The Secretary for Justice is the head of the Department of Justice. This government official is appointed by the Central People's Government of China after being nominated by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR Government.
The Secretary for Justice is the principal legal adviser to the Chief Executive, to the HKSAR Government and to the individual Government departments and agencies. The Secretary is also a member of the Executive Council. In addition to duties and responsibilities in relation to the conduct of criminal proceedings, the Secretary for Justice is the defendant in all civil actions brought against the Government.
The Secretary for Justice also has a right to intervene in any case involving a matter of great public interest e.g. to apply for judicial review to enforce public legal rights. The Secretary is also the ex officio chairman of Law Reform Commission. The Commission considers for reform those aspects of the laws of Hong Kong which are referred to it by the Secretary for Justice or the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal.
The Department of Justice comprises six divisions and five of which are professional divisions headed by a Law Officer to whom the Secretary for Justice delegates certain powers and responsibilities. The remaining division deals with administrative, training and personnel matters and the development needs of the department. Providing direct support to the Secretary for Justice is the Secretary for Justice's Office. A principal function of this Office is to assist the Secretary in relation to matters arising from the Executive and Legislative Councils concerning the promotion of legislation or providing answers to legislative councilors' questions.