In the landmark case of Democratic Republic of the Congo & Ors v FG Hemisphere Associates LLC [2011] HKEC 747 the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong (the Court) for the first time in its history sought clarification of provisions of Hong Kong's Basic Law from the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (the SCNPC) on behalf of the Chinese Government.

That clarification is known as an interpretation and was the subject of our e-bulletin in June 2011 (attached below). In short, the Court sought clarification from the SCNPC with respect to two main points: (i) that the issue of foreign state immunity in Hong Kong was a matter for the Chinese Government to decide and (ii) that the nature of the immunity was absolute. The SCNPC gave its interpretation on Friday, 26 August 2011 and, as expected, that interpretation has confirmed both points in the affirmative. The Court is obliged to follow the interpretation (as are the courts in Hong Kong). The case will go back to the Court so that it can hand down a final judgment that confirms its earlier provisional judgment and gives effect to the SCNPC interpretation.

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