The Court of Final Appeal hears appeals in civil and criminal matters from the High Court (the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance).

Civil Matters

In civil matters, permission to appeal (which is referred to as “leave to appeal”) is required1.

The grant of leave to appeal is a matter of discretion and may be exercised if, in the opinion of either court, the question involved in the appeal is one which, because of its great general or public importance, or otherwise, ought to be submitted to the Court of Final Appeal.

Most civil appeals to the Court are from the Court of Appeal, although exceptionally an appeal may lie directly to the Court from the Court of First Instance if certain conditions are fulfilled.

Criminal Matters

In criminal matters, appeals are heard at the discretion of the Court of Final Appeal from final decisions of the Court of Appeal, and also from final decisions of the Court of First Instance from which no appeal lies to the Court of Appeal.

The Court will only consider exercising its discretion to grant leave if

1Prior to the commencement of the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance 2014 on 24 December 2014, there was a residual class of cases in which an appeal lay as of right (where the matter in dispute amounted to or was worth HK$1 million or more).