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

Same-sex couples are eligible for spousal visa.

Q , R and Henry Edward Tse v Commissioner of Registration

The court sides with the government and says that transgender people have to undergo a complete sex change in order for the new gender to be recognized on their ID cards.

*The appeal hearing will take place on 13-14 Sept 2021.

Yeung Chu Wing v Secretary for Justice

The court strikes down the remaining discriminatory criminal offences on Hong Kong’s statute books that relate 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 rules against same-sex civil partnership and same-sex marriage.

*The case is being appealed.

Nick Infinger v The Hong Kong Housing Authority

The Court of First Instance rules that the Housing Authority’s differential treatment under the Spousal Policy in the case is discriminatory. Married same-sex couples are eligible to apply for public rental housing as ordinary families. The Housing Authority is appealing the decision, and the appeal will be heard on 16-17 February 2022.

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

A Uganda national raises 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 facts-finding determination of whether gays or lesbians have well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries.

*Leave to apply for judicial review granted.

Ng Hon Lam Edgar v Secretary for Justice

The Court of First Instance rules that the exclusion of spouses to same-sex marriages from legal entitlements and benefits under intestacy and inheritance laws is discriminatory.

The government has decided to file an appeal.

Sham Tsz Kit v Secretary for Justice

The court rules against the applicant and states that Mr. Sham’s attempt to achieve complete recognition of foreign same-sex marriages is “too ambitious.”

Ng Hon Lam Edgar v The Hong Kong Housing Authority

The court holds that the spousal policy in the Home Ownership Scheme is discriminatory and unconstitutional. The government is appealing the decision, and the appeal will be heard on 16-17 February 2022.


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