Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(1)1360
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB1/BC/6/97

Bills Committee on
Land (Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment) Bill

Minutes of the meeting held on Monday, 9 March 1998, at 10:45 am in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :

Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP (Chairman)
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

Member attending :

Hon CHAN Yuen-han

Members absent :

Hon WONG Siu-yee
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon IP Kwok-him
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon CHOY So-yuk

Public officers attending :

Mr Richard LUK
Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Mr Gordon HO
Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Ms Fanny IP
Senior Assistant Law Draftsman

Clerk in attendance:

Miss Odelia LEUNG
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)1

Staff in attendance :

Ms Bernice WONG
Assistant Legal Adviser 1

Mrs Mary TANG
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)2

Members noted that Professor NG Ching-fai had given notice to withdraw from the Bills Committee.

Meeting with the Administration
(Ninth draft CSAs at PLC Paper Nos. CB(1)1083 (English version) and CB(1)1100(02) (Chinese version); marked up copy of Bill at PLC Paper No. CB(1)1100(01))

2. Members proceeded to examining the ninth draft Committee stage amendments (CSAs) provided by the Administration. Senior Assistant Law Draftsman took members through the CSAs.

Clause 2 Interpretation

3. Members were advised by the Administration that a paragraph (c) had been added to the definition of ot�under clause 2 which provided that the term did not include a lot belonging to a class of lots specified by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) by notice in the Gazette under clause 2(3). This would address the concern raised by some members on the need to exclude certain classes of lots from the application of the Bill, such as those relating to small house developments.

4. A member noted with concern the extent of powers vested on SPEL by the Bill. Under the provisions of the Bill, SPEL would be empowered to specify additional grounds to justify redevelopment and exclude certain classes of lot from the application of the Bill, without the need to explain whether public interest had been taken into account in making these decisions.

5. In response to members, the Administration explained that specifications to be made by SPEL would be in the form of subsidiary legislation subject to negative approval procedures. These specifications would be applied to a class of lots, not individual cases.

6. In view of members�reservations in giving powers to SPEL to exclude certain classes of lots from the application of the Bill, the Administration agreed to delete paragraph (c) under the definition of lot and clause 2(3). In that case, it would be up to the Lands Tribunal to decide on the justifications for redevelopment in determining an application.

7. Members noted the inclusion of a person who became a successor in title to the owner in the amended definition of ajority owner� Where any one of these majority owners or their successors informed the Lands Tribunal under clause 4(9) that he or she did not wish to be a party to the application, the application would thereupon be deemed to be withdrawn.

Clause 3 Application to Tribunal for compulsory sale of lot

8. The Assistant Legal Adviser 1 (ALA1) pointed out that subclause (2) had provided for the posting of a notice upon a conspicuous part of the lot. She opined that it would be more appropriate if the clause could be amended to the effect that notices should be affixed on a conspicuous part of the building rather than on the lot since redevelopment would most likely involve an existing building. The Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (PAS/PEL) remarked that there could be redevelopments which did not involve existing buildings, such as those involving the redevelopment of a collapsed building site. Nevertheless, he agreed to redraft the clause to provide for the posting of notices on a conspicuous part of the building or where there was no building, on a conspicuous part of the lot.

Clause 4 Determination of application

9. A Member was concerned that the provisions of the Bill might have overlooked the interest of the minority owners who did not wish to sell their units for redevelopment. Unlike professional speculators, these owner occupiers might wish to continue living in their own premises for personal reasons. She therefore suggested that a paragraph (d) should be added to subclause (2) to provide that the Lands Tribunal should take into account the undue hardship faced by the minority owners in the determination of an application. This would provide the necessary protection to the minority owners.

10. PAS/PEL indicated that the Lands Tribunal would take into account all relevant factors in the determination of an application and that the factors to be considered would not be confined to those stipulated under subclause (2). He added that the lack of an express ndue hardship�provision did not mean that this would not be taken into account by the Lands Tribunal. The Administration had consulted the Judiciary Administrator on this matter and had been advised that an express provision for consideration of ndue hardship�might give rise to operational difficulties in deciding on the meaning of the term. However, the draft of subclause (2) was such that the Lands Tribunal could take into account other factors and the Tribunal was not obliged to approve the application even if the conditions under subclause (2)(a), (b) and (c) were complied with.

11. The Chairman explained that the Bills Committee had taken full account of the interest of the minority owners in its deliberations on the application and the scope of the Bill. A balanced consideration had been given to ensure that the interest of the minority owners would not be compromised for the purposes of redevelopment. As a result, a number of safeguards had been suggested for inclusion in the provisions of the Bill. To address the Member concern, the Chairman suggested and the Administration agreed to mention the possibility of consideration by the Lands Tribunal of ndue hardship�of the minority owners in determining an application at the resumption of Second Reading debate on the Bill.

12. Members enquired about the arrangements governing the apportionment of the deposit money forfeited as a result of default on payment for the lot by the purchaser. The Administration advised that under the CSAs proposed, the Lands Tribunal would give directions relating to the sale and purchase of the lot, including any action to be taken by the trustees under the order if the purchaser of the lot defaulted on any payment for the lot. The Administration considered this arrangement appropriate as it was difficult to make specifications to cater for different scenarios.

13. Members however considered that the basis of apportionment of forfeited deposit money and sale proceeds should be the same unless otherwise specified by the Lands Tribunal. They opined that apportionment should be made in accordance with the basis specified in Part 3 of Schedule 1, namely on a pro rata basis in accordance with the assessed values of the respective properties of the majority owners and the minority owners of the lot. The Administration took on board members�views and agreed to introduce CSAs to this effect.

14. As regards apportionment of expenses, members requested the Administration to clarify whether legal and other associated expenses relating to the auction were deductible from the proceeds of sale.

15. Members agreed to continue discussion at the next meeting scheduled for 11 March 1998.

16. The meeting ended at 12:20 pm.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
25 June 1998