Karen Kong (江嘉恩)
Principal Lecturer in Law, University of Hong Kong
The natural moral law is often viewed as the foundation or building block of the common law legal tradition which originated from England. Values like fairness, justice, equality, the rule of law, and respect for individual rights and liberties permeate the rules of common law and equity. These values can also be referred to as the spirit of the common law. “Justice delayed is justice denied”, and “equal justice under law”, for example, are entrenched common law maxims that were in existence for centuries. As Hong Kong incorporated the English common law legal system in the colonial times, the same norms and principles formed the backbone of our legal system; they are the core values that Hong Kong people had been proud of. These values, however, had been seriously challenged in recent years. There is a strong need to defend and preserve the core values and the spirit of the common law legal system in Hong Kong.
In international law, there is a source of law called “jus cogens”, or “peremptory norms of general international law”. These are norms so fundamental that they bind all states with or without consistent state practice or consent, and cannot be opt out by a treaty to the contrary. Examples of peremptory norms include the rights against torture and slavery.
As a Christian legal scholar, I feel a sense of mission to defend and protect the legal norms that reflect Christian moral values, and to strengthen and promote a legal order that enshrines these norms and values. Proposals to legal reform are based on principles of enhanced equality and fairness. I can feel that God’s justice is at work through earthly law and the legal system.Download