Key Court Cases

W v W

A parent’s sexual orientation is not an automatically disqualifying factor in cases involving child custody.

Leung TC William Roy v Secretary for Justice

Articles 1 and 22 of the Bill of Rights Ordinance are interpreted to include sexual orientation.

The age of consent for both gay and straight is equalized at 16 years old.

Secretary for Justice v Yau Yuk Lung Zigo and Another

The right to equality doesn’t mean all differences in treatment would be discriminatory but differential treatment can only be justified if it meets three legal tests.

Differential treatment based on grounds like race, sex and sexual orientation would attract intense scrutiny.

Cho Man Kit v Broadcasting Authority

Discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation is unconstitutional.

W v Registrar of Marriages

Post-operative transgender people have the right to marry under their affirmed gender identity.

Luigi Recasa Navarro v Commissioner of Correctional Services

Pre-operative transgender inmates cannot serve their time in a prison that aligns with their affirmed gender identity.

Transgender inmates should have access to hormonal treatment while in custody.

QT v Director of Immigration

The Court of Final Appeal held that that the Immigration Department’s differential treatment of same-sex and opposite-sex couples in its dependent visa policy constituted an unlawful discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Also, the court established the principle that differential treatment in policy policy due to sexual orientation will attract intense scrutiny, and absent a compelling justification, will be deemed unconstitutional.

Yeung Chu Wing v Secretary for Justice

The court struck down the remaining discriminatory criminal offences on Hong Kong’s statute books that related only to gay men.

Leung Chun Kwong v the Secretary for the Civil Service and others

Same-sex couples legally married are eligible for joint income tax assessment.

Spouses of gay civil servants are entitled to receive spousal benefits.

MK v Government of HKSAR

The court ruled against same-sex civil partnership and same-sex marriage.

Atoo Zubeda v The Department of Immigration and Torture Claims Appeal Board

A Uganda national raised a non-refoulment claim of protection on the basis that if she returns to Uganda, she will be harmed or killed for being a lesbian. Her application is denied.

The Director of Immigration and the Torture Claims Appeal Board have to follow a new guidance in their fact-finding determination of whether gays or lesbians have well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries.

*Leave to apply for judicial review granted.


The court ruled that the non-biological mother of children born by her prior same-sex partner should be granted guardianship rights over their children.

Q and Henry Edward Tse v Commissioner of Registration

The Court of Final Appeal held in favour of the applicants in their bid to change their gender on their Hong Kong Identity Cards without undergoing full gender affirmation surgery.

Nick Infinger v The Hong Kong Housing Authority

The Court of Appeal dismissed the Housing Authority’s appeal and affirmed the lower court's original decision which held that the differential treatment under the Spousal Policy is discriminatory. Married same-sex couples are eligible to apply for public rental housing as ordinary families.

Ng Hon Lam Edgar v The Hong Kong Housing Authority

The Court of Appeal dismissed the Housing Authority's appeal and affirmed the Court of First Instance decision, which held that the differential treatment in the spousal policy under the Home Ownership Scheme constituted an unlawful discrimination and thus unconstitutional.

Ng Hon Lam Edgar v Secretary for Justice

The Court of Appeal dismissed the government's appeal and held that the exclusion of spouses to same-sex marriages from legal entitlements and benefits under intestacy and inheritance laws is discriminatory.

Sham Tsz Kit v Secretary for Justice

The Court of Final Appeal in a 3-2 majority, held that the government has a positive obligation to provide an alternative framework to recognize same-sex partnerships. On the other hand, the court unanimously held that there isn't a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

NF v R

The Court of First Instance ruled that a lesbian who provided an egg but did not carry the baby through reciprocal IVF is to be known as "parent at common law". In essence, the court awarded equal parental status to the lesbian couple.