For discussion EC(96-97)47
on 27 November 1996
ITEM FOR ESTABLISHMENT SUBCOMMITTEE
OF FINANCE COMMITTEE
HEAD 92 - LEGAL DEPARTMENT
Subhead 001 Salaries
Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the retention of the following supernumerary post for the period from 1 April 1997 to 30 September 1997 in the Law Drafting Division of the Legal Department -
1 Deputy Principal Crown Counsel
(DPCC) (DL2) ($102,900 - $109,250)
The existing supernumerary post of Deputy Principal Crown Counsel (DPCC) (DL2) for the localisation and adaptation of laws in the Law Drafting Division of the Legal Department (the Department) will lapse on 1 April 1997. The work involved in and related to both programmes will however continue beyond that date.
2. The Attorney General proposes to retain the existing supernumerary DPCC post for the localisation and adaptation of laws for a period of six months, from 1 April 1997 to 30 September 1997, in order to provide continued directorate support for the Law Draftsman specifically to deal with the localisation of United Kingdom (UK) legislation now applicable to Hong Kong and the adaptation of Hong Kong laws to conform to the Basic Law.
3. In order to maintain the continuity of Hong Kong's legal system after 1 July 1997, it is necessary to enact 33 Ordinances to localise provisions of UK enactments which apply to Hong Kong. They include legislation relating to civil aviation, merchant shipping, intellectual property, extradition and aviation security as well as legislation to implement a wide range of international agreements affecting Hong Kong. As regards the adaptation of laws, the exercise involves amending nearly 630 existing Ordinances, together with over 1 000 items of subsidiary legislation, to ensure that they will conform to the Basic Law on and after 1 July 1997.
4. To cope with the workload, the Department set up a temporary unit called the Localisation and Adaptation of Laws Unit (LALU) in the Law Drafting Division in 1986 to handle the localisation and adaptation of laws. The Unit comprises one Senior Assistant Law Draftsman (DPCC), five Senior Crown Counsel and two Personal Secretaries. The organisation chart of the Law Drafting Division is at Enclosure 1. The main duties and responsibilities of the existing supernumerary post are at Enclosure 2.
5. A detailed description of the work undertaken by the Unit is at Enclosure 3. So far, we have enacted 17 localising Ordinances. We introduced two localising Bills into Legislative Council (LegCo) in July 1996 and October 1996, and will introduce three more in November 1996. In respect of the remaining 11 localising Bills, we need to seek agreement with the Chinese side on the relevant outstanding consultation papers, complete the drafting work of and enact the Bills.
6. On the adaptation of laws, we have handed over to the Chinese side about 120 consultation papers setting out the detailed adaptation proposals for about 430 Ordinances. We need to prepare papers on the remaining 200 Ordinances for consultation with the Chinese side. We also need to prepare adaptation proposals and consultation papers on new substantive Ordinances and on the authentic Chinese texts of Ordinances which have been included in previous consultation papers but were then available in English only.
7. Work relating to and arising out of the adaptation of laws exercise will continue after 30 June 1997. We need to convert the adaptation proposals in the consultation papers into drafting instructions for textual amendments of all the existing laws.
8. It is important to maintain continuity in completing the localisation and adaptation of laws programme. The work will continue to require the full time attention of a directorate legal officer; the other existing directorate officers within the Law Drafting Division are unable to share the work. It is clear from paragraphs 5 and 6 above that we need to retain the supernumerary DPCC post until 30 June 1997 and it is also essential to retain the post for a further three months, up to the end of September 1997, for the work referred to in paragraph 7 above and any other work which may be outstanding from the localisation and adaptation of laws programmes. The Attorney General will review the continued need of the post near July 1997 and delete the post as soon as it is no longer necessary.
9. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at mid-point is $1,273,200.
10. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-cost, is $2,309,016.
11. In addition, this proposal will necessitate the retention of five non-directorate posts in the Unit (i.e. four Senior Crown Counsel and one Personal Secretary II posts) at a notional annual mid-point salary cost of $3,637,860 and a full annual average staff cost of $6,818,580. Should Members approve this proposal, we shall retain these non-directorate posts until 30 September 1997.
12. Subject to Members agreement, we shall include sufficient provision in the draft Estimates for 1997-98 to meet the cost of this proposal.
13. On 23 April 1986, Members supported the creation of a supernumerary post of DPCC in the Law Drafting Division for a period of three years to assist in the task of localising the UK enactments applicable to Hong Kong (EC(1986-87) Item 4). Members subsequently supported the retention of this supernumerary post on three occasions (EC(1989-90) Item 8, EC(1992-93) Item 2 and EC(94-95) Item 58) up to 31 March 1997. On the last occasion, Members noted that we would review the continued need for the post towards the end of the period. The Legal Department has reviewed the progress of the localisation and adaptation of laws and considers that there is a continued need for the post.
CIVIL SERVICE BRANCH COMMENTS
14. Having regard to the progress of the localisation and adaptation of laws, the Civil Service Branch considers that there is an operational need to retain the supernumerary post. The grading and ranking of the post are appropriate.
ADVICE OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON DIRECTORATE SALARIES AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE
15. We propose to retain the DPCC post on a supernumerary basis. If Members support and the Finance Committee approves the proposal, we will report the retention to the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service in accordance with the agreed procedure.
Enclosure 2 to EC(96-97)47
Deputy Principal Crown Counsel (DL2) (Supernumerary)
Main duties and responsibilities
- to advise on the drafting of local legislation to replace United Kingdom legislation currently applicable to Hong Kong;
- to advise on the drafting of legislation to amend Hong Kong Ordinances so that they will conform to the Basic Law;
- to supervise Crown Counsel and Senior Crown Counsel on drafting and advisory projects relating to the localisation of United Kingdom legislation and adaptation of laws; and
- to undertake such other duties as may be assigned by the Law Draftsman.
Enclosure 3 to EC(96-97)47
List of Work Undertaken by Localisation and Adaptation of Laws Unit (LALU) since 1986
Since the establishment of LALU, we have -
I. Localisation of Laws
- prepared proposals and consultation papers on localisation of UK enactments -
- we have drawn up a list of 300 UK enactments applied to Hong Kong in consultation with the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) and policy branches;
- we have identified 153 UK enactments not requiring localisation and have submitted them for discussion within HK Government;
- we have prepared and handed consultation papers to the Chinese side of the Joint Liasion Group (JLG), containing proposals on the localisation of 147 UK enactments.
- drafted mock-up bills to illustrate the effect of localising Ordinances;
- provided input in the consultation process with the Chinese side; and
- provided advice in the drafting process of the localisation bill.
II. Adaptation of Laws
- provided advice on adaptation of laws -
- we have scrutinised the existing 630 Ordinances comprising the HK statute book in consultation with policy branches for provisions which need adapting to the Basic Law.
- prepared consultation papers containing proposals on adaptation of laws -
- we have drafted and handed over 120 consultation papers, containing proposals on over 430 Ordinances, in both English and Chinese, to the Chinese side of the JLG; and
- we are circulating/preparing about 80 consultation papers on over 200 Ordinances for consultation with the Chinese side.
- conducted seminars in Legal Department on localisation and adaptation of laws; and
- taken up general drafting work, as and when required, in both English and Chinese.
Last Updated on 12 August 1999