Courts at different levels of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) heard a total of 18,561 cases during the past judicial year, 1,439 cases fewer than in the previous judicial year, the Court of Final Appeal said on Wednesday.
This was the first time in the last seven years for the figure of heard cases to drop below 20,000, said Sam Hou Fai, president of the Court of Final Appeal, at a ceremony marking the opening of the new judicial year.
Altogether 12,452 criminal cases were filed during the past judicial year, about 2.83 percent more than in the previous judicial year, with 3,471 cases prosecuted, said Public Prosecutor-General Ip Son Sang at the ceremony.
Stressing that each judge must uphold and implement the Basic Law of the Macao SAR and pledge allegiance to the Macao SAR, Sam said efforts should be made to speed up consultations on inter-regional civil and criminal judicial assistance arrangements between Macao and Hengqin, which is home to the Guangdong-Macao in-depth cooperation zone.
Innovations should be made on the new mechanism of judicial cooperation between Macao and its neighboring province of Guangdong in the Chinese mainland to provide efficient and convenient judicial services and guarantee for the construction of the cooperation zone, Sam said.
Ho Iat Seng, chief executive of the Macao SAR, said in his speech that the rule of law is one of the core values of the Macao society and that upholding the rule of law must, first and foremost, firmly uphold the dignity and authority of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Macao SAR Basic Law.
Ho also said the SAR government would, just as it always has, firmly defend judicial independence and safeguard judicial justice, actively cooperate with judicial organs and unite people from the judicial, legal and other circles of life to jointly promote the development of rule of law in the Macao SAR.