Hong Kong (HK)

Jurisdiction Overview

408 *Are all court proceedings on civil tax matters openly accessible to the public, and the public cannot be ordered to leave the court room by invoking tax secrecy, bank secrecy, professional secrecy or comparable confidentiality rules? No
 Data Date: 2018


According to the Court of Final Appeal Ordinance (Chapter 484) "[a]ll proceedings before the Court or the Appeal Committee shall be held in open court to which the public shall have access". All cases are heard in open court at the High Court (formerly the Supreme Court) and district courts. According to Chapter 4, Section 4 of the Rules of the High Court, "the Court hearing an application for an order of committal may sit in private in the following cases, that is to say— (a) where the application arises out of proceedings relating to the wardship or adoption of an infant or wholly or mainly to the guardianship, custody, maintenance or upbringing of an infant, or rights of access to an infant; (b) where the application arises out of proceedings relating to a person suffering or appearing to be suffering from mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Ordinance (Chapter 136); (c) where the application arises out of proceedings in which a secret process, discovery or invention was in issue; and (d) where it appears to the Court that in the interests of the administration of justice or for reasons affecting the security of Hong Kong the application should be heard in private; but, except as aforesaid, the application shall be heard in open court".
However, Thomson Reuters Practical Law refers to most exceptions, such as if a trust is involved or some bankruptcy applications: "Court proceedings are generally held in public for commercial disputes. There are certain statutory exceptions, and hearings relating to the following are often held in private: Intellectual property; Without notice (ex parte) applications for injunctions or orders of a restraining or compulsory nature; Trusts; Obtaining evidence for foreign courts; Some bankruptcy and company winding-up applications" (uk.practicallaw.thomsonreuters.com).


Chapter 4, Section 54, Rules of the High Court
Chapter 484, Court of Final Appeal Ordinance