For discussion EC(96-97)2
on 10 April 1996


Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Lands Department with effect from 13 May 1996-

1 Assistant Principal Solicitor
(DL1) ($80,450 - $85,400)


The Director of Lands (D of L) requires the continued support high level legal and conveyancing services on in respect of land matters in respect of the new airport, port and related infrastructural projectse.


2. D of L proposes to create a permanent post of Assistant Principal Solicitor (APS)(DL1) to provide adequate legal support at directorate level for Port and Airport Development Strategy (PADS) projects.


3. The PADS Section of the Legal Advisory & Conveyancing Office (LACO) of the Lands Department (the Department) has on establishment one Deputy Principal Solicitor (DPS) (DL2), (DL2) one APS and two Senior Solicitors (MPS 45 - 49). While the DPS post is permanent post subject to review in 1995-96, Tthe APS is a supernumerary post due to lapse on 12 May 1996. The existing organisation of the PADS Section is at Enclosure 1.

4. Since its establishment in 1991, the PADS Section has provided services to the Department and advice to the policy branches on land-related matters arising from the expansion of port facilities, the development of the new airport at Chek Lap Kok and the associated infrastructure. Over the past years, the PADS Section has contributed to the completion of over 100 licences relating to the development of the Airport Railway, the conclusion of the majority of the complicated reprovisioning exercises arising from the Central and West Kowloon Reclamation, implementation of the construction of the Western Harbour Crossing, and the grant of the new airport, the river trade terminal and several Airport Railway developments in Tung Chung and Tai Kok Tsui. In particular, the DPS and the APS have been separately involved in drafting of the conditions for Container Terminal 9 and the Airport Railway Station Grants.

5. In the years to come, we expect continuous development of a number of major infrastructural PADS and related projects which will require extensive legal input at both the DPS and APS levels as outlined in paragraphs 6 to 13 below. -

Review of tThe DPS post

6. The Director of L has reviewed the need for legal and conveyancing services for the above projects and the capability of the PADS Section in providing the necessary legal input. He has concluded that is the minimum required to maintain a reasonable output in discharging the known commitements, that it has been functioning effectivelythas been functioning effectivelyareisit is essential to maintain the current structure of the PADS Section in order to cope with the increasing complexity and volume of - - legal work on land-related matters as described in paragraphs 7 - 12 below.

7. With regard to the container terminals, the DPS is reviewing the draft conditions of Container Terminal 9, taking into account the developments and other related issues which have taken place since the preparation of the original draft in April 1992. We expect substantial amendments to the present draft and lease modifications for all the existing container terminals. The DPS will also prepare for the land grants of future container terminals as well as river trade terminal and marine services site, and related mid-stream site developments, some of which are planned to commence construction in 2000.

8. With regard to the preparation of a running line lease for the Airport Railway, the DPS is required to balance the interests of the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) those of the future operator of the Tsing Ma Bridge while preserving the Government's interests. The DPS has already started protracted negotiation and intensive legal consultation with relevant parties to solve problems arising from the overlap of part of the Airport Railway with certain highways, the Mass Transit Railway Tsuen Wan Extension and the Lantau Fixed Crossing. The involvement of the DPS will continue into the next decade because the running line lease will not be issued until the late 1990’s after the railway boundaries have been accurately defined.

9. With regard to the Quarry Bay and Tseung Kwan O Extensions, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (the MTRC) has put forward concrete proposals. After the proposals are approved, the DPS will be required to oversee the provision of a full range of high-level, complex legal services. He will also be responsible for the imminent negotiation with the MTRC on specific terms of land disposal of five major grants and modification of the existing running line lease, and the re-provisioning of shipyards in Yau Tong Bay and resumption of stratum land.

10. D of L has carried out a review on the responsibilities of the DPS and in view of the importance of the on-going work outlined in the above paragraphs, considers that there is a clear need to retain the existing permanent post of DPS.

The APS post

11. With regard to the Airport Railway developments, the APS, is required to develop innovative conveyancing methods to suit the unique payment arrangements for land premium and development proposals of the Hong Kong and Kowloon Airport Railway Stations. As the drafting work is complicated, involved both in the negotiation process and drafting of specific terms for the land grants. Furthermore, is required to provide legal services in other related developments along the Airport Railway. We expect that the demand for legal services will continue after the grant of all Airport Railway developments by 1998 in the form of lease modifications and land administration.

12. With regard to the administration of the Land Authority Consent Scheme, we would require continual legal input before 2010. In approving various Deeds of Mutual Covenant and Management Agreement proposed by developers and in giving consent to pre-sell uncompleted properties to be constructed in the Airport Railway developments (over 14 000 residential units), the APS to ensure that the interests of both the Government and purchasers are protected.

13. In addition to the above major infrastructural projects, there are other projects requiring the legal input of the PADS Section. A list of the known commitments with workload of the PADS Section projected to the next decade is at Enclosure 2.

14. D of LThe Director has reviewed the workload of the PADS Section. He concludes that the current directorate structure of the PADS Section is the minimum required to maintain a reasonable output in discharging the known commitments, that it has been functioning effectively and that there is sufficient workload in the foreseeable future to justify the need of both the DPS and the APS posts. He will review the continued need for the two posts in early 2003 or earlier. The duties and responsibilities of the posts of DPS and the APS are at Enclosures 3 and 4 respectively.


15. The additional notional annual mid-point salary cost of the proposal for a permanent APS post at MID-POINT is $994,200. We have included sufficient provision in the 1996-97 draft Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.

16. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $1,904,772. There are no other additional financial and staffing implications.


17 The PADS Section was first established in April 1991 in the Land Office of the then Registrar General’s Department (RGD). This Unit became a functional section of Lands Department upon the transfer of legal advisory and conveyancing functions from RGD to the then Buildings and Lands Department, and subsequently to the Lands Department.

18. On 8 November 1991, Finance Committee approved the creation of a permanent post of DPS in the then RGD to provide appropriate legal advice on land matters arising from the PADS. We undertook to review the continual need of the post in 1995-96 having regard to the progress of PADS projects. On 13 May 1994, Finance Committee approved the creation of a supernumerary post of APS for two years in the PADS Section to provide the DPS with additional legal support at the directorate level.


19. The Civil Service Branch supports the ranking and grading of this proposed post as it carries responsibilities and professional input appropriate for the DL1 level. We agree that 2003 or earlier is an appropriate time to review the position, since a number of matters are scheduled to come to a close then.


20. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the permanent post would be appropriate if the post were to be created.

Planning, Environment and Lands Branch
March 1996

Enclosure 3 to EC(96-97)2

Job Description for Deputy Principal Solicitor (Port and Airport Development Strategy)

Rank : Deputy Principal Solicitor (DL2)

Main duties and responsibilities

Responsible to the Principal Solicitor of the Legal Advisory and Conveyancing Office for -

  1. Administering and supervising the Port and Airport Development Strategy (PADS) Section.
  2. Providing legal advice to the Lands Administration Office of the Lands Department, policy branches and other Government departments on land matters in connection with PADS projects, particularly those related to the new airport.
  3. Drafting documents for all PADS-related land acquisitions and disposals, particularly those related to container terminals and port facilities.
  4. Carrying out preliminary negotiation with the senior management of the Mass Transit Railway Corporation and large-scale private housing developers on terms of land disposals regarding the Quarry Bay and Tseung Kwan O Extensions.
  5. Providing legal advice on ExCo papers, petitions to the Governor, or audit queries on land related matters of PADS projects.
  6. Handling complicated cases under the Land Authority Consent Scheme related to PADS developments.
  7. Approving Government leases related to PADS projects, in particular the running line lease for the Airport Railway.
  8. Attending ad- hoc working groups with senior officers and professionals of Government and private developers on PADS-related projects.

Enclosure 4 to EC(96-97)2

Proposed Job Description for Assistant Principal Solicitor (Port and Airport Development Strategy) (PADS)

Rank : Assistant Principal Solicitor (DL1)

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Responsible to the Deputy Principal Solicitor/PADS Section for -

  1. Giving legal advice to the Lands Administration Office of the Lands Department, policy branches and other Government departments on policy, procedural and administrative issues on land matters related to PADS projects.
  2. Drafting and settling legal documents relating to land disposals and property developments relating to the Airport Railway developments.
  3. Giving consent under the Land Authority Consent Scheme for the sale of uncompleted units and approving Deeds of Mutual Covenant and Management Agreement related to the commercial/residential developments along the Airport Railway.
  4. Negotiating with the senior management of the Mass Transit Railway Corporation and large-scale private housing developers, etc. to balance the interests of various parties including those of the Government and the public before drawing up drafts of legal and conveyancing documents for PADS related infrastructure/projects.
  5. Supervising and providing guidance to the Senior Solicitors of the PADS Section.
  6. Deputising for the Deputy Principal Solicitor as and when necessary.
  7. Attending regular and ad hoc meetings of PADS-related committees and working groups. including -
    Last Updated on 3 December 1998