Conference on Towering Judges

25-26 January 2019

The Towering Judges Conference, which took place on 25-26 January 2019 at the CUHK Graduate Law Centre, brought together a diverse group of scholars to discuss the phenomenon of judges who, within their particular institutional and political settings, were able to transform their constitutional systems. Over the course of two days, towering judges from the following jurisdictions were discussed: Hong Kong, India, Nepal, Singapore, South Africa, Hungary, Vietnam, Chile, Israel, the United States, Canada and Australia. Participants considered, among others, these issues: (1) Why do we tend to find towering figure judges in moments of constitutional and democratic change in some countries and not in others;  (2) how effective are towering figure judges in promoting democratic consolidation and in effectuating constitutional change; (3) can we find examples of towering figure judges that have had a detrimental effect on democratic change, either by using the wrong tactics, producing political backlash, or by actively promoting reactionary or anti-liberal ideas; (4) what kind of legacy do towering figure judges leave, and do their achievements carry on to a second generation of judges. The conference opened with a Keynote Address from the Hon. Mr. Justice Kemal Bokhary, Non-Permanent Judge of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal. His remarks are available here.