District Court (Hong Kong)

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District Court
Location12 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Victoria, Hong Kong Island
 Hong Kong
Coordinates22°16′48.02″N 114°10′20.48″E / 22.2800056°N 114.1723556°E / 22.2800056; 114.1723556Coordinates: 22°16′48.02″N 114°10′20.48″E / 22.2800056°N 114.1723556°E / 22.2800056; 114.1723556
Authorized byHong Kong Basic Law
Decisions are appealed toCourt of Appeal
Chief District Judge
CurrentlyHis Honour Judge Poon

The District Court (Chinese: 區域法院; 地方法院 before 1997) is the lower court system in Hong Kong, having both criminal and civil jurisdictions. It is located in the Wanchai Law Courts, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road. In the past there were six district courts, namely Victoria, Kowloon, Fanling, Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun and Sha Tin, before being amalgamated and moved to the same location in March 1991.


Civil jurisdiction[edit]

The District Court has limited civil jurisdiction. For a contract, quasi-contract or tort claim to be handled by the District Court, it should be for an amount over $50,000 but not more than $1 million. If the claim is more than $1 million, the claim can still be pursued in the District Court provided that the excess is abandoned. If the claim is $50,000 or less, an adverse costs order may be made against the winning plaintiff due to pursuing its claim in the wrong court.

Even if a claim does not exceed $1 million, provided that the defendant counterclaims for over $1 million, the claim and the counterclaim or just the counterclaim may be transferred to the Court of First Instance. For good reasons, the District Court may continue to handle the claim when the counterclaim exceeds $1 million, but a report has to be made to the High Court and the High Court may transfer the case.

As to claims for possession of land, the District Court can deal with buildings or premises the annual rent or rateable value or the annual value of which does not exceed $240,000.

If a claimant invokes the District Court's equity jurisdiction, the above limits are equally applicable, except that in proceedings related to land, the maximum value shall not exceed $3 million.

Distraint claims are handled by the District Court.

Criminal jurisdiction[edit]

The system is modelled after the English legal system, with indictable offences being taken up by the District Court if they are transferred from the magistrate's court. A District Court Judge sits alone without a jury.

The District Court hears all serious cases except murder, manslaughter and rape, and can impose a sentence of up to seven years. Cases are heard in either the Cantonese or English languages.


Eligibility and appointment[edit]

A person who has practised for at least 5 years as a barrister, advocate, solicitor or judicial officer in Hong Kong or another common law jurisdiction is eligible to be appointed as a Judge, Registrar or Master of the District Court.[1][2]

District Judges, as well as the Registrar and Masters of the District Court, are appointed by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of the independent Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission (JORC).[3][4]

Limited-term or vacancy-filling Deputy District Judges may be appointed by the Chief Justice.[5]

It is not uncommon for a person to sit as a short-term Deputy District Judge prior to appointment in a permanent capacity.

District Judges[edit]

District Judges are referred to as ‘His/Her Honour Judge [surname]’.

The current Judges of the District Court (as at 2 January 2018) are (ranked according to seniority):[6]

Chief District Judge

  • His Honour Judge Poon

District Judges

  • Her Honour Judge Marlene Ng
  • His Honour Judge Michael Wong
  • His Honour Judge Stanley Chan
  • His Honour Judge C M Leung
  • Her Honour Judge Sharon Melloy
  • His Honour Judge Eddie Yip
  • Her Honour Judge Katina Levy
  • His Honour Judge C K Chan
  • His Honour Judge Frankie Yiu
  • His Honour Judge K W Wong
  • His Honour Judge Justin Ko (Acting Chief District Judge while His Honour Judge Poon sits as a Deputy High Court Judge)
  • His Honour Judge Douglas Yau
  • His Honour Judge W K Kwok
  • His Honour Judge Josiah Lam
  • His Honour Judge Anthony Kwok
  • His Honour Judge David Dufton
  • His Honour Judge S M Sham
  • Her Honour Judge Amanda Woodcock
  • His Honour Judge K H Hui
  • His Honour Judge Jack Wong
  • Her Honour Judge Katherine Lo
  • His Honour Judge Johnny Chan
  • His Honour Judge Gary Lam
  • His Honour Judge Andrew Li
  • His Honour Judge Herbert Au-Yeung
  • His Honour Judge W T Lee
  • His Honour Judge Harold Leong
  • His Honour Judge Kent Yee
  • His Honour Judge Roy Yu
  • His Honour Judge C P Pang
  • His Honour Judge Timothy Casewell
  • His Honour Judge Simon Lo
  • His Honour Judge S L Tam
  • Her Honour Judge Angela Kot
  • His Honour Judge Reuden Lai
  • His Honour Judge George Own
  • Her Honour Judge Y F Chan
  • His Honour Judge L W Wong
  • His Honour Judge M K Liu
  • His Honour Judge Edmond Lee
  • Her Honour Judge Winnie Tsui
  • His Honour Judge Clement Lee

Pursuant to a general power of appointment to vacancies or on a temporary basis under section 10 of the High Court Ordinance, Cap. 4,[7] the Chief Justice frequently makes short-term appointments of District Court judges to sit on the High Court.[8]

Deputy District Judges[edit]

The Chief Justice appoints on a temporary basis a number of Permanent Magistrates, retired judges and practitioners in private practice to sit as Deputy District Judges. A Deputy District Judge may exercise all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of a District Judge.[9]

Forms of address[edit]

All Judges of the District Court (regardless of whether Judges or Deputy Judges) are addressed in court as "Your Honour".

In court judgments and decisions, District Judges are referred to as 'His/Her Honour Judge [surname]', 'HH Judge [surname]' or 'HHJ [surname]'. Deputy District Judges are referred to as 'Deputy District Judge [surname]' or 'DDJ [surname]'.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ District Court Ordinance (Cap. 336), Sections 5 and 14AA
  2. ^ Hong Kong Basic Law, Article 92
  3. ^ Hong Kong Basic Law, Articles 48(6) and 88
  4. ^ Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission Ordinance (Cap. 92)
  5. ^ District Court Ordinance (Cap. 336), Section 7
  6. ^ Hong Kong Judiciary: List of Judges and Judicial Officers
  7. ^ "Section 7 Appointment of deputy District Judges". Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  8. ^ see example: "Appointment of Deputy Judge of the Court of First Instance of the High Court" (PDF).
  9. ^ District Court Ordinance (Cap. 336), Section 7

External links[edit]