Advancing the rights of same-sex couples

We worked with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) as interveners to the Court of Final Appeal in a case brought by Hong Kong civil servant, Angus Leung, in his battle to establish eligibility for the same benefits and tax assessment as heterosexual couples.

Mr. Leung married his partner, Scott Adams, in New Zealand where same-sex marriage is legal. He subsequently sought to update his marital status with his employer but was told that the marriage was not a marriage recognized under Hong Kong law, therefore his spouse was not entitled to spousal benefits. The following year, he attempted to elect for joint spousal tax assessment but was again refused. Mr. Leung challenged both decisions, and following a two-year wait, saw the Court of First Instance rule in his favor with regards to access to spousal benefits. The victory was short-lived, as on June 1, 2018, the Court of Appeal overturned the lower court's decision leaving Mr. Leung and his husband no option but to launch a final appeal. The Court of Final Appeal hearing took place with the ruling in favor of Mr. Leung.

This is a landmark case - the first time such a case has gone to the Final Court of Appeal in Greater China and is the first such case to have reached Hong Kong's highest appeal court. The judgment is a victory for Hong Kong's LGBT+ community and reflects our commitment to diversity and inclusion advancing the rights of same-sex couples and marriage equality.