Editor-in-Chief: The Hon Mr Justice Bokhary
General Editor: Professor Simon Young
Sweet & Maxwell
Preface by the General Editor
Archbold’s first general editor was John Frederick Archbold. By analogy, Archbold Hong Kong’s first general editor would be considered Hong Kong’s Archbold. Sadly Hong Kong’s Archbold passed away on 28 April 2020. This is a fitting title for Dr Gerard McCoy SC. His encyclopedic knowledge of the law, especially the criminal law, was well known and undoubtedly a matter of judicial notice in many countries. Mr Justice Frank Stock, in his preface to the first edition of this work, described Dr McCoy as “a tireless worker, possessed of a meticulous eye and as well-versed in the principles and detail of the criminal law as one could wish”. Though he appeared for government in a good number of cases, he had a big heart for the underdog and an unrelenting sense of justice. He was also very much reform-minded, which I witnessed having the honour of working with him on two law reform committees and two landmark Court of Final Appeal cases on joint criminal enterprise and refugee non-refoulement. In court, he was as distinguished as any silk who has ever practiced in this jurisdiction, but he was also a compassionate leader who could instantly dissolve the nerves of a junior at the start of a hearing by offering a fist bump with the words ‘Go Team’. He was a lawyer’s lawyer, one who would not hesitate to offer advice, or a case reference, to any fellow member of the bar who sought his assistance. In his practice, he continuously prodded the law, and for that we got to learn so much more about the law, whatever may have been the result in the case. One need only have regard to the cases he handled in his last year to appreciate his unparalleled contribution to the criminal law in Hong Kong. Those cases enhanced our understanding of the right to interpreter assistance in criminal trials (CACC 135/2017; CACC 320/2016), the right to privacy and police searches of mobile phones (CACV 270/2017); remedial interpretation of the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance (CACC 237/2015), the rule in Browne v Dunn (CACC 65/2017), and the constitutionality of sentences for male buggery offences (CACC 361/2018). This is only a small sample of a corpus of law which he helped to generate.
In his preface, echoing the words of Archbold, Dr McCoy wrote that this work would aim “to become ‘a practically useful book’ which identifies and collates the current substantive, procedural, evidential and adjectival criminal law of Hong Kong”. In this spirit, the current edition collates the contents of 《中華人民共和國香港特別行政區維護國家安全法》(Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region), which was applied locally on 30 June 2020. This National Security Law (NSL) is the most important piece of criminal law legislation applied in Hong Kong in recent times, and practitioners are slowly coming to terms with it. The NSL is currently covered across Chapters 2, 5, 15, 19, 26, 41 and 42, but for the future the aim is to capture NSL jurisprudential developments mainly in Chapter 26, concerned with national security offences.
Hong Kong’s Archbold ended his preface with the four Chinese characters, 金科玉律, which was likely a reference to Viscount Sankey’s “one golden thread” famously penned in Woolmington v DPP  AC 462, 481. It is a fitting reminder that even in the post-NSL era persons charged with a criminal offence are always presumed innocent, the duty being on the prosecution to prove the person’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
I thank my three able assistant editors (Wilson Lui, Eric Chan, Josh Baker), the entire team of contributing editors who remain so dedicated to this work, the Editor-in-Chief for his wise counsel, and Thomson Reuters (Kevin Stokes, Stephen Blackwell, Abdul Azeem Ali) for all their assistance over the past year.
Professor Simon NM Young
HKU Law academics serving as Contributing Editors in this year's volume include Amanda Whitfort (1. The Indictment; 46. Animals), Simon Young (11. The Hearsay Rule; 19. Human Rights), and Michael Jackson (17. Principals and Secondary Parties; 18. Strict Liability).