chapter  3
22 Pages

Locus standi and public interest litigation in Hong Kong: A comparative study


Since the entrenchment of Basic Law rights in Hong Kong, the public has become more amenable to using judicial review to challenge and correct public wrongs committed by governmental bodies. Professor David Feldman perceives public interest litigation as the private citizen’s use of “the forms, procedures and substance of public law, and particularly constitutional law, to advance public political aims.”1 In general, public interest litigation (PIL) has been used to remedy two types of wrongs: (1) generalized grievances like pollution, where each member of society suffers from this wrong; and (2) specifi c grievances like the illegal withholding of welfare benefi ts where only a segment of society directly suffers the wrong. For such specifi c grievances, while the wrong suffered may befall only segments of society, e.g., the poor or the sick, the remedying of such wrongs by surrogate bodies should not be seen as mere representative litigation as the importance of these interests to the society at large and the response of the political system in general to such claims make the interests at stake no less public.