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Two British judges quit Hong Kong’s top court

Two non-permanent judges of Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal (HKCFA) have tendered their resignations after lawmakers in the United States and United Kingdom called for sanctioning the city’s foreign judges and accused them of legitimizing the government’s crackdown on political dissent.

The news of the resignation of Lawrence Collins, a non-permanent judge of Hong Kong’s highest court since 2011, was broken by British solicitor Joshua Rozenberg KC in his blog on Thursday.

In the article, Collins said: I have resigned from the Court of Final Appeal because of the political situation in Hong Kong, but I continue to have the fullest confidence in the court and the total independence of its members.

He did not elaborate what political situation concerned him.

Jonathan Sumption, who has served the Court of Final Appeal since 2019, told the Financial Times that he had also resigned. He said he would publish a statement in due course.

The two judges’ resignation came after the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation on May 14 released a report with the title “Lending prestige to persecution: how foreign judges are undermining Hong Kong’s Freedoms and why they should quit.” Alistair Carmichael, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong, hosted the report launch.

The report said Sumption was involved in a 2021 case affirming the expansive use of rioting charges to imprison nonviolent protesters.

It also said Collins took leave of absence in Sept 2021 when he and other judges were required to declare their financial benefits from the Court of Final Appeal.

The duo’s resignations also happened after the United States’s Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) in a report published on