【隨筆】生日.復活

昨天從會議廳回到辦公室,瞥見案頭擱著一個有「Happy Birthday to Dennis」朱古力牌的蛋糕,是助理同事們預備的,口說多謝,心裡感激之餘,也驀然發覺時間已多走一年,自己又長了一歲。

最近一個多月的確忙得不可開交。先是三月隨立法會考察團到歐洲觀摩焚化技術,接著應邀到美國布朗大學擔任座談會演講嘉賓,然後上星期到上海與中央官員討論政改,外訪與外訪之間還塞滿立法會的會議和法庭的官司,幾乎沒有空隙,更沒有閒情逸緻構思要怎樣過生日了。難得同事們在跟我一樣忙工作的時候還記得替我慶祝,就讓我覺得,同事們不單辦事了得,更有體貼人的心思。

復活節將至,復活的意義,在於耶穌先經歷死亡完成拯救,然後復活帶來盼望。生日的喜悅讓人心情放鬆,積壓的勞累乘機迸發出來,頭腦和身體都感到疲憊得要命。幸好後天便是復活節假期,讓我可以「安息」一會,「復活」後再上路。

DSCF9412

【Article】Seize the moment

SCMP 2014-04-11
A15 | INSIGHT | Dennis Kwok

Seize the moment – Don’t waste this chance for real dialogue on political reform in Shanghai

SCMP link: http://www.scmp.com/comment/article/1473309/dont-waste-chance-real-dialogue-political-reform-shanghai

【Dennis Kwok says democratic lawmakers heading to Shanghai must ensure that, unlike in 2005, they don’t waste the opportunity to begin genuine dialogue on political reform with mainland officials】

In 2005, the chief executive and members of the Legislative Council went on a two-day tour of the Pearl River Delta, marking the very first time all legislators in Hong Kong were invited to visit the mainland.

It was also at a time when Hong Kong was engaged in discussions on constitutional reform and the possibility of introducing universal suffrage in the 2007 chief executive and 2008 Legco elections.

Almost a decade on, we find ourselves again in the midst of a consultation for constitutional reform and universal suffrage, so it comes as no surprise that such an invitation would come from the central government.

What are the lessons we must learn from the 2005 visit?

Any opportunity to communicate directly with mainland officials should be seized at once by the democrats. However, back in 2005, the pan-democrats simply accepted the invitation in the hope that the trip would establish a good foundation of mutual trust, on top of which further communications or even a consensus could be built. It did not happen. It was wasted time, and a wasted opportunity for both sides.

The failure to achieve anything close to that in the end, however, is a lesson not to be forgotten. Simply visiting the mainland, with no follow-up and no time for serious dialogue and discussion on matters close to the hearts of the Hong Kong people, is a wasted opportunity and does nobody any good.

During this upcoming Shanghai visit, we must avoid wasting any time on sightseeing or mere political gestures. Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got to begin a constructive dialogue by getting to the core of the issue as soon as possible. We must ensure the attendance of the relevant officials and secure sufficient time for open and frank discussions.

An official mechanism should be developed for future dialogue to continue, so as to ensure that any communication channel developed through this visit is not a one-off but a continuing one. It is only through this mechanism that a continuing and open dialogue with mainland officials on the important issue of constitutional reform could be achieved.

Otherwise, the two sides would no doubt swiftly retreat into their respective entrenchments, and the stalemate that we have seen in the past decade would continue.

In light of the significance of the upcoming Shanghai delegation and the important emphasis on the Basic Law, all 30 members of the Election Committee legal subsector, including myself, have co-written a letter to be presented to Wang Guangya , Li Fei and other relevant central government officials, expressing the united stance of the Hong Kong legal profession.

The letter purposely steers clear from any specific proposals but instead sets out five principles derived from the Basic Law, with which we believe any electoral proposal for the 2017 chief executive election must conform.

Article 45 of the Basic Law stipulates that the method for selecting the chief executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in Hong Kong and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress, and that the ultimate aim is the selection of the chief executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.

Under this constitutional structure, we believe the method for selecting the chief executive in 2017 should accord with the following cardinal principles:

  • The election should be by universal suffrage, comprising a genuine democratic election capable of reflecting the will of the Hong Kong people;
  • The nominating committee should be broadly representative. That is to say, it must be capable of reflecting the will of the Hong Kong people;
  • The method of nomination should accord with democratic procedures. Its sole purpose must be to facilitate a genuine democratic election, giving the Hong Kong people a real choice, and be capable of reflecting the actual situation in Hong Kong and the will of the people;
  • There should be no unreasonable restrictions on any individual’s right to stand for election, as enshrined in Article 26 of the Basic Law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (as entrenched in Article 39 of the Basic Law); and
  • In line with the principle of gradual and orderly progress, the nomination threshold should not, in any event, be higher and/or more difficult to attain than the threshold used in the 2012 chief executive election.

We expect any proposal for the 2017 election to be in strict accordance with these principles. Only such proposals could fulfil the relevant legal requirements in the Basic Law and the democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people.

img-411094758-0001

【文章】寫在去上海之前

明報 2014-04-10
A31 | 觀點

《寫在去上海之前》

儘管涉足政壇日子尚淺,但全體立法會議員到內地訪問這情景,卻是似曾相識:2005 年,正值2007 年行政長官和2008 年立法會產生辦法的政改工作進行得如火如荼之際,時任特首曾蔭權邀請全體立法會議員——包括泛民主派議員——到珠三角訪問。當下,香港正就2017 年行政長官和2016 年立法會產生辦法的政改方案展開諮詢,現任特首梁振英則邀請全體立法會議員訪問上海。這樣看來,邀請議員上大陸,是中央政府與泛民主派在政改博弈時的其中一個策略。

修函王光亞表達法律界原則

與內地官員直接溝通,是應該把握機會。所以2005 年時,即使行程沒有安排主責處理政改的官員與議員見面,但因為那是泛民主派議員破天荒首次官式訪問內地,故欣然應邀,希望藉此打開繼續溝通的大門,從而讓雙方在政改問題上達至共識。最終雖然事與願違,但那次失敗的經驗反而令大家意識到,若要處理重大而且複雜的問題,第一步要做的不再是遊山玩水式的政治秀,而是愈早展開直接的溝通和愈快聚焦關心的議題愈好。因此今次上海之行,泛民主派議員要求行程中必須有足夠的時間討論政改,以及出席的中央官員必須在政改方面有重要角色,並不是擺姿態式的叫價,而是真心誠意希望解決問題。

由於此行目標明確,責任重大,而中央和特區政府在今次政改中,以《基本法》為最大前提,因此我聯同全體29 位行政長官選舉委員會法律界委員,修函致擬到上海與議員面談政改的國務院港澳事務辦公室主任王光亞先生和全國人大常委會香港特別行政區基本法委員會主任李飛先生,表達香港法律界對在《基本法》的框架下政制發展的一些原則。茲將信件的內容抄錄如下:

我們是由香港法律界選出的代表,致函閣下乃為香港的法律界表達就2017 年行政長官以普選產生的政制改革方案的意見。

《基本法》第45 條訂明,行政長官的產生辦法根據香港特別行政區的實際情况和循序漸進的原則而規定,最終達至由一個有廣泛代表性的提名委員會按民主程序後普選產生的目標。

在此政制框架下,我們認為2017 年行政長官產生辦法須符合以下基本原則:

(一)2017 年行政長官應以普選方式選舉產生,該普選必須為能夠反映香港市民意願的真正民主選舉;

(二)提名委員會應具廣泛代表性,即必須能夠反映香港市民的意願;

(三)提名方法應符合民主程序,其唯一目標必須是讓香港市民有真正的選擇及反映香港的實際情况及香港市民的意願,以達至一個真正民主的選舉;

(四)《基本法》第26 條,以及第39 條指明須於香港實施的《公民權利和政治權利國際公約》均規定,任何人的被選舉權不得受到不合理的限制;及

(五)按照循序漸進原則,參選行政長官的提名門檻及∕或取得提名的難度,均不得高於2012 年行政長官選舉時採用的提名機制。

我們期望2017 年行政長官產生辦法的任何方案都必須嚴格按照上述5 點原則來制定,並相信這樣方能符合《基本法》相關條文的要求及香港市民的民主訴求。

我們相信,這5 點原則既符合《基本法》的規定,亦符合香港的民意,更符合民主的真正理念。當然,我們不會奢望一封短信、一次見面就能締造共識,但期望這是讓2017 年政改方案的討論重回正軌的契機。

img-410105219-0001

【文章】「善」跑

am730    2014-04-04
B20 | 戶外 | Run

《「善」跑》

早陣子,我應布朗大學(Brown University)香港同學會邀請,到美國與他們分享香港政制改革的回顧和展望。期間有機會多讀一點當地新聞,發現了一篇有關跑步的感人報道:美國有個專門為退役美軍提供獎學金讓他們繼續求學的基金會,在加州舉辦了一個慈善馬拉松活動。在路旁的觀賽者當中,有一位九十五歲的老人家,身穿一襲第二次世界大戰時的美軍軍服給參賽者打氣。或許這身服裝實在太矚目,大部分參賽者都特意跑到那位老兵面前跟他握手,以表謝意。

其實,「慈善」本身就是一種雙向互惠的關係,但在絕大多數情況下,捐助者和受助者不但互不認識,甚至連接觸的機會也沒有,可說是一種友善但疏離的矛盾關係。而這位老兵趁慈善基金舉辦馬拉松,悉心打扮給參賽者加油,無疑是將這種關係中的矛盾消弭。在老兵和參賽者的握手之間,捐助人和受助人建立了 (儘管只有一剎那 )一種直接關懷和彼此回饋的互動:參賽者輸出了善意,老兵接受了,然後再送出善意,讓參賽者接受。這個,無疑是馬拉松製造出來的一個契機;反過來說,這重意義,比馬拉松本身更深邃,也更珍貴。所以難怪連拍攝到老兵與參賽者握手的居民亦說,這個情景實在難能可貴,而且令人動容。

這讓我想起,香港其實有不少將運動與慈善結合的活動,例如最盛大的渣打馬拉松,可惜大眾往往只關心賽事有多少人參加、參賽者應注意甚麼、誰贏得冠軍等等事情。
我相信,若果能夠多點關心受助者,無論對參賽者、主辦者、活動本身,乃至整個社會來說,都有更豐富的意義。

螢幕快照 2014-04-04 上午10.45.29

【文章】異化的法援

星島日報   2014-04-03
A18 | 每日雜誌 | 星擂台

《異化的法援》

大概很難想像,以法治精神聞名的香港會發生這樣的事:某個涉嫌觸犯刑事罪行的人在初審時被判有罪,他決定上訴,並到法律援助署求助。法援署評估案情後,認為勝算不足,拒絕他的申請。那人沒奈何,唯有靠自己,結果竟然勝訴。儘管故事的結局令人欣慰,但過程卻教人氣結。

最讓人失望的是,這些事例並非罕見的個別例子,反而是為數不少的普遍現象。
根據司法機構提供的數字,過去三年,由裁判法院上訴至高等法院原訟庭,以及由高院原訟庭上訴至上訴庭的案件中,分別有六成和五成的上訴人沒有律師代表。沒有律師代表,原因有很多,但其中一個不能忽視的,說不定是最重要的原因,是法援拒絕受理的個案不少。港大法律學院教授楊艾文就曾在報章撰文,指出平均超過七成的刑事上訴法援申請遭法援署拒絕。

署方偷換審批概念

當然,拒絕受理的個案比例高,可能是因為那些案件都是「死症」。眾所周知,法援署在考慮是否批出法援時,有兩把尺,一是資產審查(但限額極低,令很多中產都無資格申請),二是案情審查,這是最常用的那把尺。就案情審查而言,若果是「死症」,法援拒絕受理亦合情合理。但問題是,法援署現在用的尺,是否法援制度原先定下的那把尺呢?

法援制度原先定下的尺是這樣的:《法律援助條例》第10(3)條列明「任何人均須顯示他有合理理由進行法律程序、在法律程序中抗辯、反對或繼續法律程序或作為其中一方,否則不可獲發給法律援助證書,進行該等法律程序」簡言之,就是法援申請人只要證明其案件有合理的基礎,法援署便應該給他援助。然而,法援署卻偷換了這把尺,變成申請人要證明其案件勝訴機會高於一半才會批出法援。用俗語說明的話,前者只需證明「有得拗」,後者卻要證明「拗得贏」。後者的門檻,無疑比前者高得多,也就難怪有那麼多人被拒諸門外了。

猶如諷刺法律精神

高等法院曾經在〈鍾玉英上訴高等法院常務官〉(HCAL 127 / 2013)一案中,批評法援署採用的準則是錯誤的,大律師公會在今年二月提交意見書也表達了同樣的觀點。但法援署不論在傳媒回應批評,或在立法會反駁議員質詢時,依然堅持它用的準則正確。

一個人被判有罪,可會為他帶來毀滅性影響的。刑事上訴人有無機會平反,不但攸關公義,更可能扭轉人生。正因如此,法援署審批每一個刑事上訴的法援申請,都是一念天堂、一念地獄的決定。法援的原意是要向那些值得幫助的人施以援手,法援署卻反而對大部分值得幫助的人袖手旁觀,豈不是令法援制度異化,是對法治精神的諷刺嗎?撥亂反正,是法援署刻不容緩的責任。

img-403095646-0001

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑