether the Basic Law interpretation allows for a second opportunity for oath taking; whether the interpretation amounts to an amendment of the Basic Law; and whether the court has a duty to deem the interpretation invalid.
They also said the case has “immense constitutional importance” as it will affect the case of four other lawmakers being challenged by the government in court. The case of the four was heard in early March.
The duo previously stated that they must secure HK$1.6 million to pay a deposit to the Court of Final Appeal, or it would not hear the case. It is unclear how much would the court will actually demand.
As of late February, the duo’s donation page showed they had received HK$621,785.17.