中大對司法覆核判決的聲明

(網頁編者按)香港高等法院在2月9日對中大授課語言的司法覆核作出仲裁後,中大校方隨即發出聲明,特將聲明的中、英文版全文轉載如下,以供參考。

司法覆核官司 高等法院判中大勝訴

今天高等法院駁回就香港中文大學(中大)一貫的雙語政策提出之司法覆核申請,中大對此裁決感到欣慰。高等法院認為,《中文大學條例》(《條例》) 《弁言》中有關中大主要授課語言之部分,其原意或性質並非「強制性,而是旨在提供條件、賦予權力,並且允許自行斟酌」,此外,「教務會獲授權掌管和決定授課語言,校董會可因應需要修訂之,但除此之外,並不受任何法例限制其主要授課語言必須是或始終是中文」。
判決指出,把《條例》及規程詮釋成加諸大學任何強制性法律責任,「將相當明顯地侵犯大學及其成員的自主和學術自由,因而違反……《基本法》」,大學樂見法院肯定其自主和學術自由。法院也認為「授課語言是院校自主和學術自由的核心」,並「難以想像其他機構或團體,[比教務會] 更適合獲授權掌管授課語言及其他事項」。
正如中大一直所堅持,法院裁定中大教務會在2007年10月通過接納《雙語政策委員會報告書》及成立優化雙語教育委員會兩項決定是有效的。司法覆核申請人要求推翻該兩項決定,被法院駁回。
中大素來致力貫徹其長期奉行的雙語政策。現獲司法機構確認的教務會權力,令各學系可根據教學目標,視乎科目性質,自行為每一科目和每一教學活動選擇最合適之語言。這項政策是以學生的福祉為優先考慮,並且如高等法院所說,「對大學國際化政策的努力……以及它贏取國際聲譽和地位,影響重大。」
中文大學樂見法院能釐清《條例》的正確詮釋,即《弁言》並無法律約束力,並當繼續秉持其雙語理念,為學生提供一個真正的雙語學習環境。
2009年2月9日
註:法院判詞為英文,上文引述判詞部分為中文譯文。

9 February 2009

High Court rules in CUHK’s favour on Judicial Review

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is pleased that the High Court has today ruled in the University’s favour and dismissed an application for judicial review of its long-standing policy of bilingualism. The Court concludes that the relevant part of the Preamble to The Chinese University of Hong Kong Ordinance about the principal language of instruction “is not mandatory but enabling, empowering or permissive in meaning or nature” and that “the power given to the Senate, subject to review by the Council, to control and direct the language of instruction, is not restricted by any legal requirement that Chinese must be or remain the principal language of instruction.”The judgment states that to construe the Ordinance and the Statutes as imposing any mandatory legal obligation “would, quite plainly, trespass on the autonomy and academic freedom of the University and its members, and thus be inconsistent with … the Basic Law.” CUHK welcomes the Court’s affirmation of the University’s autonomy and academic freedom and what they entail. The Court also holds that “the language of instruction lies at the core of institutional autonomy and academic freedom” and that “it is difficult to think of another body or group of persons [other than the Senate] who would be more suitable to be given the power and control over, among other things, the language of instruction.” The two decisions of the CUHK Senate in October 2007 in relation to the Report of the Committee on Bilingualism and the consequent establishment of the Senate Committee on Language Enhancement, which the applicant sought to overturn, are therefore valid — as the University has always contended.The University is committed to upholding its long-standing policy of bilingualism. Under Senate’s powers which have now received judicial confirmation, departments are encouraged to adopt for each course and for each teaching activity the most appropriate language based on educational grounds, and having regard to the nature of the subject concerned. This policy places benefits to students as the prime consideration and, as the Court also noted, “has an important bearing on the efforts of the University in terms of its internationalization policy … and its gaining of international standing and status.”

The University is encouraged by the Court’s clarification of the proper interpretation of the Ordinance, that the Preamble is not binding. The University will continue to pursue its bilingual aspiration and maintain a truly bilingual learning environment.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blue Captcha Image
Refresh

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>