No one is above the law, says AG

No one is above the law, says AG

According to Attorney General Graham Leung, no one, including an elected government or a government official, is above the law.

In his first speech in parliament during the budget debate yesterday, he said that the “rule of law does not mean that there is a rule of law”.

“The recent conviction of a former president of one of the world’s most powerful countries for falsifying corporate records is an important reminder that no matter how high you are, the law is above you,” Mr Leung said.

“It is a lesson we in this country should keep in mind. The rule of law is the foundation of our system of government.

“There is not one set of laws for the powerful and another for the powerless; one for the rich and one for the poor; depending on a person’s race, ethnicity or religion.

“The rule of law ensures that executive power is not exercised arbitrarily.”

He said the rule of law would contribute to a peaceful country and create more effective and accountable institutions at all levels.

“The Attorney General, as guardian of the rule of law, has the task of defending the public interest. It is my intention to perform my constitutional duty apolitically. I am not a politician. I am first and foremost a lawyer.

“Through the Attorney General, my responsibility extends to the broad supervision of civil proceedings, by or against the state.

“The state should be the model litigant. Simply put, this means that government lawyers must first obey the law and adhere to the ethical obligations that apply to all legal practitioners.

“They must at all times act honestly, with complete correctness and in accordance with the highest professional standards.”

Mr Leung said it was his duty to promote respect for the law in all government affairs.

“Within our legal system, as a member of the cabinet, I am collectively responsible and accountable to Parliament.”