1/n Thread: Strong comments by UK @CommonsForeign in new report on defending democracies.

Notes possible reputational risk to UK having judges on #HongKong Court of Final Appeal (CFA), by appearing complicit in a system undermining rule of law.

Australia has 4 judges on CFA.
2/n The 4 Australian non-permanent judges on #HongKong CFA are:
- Murray Gleeson
- James Spigelman
- William Gummow
- Robert French

Notably, the report indicates that @CommonsForeign wrote to counterparts in Australia in August urging reassessment if current trends continue.
3/n Yet to see public response to concerns by @CommonsForeign from Australian counterparts. But I'm aware that situation is being followed closely.

Would be interesting to know any reply, incl whether similar concerns expressed @billbirtles @MikeSmithAFR @KirstyLNeedham
4/n Presence of Australian judges on CFA is something the legal profession & judiciary have been proud of. Has brought great benefits to #HongKong & Australia.

Organisations, such as @thelawcouncil, @JudicialConfAus & others will be watching developments closely.
5/n Also, @dfat consistently notes having Australian judges on CFA via speeches & talking points on #HongKong. Upholding #ruleoflaw major part of relationship.

For example, #ruleoflaw was part of Australia's #UPR recommendation on HK in Nov 2018, see below @HongKongUPR #HKUPR
6/n I'm not arguing to remove Australia's judges yet.

But, with deteriorating #ruleoflaw, incl; arbitrary application of law, lack of certainty in law, limited accountability of police, judges' fears of PRC influence & more, it should be carefully & continuously assessed.
8/n Continuing the thread. Given Zhang Xiaoming's comments, should Australian judges on CFA be CCP "patriots"?

Such statements, and similar others, should be condemned by HK & Australian govs, plus respective legal professions. It is a rule of law issue. https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1490984-20191109.htm
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