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Johnny Ma, SC

BCL (Faculty of Law, University of Oxford)
PCLL (Faculty of Law, HKU)
LLB (First Class Honours) (University of Hong Kong)
HKAL (Queen’s College, HK)
HKCE (Queen’s College, HK)
Johnny Ma, SC



Johnny Ma SC obtained his LLB from the University of Hong Kong in 1998 with first class honours. After finishing his BCL in the University of Oxford and his pupillage, he joined Chambers in 2001.

Whilst having a broad civil and commercial practice, Johnny specializes particularly in probate and administration matters. He acted for Chinachem Charitable Foundation Limited in the probate action at all levels from the Court of First Instance up to the Court of Final Appeal, and also subsequently in the proceedings dealing with the construction and implementation of Nina Wang’s will. He regularly advises on contentious as well as non-contentious probate and administration matters such as validity and/or construction of wills, procedural matters in obtaining grants, duties of personal representatives, beneficiaries’ rights and entitlement, etc. He has also acted and advised on matters involving mentally incapacitated persons and issues involving mental capacity in different contexts such as contentious probate, Mental Health Ordinance (Cap. 136) proceedings, and Enduring Power of Attorney Ordinance (Cap. 501) proceedings.

In recent years, Johnny also has developed a strong focus on judicial review matters and appeared in a number of cases involving constitutional rights and legal issues with great general or public importance. These include cases touching on equality and discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation (e.g. the right to same-sex marriage or civil partnership in MK, the right of same-sex couples married overseas to elect joint tax assessment in Leung Chun Kwong), and the right to freedom of expression, assembly and/or demonstration (e.g. the right to hold public meetings in the Forecourt of CGO East Wing). He has also acted and appeared (for applicants as well as respondents) in judicial review applications regarding disciplinary proceedings and sanctions.

Memberships & Appointments

  • Chairman, Appeal Tribunal Panel, Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123) (December 2018-November 2021)
  • Temporary Deputy Registrar, High Court (February 2018)
  • Deputy District Judge, District Court (February 2017)

Selected Cases

Constitutional and Administrative Law

(i) Equality and Discrimination

HCAL 1077/2018 [pending judgment]


Discrimination – sexual orientation – applicant claiming right to same-sex marriage or civil partnership under HK laws

FACV 8/2018; CACV 126/2017; HCAL 258/2015

Leung Chun Kwong v Secretary for the Civil Service & Anr

Discrimination – sexual orientation – same-sex couple married overseas claiming (i) spousal benefits for married civil servants and (ii) entitlement to elect joint tax assessment under Inland Revenue Ordinance

HCAL 60/2015

Cheung Tak Wing v Communication Authority & Anr

Whether advertisements were announcements in the public interest – whether Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap.562) s.23(3) discriminatory and unconstitutional

HCAL 93/2015

Navarro Luigi Recassa v Commissioner of Correctional Services & Anr

Human rights of a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual prisoner

(ii) Freedom of Assembly, Demonstration and/or Expression

CACV 577/2018; HCAL 136/2014 [pending CA judgment]

Cheung Tak Wing v Director of Administration

Freedom of assembly and demonstration – applicant challenging constitutionality of Permission Scheme which prohibits public meetings at the Forecourt of the Central Government Office East Wing on weekdays

CACV 489-490/2018; CACV 219-220/2014; HCAL 73 & 110/2013 [ongoing appeal to CA]

Chui Fee Ming & Anr v Food and Environmental Hygiene Department & Anr

Freedom of expression – freedom of demonstration – ss.104A and 104C, Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance – Falun Gong practitioners challenging constitutionality of s.104A which requires prior approval for displaying bills and posters on Government land

(iii) Disciplinary and Fair Hearing

HCAL 89/2015

Li Chi Sum v Director of Fire Services

Civil servant – Fire Services Department – disciplinary proceedings

CACV 264/2015; HCAL 134/2013

Chan Kam Choi v Commissioner of Correctional Services & Anr

Civil servant – Correctional Services Department – disciplinary proceedings

FACV 8/2012; CACV 192/2010; HCAL 5/2010

HLB Hodgson Impey Cheng & Ors v The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Accountants – Professional Accountants Ordinance – independence and impartiality of investigation committee

Land Law

LDMR 1/2012 & LDMR 2/2017

Glory United Development Ltd v Director of Lands

Land Compensation – Foreshore and Seabed (Reclamation) Ordinance – right to compensation a legal chose in action assignable at law

FACV 1-9/2017; CACV 13-16, 115-116, 119-120/2015; LDMR 23/1999 & LDMR 1/2005

Penny’s Bay Investment Co Ltd v Director of Lands

Land Compensation – Foreshore and Seabed (Reclamation) Ordinance – measure of compensation

HCA 2055/2011

Chan Chuen v Forestside Ltd

Adverse Possession – rural land

Probate and Administration

FACV 3/2015

Re Estate of Tan Kiam Toen

Construction of Will – Chinese will – Wills Ordinance (Cap.30) s.23B

CACV 44/2013; HCMP 853/2012

Secretary for Justice v Chinachem Charitable Foundation Limited

Construction of Will – charity – trust

FAMV 20/2011; CACV 62/2010; HCAP 8/2007

Chinachem Charitable Foundation Limited v Chan Chun Chuen & Anr

Probate – validity of will – forgery – knowledge and approval – testamentary intent – testamentary capacity