Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal decide Government measures are discriminatory against same-sex couples


Re: Leung Chun Kwong v Secretary for the Civil Service and Another [2019] HKCFA 19

The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal were asked to decide on whether couples in a same-sex marriage should be entitled to equivalent employment benefits to those afforded to married couples of the opposite-sex in Hong Kong.

The case raised for the first time in Hong Kong whether a differential treatment (purportedly based on marital status) could be justified by the aim of protecting the institution of marriage as understood in Hong Kong.  The Court of Appeal had earlier held that depriving employment-related benefits and the right to a joint tax assessment and tax benefits was justified by the need to protect and not undermine the status of marriage.

Held: The Court of Final Appeal unanimously found that the discriminatory measures adopted by the Government could not be justified, and allowed the claimant’s appeal.

Karon Monaghan QC was involved in this case.