In 2018, Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission engaged leading law firm Allen & Overy to identify and analyse areas of Hong Kong legislation and policy in which an individual’s relationship status impacted their legal rights and obligations.
In July 2019, Allen & Overy released the 73-page The Recognition and Treatment of Relationships under Hong Kong Law report. The report listed every area where Hong Kong law referenced a person’s relationship status. Analysing these references, Allen & Overy identified many areas where cohabiting and same-sex couples faced unequal legal treatment.
For example, in Hong Kong:
- opposite-sex spouses can apply for public rental housing as an “ordinary family” while those in an alternative relationship cannot
- opposite-sex spouses can access reproductive technology while couples in alternative relationships cannot
- opposite-sex spouses are entitled to succeed to the other’s estate if one of them dies without a will, while couples in alternative relationships cannot.
The report also highlighted areas where this differential treatment hamstrung the government’s capacity to enforce certain laws and policies.
Allen & Overy’s international team of lawyers, supported by a range of external experts, completed the project on a pro bono basis.
To help ensure this important report reached a wide audience, Editor Group assisted Allen & Overy in producing a 12-page, plain English executive summary of the full report. We also helped prepare an article capturing the report’s findings for a respected legal journal, Hong Kong Lawyer.
“The Editor Group team played a key role in helping us to create accessible communications material quickly, to support the release of this important research.”
“We were especially pleased by their ability to distil complex legal points without losing meaning, and to deliver copy that was written in an appropriate style based on a good understanding of our requirements.”