Masters of the Bench
The Hon Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary GBM, JP
Full Title: The Hon Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary GBM, JPCategory: Ordinary Bencher
Bench Call Date: 23.10.2001
Call Date: 16.7.1970
Syed Kemal Shah Bokhary (“Kemy” to his friends) was born in Hong Kong on 25 October 1947. He was called to the English Bar in 1970 by the Middle Temple. In 1971 he was admitted to the Hong Kong Bar. He was appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1993. From 1971 to 1989 he practised in Hong Kong and before the Privy Council in London. His practice was principally in commercial law and public law.
He was appointed to the High Court in 1989 and elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1993. In 1997 he was further elevated to become one of the founding justices of the Court of Final Appeal which was established in that year to take over the Privy Council’s role as Hong Kong’s court of last resort.
The Court of Final Appeal’s most important function is to interpret and apply Hong Kong’s constitution the Basic Law pursuant to which Hong Kong has, under the “one country two systems” principle, a system different from that of the rest of China.
From 1997 to 2012, Mr Justice Bokhary was a Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal and participated in almost every constitutional case which came before that Court. Since 25 October 2012, he has been a Non-Permanent Judge of that Court, hearing appeals from time to time. He has been awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal. Honorary doctorate of laws has been conferred on him by the University of Hong Kong and by the Hong Kong Shue Yan University. He is an honorary professor of the faculty of law of the University of Hong Kong and of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He edits various texts and law reports. His memoirs Recollections were published by Sweet & Maxwell in 2013. They published his second book The Law is a Crocodile later that year, third book Crocodile at Law in 2014 and his latest book Human Rights : Source, Content and Enforcement in 2016. In addition to their work in the law, he and his wife, Mrs Verina Bokhary SBS (formerly Mrs Justice Verina Bokhary of the High Court), devote their time to each other, their children and their grandchildren.