Judicial Independence in Hong Kong from a Hybrid Regime Perspective

Studies on judicial politics in democracies have found that electoral competition is an important factor contributing to de facto judicial independence. There has been, however, limited research on the relationship between electoral politics and judicial independence in non-democracies, mainly because it is assumed that elections in non-democracies are shams. The literature has largely overlooked the challenges of exploring courts in hybrid regimes, i.e. non-democracies with competitive electoral systems. Electoral competition empowers hybrid regime courts because both the incumbent and opposition face a higher degree of political uncertainty. This Paper draws on the experiences of Hong Kong courts to better explore the judicial strategies used to maneuver through politics and the conditions for judicial independence in a hybrid regime. Questions unique to the context of Hong Kong will also be discussed.