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三權分立既是悠久的普通法原則 亦是《基本法》的規定

2020/9/5 — 15:50

法政匯思製圖

法政匯思製圖

法政匯思就「三權分立」原則的聲明

1. 在 2020 年 9 月 1 日的一場記者會中,行政長官林鄭月娥提到香港特別行政區(「特區」)憲制並不實行「三權分立」。早前,教育局局長楊潤雄在解釋刪除通識科教科書中相關內容的建議時,亦發表類似言論。

2. 行政長官和楊局長的陳述背離甚至違反了公認的法律原則。終審法院曾在多份權威判詞中指出「三權分立」原則在特區憲制內確實存在。三權分立原則乃當代世界各國政治框架的基石,其重要性不僅在於妥善分配政府權力,更關鍵地在於確保政府各機關能互相制衡。

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3. 三權分立既是悠久的普通法原則,亦是《基本法》的規定。《基本法》多項條文明確地反映了此憲制設計:
a) 第 59 和第 64 條指出特區政府是特區的行政機關,亦需對立法會負責;
b) 第 73 條指出立法會負責制定、修改和廢除法律;
c) 第 85 條指出法院需獨立進行審判,不受任何干涉。

4. 在行使其獨立司法權的過程中,法院被賦予決定立法會制定的法律及/或行政機關作出的行為是否符合《基本法》以及《人權法案》和其他法例的責任及權力。

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5. 行政長官及楊局長皆以香港特別行政區的三權最終皆向中央人民政府負責為由,試圖為其說法砌詞狡辯。就算這說法本身沒錯,目前爭議的核心在於香港特別行政區的三權在香港特別行政區之內的權力分布。政府高官三番四次提起中國與香港特別行政區之間的關係,法政匯思認為只是混淆視聽、愚弄公眾的政治說詞。

6. 法政匯思對行政長官及楊局長的陳述深感憂慮,恐怕這是搗毀或至少矮化既有的法律及政治原則,從而一方面削弱立法司法權,另一方面加強行政權的陰謀。三權分立作為一個現代政治框架的重要性,無論是從避免集權、濫權來看,還是從保障基本權利來看也是不證自明,就算如何重視亦不為過。

2020 年 9 月 5 日
法政匯思


Statement of the Progressive Lawyers Group on the Doctrine of Separation of Powers

1. At a press conference on 1 September 2020, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said that there is no “separation of powers” in the constitutional framework of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“HKSAR”). Her remark echoed an earlier comment by Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung over the Education Bureau’s proposal to remove from liberal studies textbooks references to “separation of powers.”  

2. Said remarks by Lam and Yeung represent an alarming departure from and a direct contradiction of established law on the issue. The Court of Final Appeal, the HKSAR’s highest court, has held in several seminal decisions that “separation of powers” does exist in the constitutional framework of Hong Kong.  The importance of separation of powers, a cornerstone of any modern political framework, lies not only in the division of governmental functions but, more critically, in the checks and balances among the three branches of government. 

3. The separation of powers is a longstanding common law principle and is enshrined in the Basic Law.  The Basic Law specifically spells out this constitutional design:-
a) Article 59 and 64 provides that the executive branch shall be “the executive authorities of the HKSAR and accountable to the Legislative Council (“LegCo”)”;
b) Article 73 provides that the LegCo “enacts, amends and repeals laws”; and
c) Article 85 provides that the courts “exercise the judicial power independently, free from any interference.”

4. In exercising their independent judicial power, the courts are vested with the duty and power to decide whether legislation enacted by the LegCo and/or acts carried out by the executive branch comply with the Basic Law and other laws, including the Bill of Rights. 

5. Both Lam and Yeung sought to justify their remarks by pointing out that all three branches of the government in the HKSAR are ultimately answerable to the Central People’s Government.  Be that as it may, the issue at hand concerns how powers are distributed among the three branches of government within the HKSAR. That senior officials have repeatedly brought up the relations between China and the HKSAR is, the PLG believes, mere political rhetoric to divert attention and confuse the public.

6. The PLG is deeply troubled by Lam’s and Yeung’s statements, which we fear are part of a concerted effort to dismantle or at least diminish established legal and political doctrines in an attempt to augment the powers and remit of the executive branch at the expense of the LegCo and the judiciary. The importance of separation of powers, a modern political framework to prevent the concentration and abuse of power and safeguard fundamental human rights, is self-evident and cannot be overstated.

5 September 2020 
Progressive Lawyers Group 

 

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