In 2020 China introduced a national security law that curtailed freedom of speech and made it easier to punish protesters in Hong Kong.
UK Supreme Court President Lord Robert Reed said he and Lord Patrick Hodge were resigning from the court over the threat to civil freedoms posed by the new law. "The judges of the Supreme Court cannot continue to sit in Hong Kong without appearing to endorse an administration which has departed from values of political freedom, and freedom of expression," Lord Reed said. The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal hears many of the territory's highest profile cases, often ruling on key questions over civil and political liberties. Senior British judges have sat on the court since 1997 as part of an agreement when Hong Kong was handed over to China by the UK.