The Honourable Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma (LLB Law, 1977) of the Court of Final Appeal tells Old JoE Hong Kong what he most values about being part of the University’s alumni community and his memories of celebrating Chinese New Year in Birmingham.

What do you remember most about your time at Birmingham?


It has been over 40 years since I started my studies at the University of Birmingham. The lingering memory is the beauty of the University; it must be one of the most beautiful university campuses in the world. It is such a scenic city with so much to explore.

One of our students recently published an article on how he celebrates Chinese New Year away from home. What are your memories of celebrating New Year in Birmingham?

Funnily enough, apart from raiding the Chinese restaurants in the city and eating to excess, I don’t recall much else! Perhaps that is the sum total of what one does during that time.

As an engaged alumnus of the University, what gives you the greatest sense of pleasure and what do you believe is the most valuable, both for the University and alumni in Hong Kong?

In recent years, I have been honoured to have been part of the University’s work in reconnecting with its alumni in Hong Kong. The University is not only relevant to the people who happen to be studying there at any given time, it continues to take an interest in all of its students -past, present and future - with a particular interest in the contribution to the community made by alumni. I have always felt a deep sense of belonging to the University of Birmingham and am glad that more alumni now feel the same.

As part of your sustained relationship with the University, you have also supported current students. What has your involvement been and what have you enjoyed about this?

Last summer, I attended an event organised by the Birmingham Pass Society at the Hong Kong Bankers Club to give a talk on Judicial Independence. It was really well attended by students, alumni, and distinguished guests such as the former Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association. Shortly afterwards, nearly 25 students came to the Court of Final Appeal for a tour of our Court followed by dinner. The students were all serious about their University lives and their future careers, as well as their role within the community. I was impressed with their commitment in assisting current and future students through initiatives such as the mentoring programme.

Read a more in-depth profile of Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma.

If you have suggestions of other alumni in Hong Kong that you would like us to interview in the next edition of Old JoE Hong Kong, please email