LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 842/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5

Minutes of 12th meeting

held on Friday, 3 January 1997 at 2:30 p.m. in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members present :
    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, OBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon LO Suk-ching
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
Members absent :
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling
Clerk in attendance :
    Mrs Justina LAM
    Assistant Secretary General 2
Staff in attendance :
    Mr Ricky C C FUNG
    Secretary General
    Mr Jimmy MA
    Legal Adviser
    Mr LAW Kam-sang
    Deputy Secretary General
    Mr LEE Yu-sang
    Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
    Miss Pauline NG
    Assistant Secretary General 1
    Mr Ray CHAN
    Assistant Secretary General 3
    Miss Connie FUNG
    Assistant Legal Adviser 3
    Mr Stephen LAM
    Assistant Legal Adviser 4
    Mr Arthur CHEUNG
    Assistant Legal Adviser 5
    Ms LEUNG Siu-kam
    Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
    Ms Kathleen LAU
    Chief Public Information Officer
    Mrs Betty LEUNG
    Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 3
    Mrs Eleanor CHOW
    Senior Assistant Secretary (House Committee)

I Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 20 December 1996

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 790/96-97)

The minutes were confirmed.

II Matters arising

Report on Chairman's meeting with the Acting Chief Secretary

  1. Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill

2. Regarding Miss Margaret NG's concern about the progress of the above Bill raised at the House Committee meeting on 6 December 1996, the Chairman said that the Administration had consulted the legal profession and was now consolidating its views.

  1. Style change - using a schedule for definitions

3. The Chairman said that he had conveyed to the Acting Chief Secretary members' view that consistency in style was very important, particularly to readers of a bill who did not have a legal background.

III Legal Service Division report on the subsidiary legislation to be tabled in the Legislative Council on 8 January 1997 (gazetted on 20 and 27 December 1996)

(LegCo Papers Nos. LS 74 and LS 75/96-97)

LegCo Paper No. LS 74/96-97

4. The Chairman said that only one item i.e. Tramway Ordinance (Alteration of Fares) (Amendment) (No 2) Notice 1996 involved fare increase. The increase had been consented to and ordered to take effect on 12 January 1997 by the Governor in Council.

5. The Chairman drew members' attention to the Travel Industry Compensation Fund (Amount of Ex Gratia Payments and Financial Penalty) (Amendment) (No 2) Rules 1996 which increased the maximum rate of ex gratia payment from 80% to 90% of the outbound fares paid upon default of travel agents with effect from 20 December 1996. He added that the Travel Agents (Travel

Industry Compensation Fund (Amount of Ex Gratia Payments and Financial Penalty) Rules) (Amendment) Bill 1996 introduced by Mr Fred LI, and on which a Bills Committee had been formed, sought to make ex-gratia payment equal to the full amount of outbound fare.

6. In response to the Chairman, the Legal Adviser said that under section 34 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1), LegCo could amend the Rules within the statutory time limit. Mr Fred LI suggested a subcommittee be formed to scrutinize the Rules so that his proposed rate of 100% could be considered right away without having to wait for the Bills Committee to activate. He suggested that the Travel Industry Compensation Fund Management Board and the Consumer Council should be invited to give views on the matter.

7. Mr Howard YOUNG said that he would not object to the setting up of a subcommittee provided that it should complete the study before the Chinese New Year i.e. by 29 January 1997, and not the extended deadline of 19 February 1997. Mr LI agreed. Members supported that a subcommittee be formed. The following members agreed to join : Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung (as advised by Mr Howard YOUNG), Mr Fred LI Wah-ming and Mr Howard YOUNG.

8. Members raised no queries on the other items of subsidiary legislation.

LegCo Paper No. LS 75/96-97

9. The Legal Adviser said that the items of subsidiary legislation were legally in order. Members raised no queries.

IV Position report on Bills Committees and Subcommittees

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 816/96-97)

10. Members noted the report.

11. The Chairman said that two Bills Committees would report under agenda item VIII below, but only one slot was available because the Bills Committee on Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 1996 had already released its slot on 22 November 1996. In accordance with the revised priority list endorsed by the House Committee at the last meeting, the vacant slot should be allocated to the Bills Committee on the Occupational Safety and Health Bill.

V Further business for the LegCo sitting on 8 January 1997

  1. Questions
    (LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 410/96-97)

12. The Chairman informed members that only five questions seeking oral replies would be raised at the sitting because Mr Albert CHAN Wai-yip had withdrawn his question. He added that Mr IP Kwok-him had changed his question and that the slot vacated by Mr CHAN Wing-chan had been allocated to Mr NGAN Kam-chuen.

  1. Bill - 1st and 2nd Readings

Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill 1997

(Member's Bill to be introduced by Mr LEE Cheuk-yan)

13. The Chairman said that the above Bill would be introduced into LegCo on 8 January 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 10 January 1997.

  1. Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
    1. Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996
    2. Tsing Ma Control Area Bill
    3. Banking (Amendment) Bill 1996
    4. Companies (Amendment) Bill 1996
    5. Employees Retraining (Amendment) Bill 1996
    6. Ozone Layer Protection (Amendment) Bill 1996

14. The Chairman said that members had agreed at the last meeting that the Second Reading debate on the above Bills be resumed.

VI Business for the LegCo sitting on 15 January 1997

  1. Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 411/96-97)

15. 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.

  1. Statement

16. No statement had been notified.

  1. Government Motion

17. No motion had been notified.

  1. Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
    1. Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill 1997
    2. Human Reproductive Technology Bill

18. The Chairman said that the above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 15 January 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 17 January 1997.

  1. Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
    1. Housing (Amendment) Bill 1996
    2. Housing (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 1996

19. The Chairman said that at the last meeting, members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the above Bills be resumed. The deadline for giving notice of Committee stage amendments to the above Bills was 6 January 1997.

  1. Motion debate on "Legislation on fair trade and setting up of a Fair Trade Commission'

20. Members noted the subject of Mr Fred LI's motion.

  1. Motion debate on "Anti-smoking'

21. Members noted the wording of Dr LEONG Che-hung's motion.

22. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments to the above motions was 8 January 1997.

VII Advance information on motion debates for the LegCo sitting on 22 January 1997

  1. Motion debate on "Rental assistance"

23. Members noted the subject of Mr James TO's motion.

  1. Motion debate on "Ma On Shan/Tai Wai rail link"

24. Members noted the wording of Mr CHOY Kan-pui's motion.

25. The Chairman advised members that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments to, the above motions, were 7 January 1997 and 15 January 1997 respectively.

VIII. Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees

  1. Report of the Bills Committee on Electricity (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1) 578/96-97)

26. The Legal Adviser referred members to the report and said that the Bills Committee had examined the Bill and the draft Electrical Products (Safety) Regulation in detail. It recommended that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 15 January 1997, subject to the "agreed" amendments to the Regulation and written confirmation with regard to the points that the Secretary for Economic Services would address in his reply in the Second Reading debate.

27. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of Committee stage amendments was 6 January 1997.

  1. Report of the Bills Committee on Legal Practitioners (Amendment) Bill 1996

(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 814/96-97)

28. Miss Margaret NG, Chairman of the Bills Committee reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee and explained that the Bill which, amongst other things, sought to propose a local appointment system for notaries public, should be enacted before 1 July 1997. Members of the Bills Committee supported the proposal but unanimously agreed that in order to monitor the professional standards of notaries public, it was necessary to include a statutory provision to the effect that a notary public should be a member of the Hong Kong Society of Notaries (HKSN). The Administration objected to the proposed provision on the grounds as set out in paragraph 7 of the paper, one of which was that the provision would contravene the right to freedom of association protected by Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

29. Miss NG said that the HKSN, the Hong Kong Bar Association, the Law Society of Hong Kong and the Bills Committee did not agree with the Administration. HKSN had just received an opinion from Mr Andrew Byrnes of the University of Hong Kong, who advised that mandatory membership did not breach ICCPR. The Administration also had a copy of Mr Byrnes' advice but reiterated that it would not proceed with the Bill if LegCo agreed to the proposed Committee stage amendment (CSA) on the membership requirement.

30. Miss NG said that HKSN had been informed of the Administration's position and of the possibility that a local appointment system might not be in place by July 1997. HKSN responded that they would rather have a correct law than to have one with flaws.

31. Miss NG said that in order to give members a choice, both she and Mr Bruce LIU would move two separate sets of CSAs. The proposed amendments would be the same except that Mr LIU's CSAs would not contain the membership requirement. She invited members' views on the proposal.

32. Mr Albert HO said that he was indignant that the Administration had again threatened to withdraw a bill when members did not agree with its policy. He called on members not to succumb to the threat and asked the Chairman to raise the matter with the Chief Secretary.

33. In response to Mr HO, the Legal Adviser said that under SO 39(3A)(b), if a bill which had been read for the second time was subsequently withdrawn, another bill with substantially the same provision could be presented in the same session. As regards whether or not a bill had charging effect, it was a matter for the President to decide.

34. Miss Emily LAU had reservations about Miss NG's proposal of moving two sets of CSAs. She said that since the Bills Committee unanimously agreed on the membership requirement, it should not recommend to members a consessionary position. Her view was supported by Dr YEUNG Sum and Mr IP Kwok-him. Dr YEUNG further suggested that a Member's bill be introduced should the Administration withdraw the Bill.

35. Having considered members' views, Miss Margaret NG and Mr Bruce LIU agreed that only Miss NG would move the CSAs as agreed by the Bills Committee. Miss NG added that the Administration would also move CSAs to address certain concerns raised by the Bills Committee.

36. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 15 January 1997.

IX Any Other Business

  1. Queen's New Year Honour List

37. On behalf of members, the Chairman congratulated Dr Samuel WONG for being awarded the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

  1. Charity Celebrity Challenge

38. Mr Fred LI said that the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals had written to him inviting LegCo Members to participate as honorary leaders of teams in the "Charity Celebrity Challenge" event to be held on 26 January 1997 at the Hong Kong Institute of Sports in Shatin. He urged members to join. The letter would be circulated to members.

  1. Distribution of Standing Orders

39. The Chairman said that Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung wished to raise the matter, which, he opined, should be considered by The Legislative Council Commission and not the House Committee. Nevertheless, he had agreed to let Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung express his views.

40. Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung queried the sending of copies of the Legislative Council Standing Orders by the President to members of the provisional legislature, as reported in the press. He would like to seek clarification on the following -

  1. whether the copies had been sent by the President in his capacity as President or as a Member of the Council. Mr LEUNG said that the act amounted to establishing official contact with the provisional legislature for which the President should seek Members' consent. He also queried whether an individual Member had the right to use LegCo's property without seeking permission from The Legislative Council Commission; and
  2. why the Secretariat had explained that members of the public could obtain copies of the Standing Orders whereas his staff had tried to obtain one from the Secretariat without success.

41. Miss Emily LAU echoed Mr LEUNG's view and added that there was also the question of copyright to consider.

42. Mr Martin LEE opined that the President's act might constitute a conflict of interest as it had been reported in the press that the President was interested in the presidency of the provisional legislature. He said that under such circumstances, the matter should be referred to the Committee on Members' Interests.

43. Mr Bruce LIU said that he supported the Chairman's suggestion that the matter be referred to The Legislative Council Commission. He informed members that copies of Standing Orders, costing $78 each, were available for sale at Government Publications Centre.

44. The Chairman suggested that the matter be referred to The Legislative Council Commission. Members agreed.

45. The meeting ended at 3:41 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat

8 January 1997

Last Updated on 16 August 1999