The legal system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative
Region (HKSAR) is based on the rule of law and the independence
of the Judiciary. Under the principle of 'one country, two systems',
the HKSAR's legal system differs from that of the Mainland, and
is based on the common law.
The constitutional framework for the legal system
is provided at the international level by the Sino-British Joint
Declaration, which was signed in December 1984. It is provided at
the domestic level by the Basic Law — a law enacted by the
National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China
(PRC) under Article 31 of the Chinese Constitution. Both the Joint
Declaration and the Basic Law guarantee the continuance of the legal
system that was in place before China resumed the exercise of sovereignty
over Hong Kong on July 1, 1997.