Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. CB(1)1354
(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 Tuesday, 17 February 1998, at 8:30 am in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :

Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP (Chairman)
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Hon IP Kwok-him
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
Hon CHOY So-yuk

Members absent :

Hon WONG Siu-yee
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP
Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Mrs Peggy LAM, JP
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon Kennedy WONG Ying-ho
Dr Hon Charles YEUNG Chun-kam
Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen

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

Meeting with the Administration

Members resumed clause-by-clause examination of the Bill.

Clause 8 Protection of purchaser of lot

2. A member pointed out the inadequacies of the clause in addressing the issue of adversary titles. Referring to subclause (1)(b) which was modelled after the Crown Lands Resumption Ordinance Cap. 124, the member enquired whether prior owners included adversary title holders who established their claim of ownership after the sale of the lot but before the distribution of proceeds of sale. PAS/PEL agreed to clarify. Admin

Clause 9 Breach of conditions

3. A member sought clarification on what constituted a breach of condition under clause 9 which would entitle the Government to re-enter the lot. He wanted to know whether failure to complete transaction of the lot by the purchaser should be regarded as a breach of condition or whether this should be regarded as an unsuccessful sale. PAS/PEL clarified that if the sale was not completed after the auction, the order would be deemed to be of no effect as if it had been cancelled by the Tribunal. It was agreed that clause 9 should apply to cases involving breach of conditions after completion of sale, for example, delay in completing redevelopment of the lot. The Administration agreed to introduce a technical amendment to clarify this point.

Clause 10 Application of proceeds of sale

4. On the responsibility for payment of expenses of auction and remuneration to trustees, PAS/PEL advised that it was the Administration's intention that these expenses should be borne by the majority owners who initiated the application. Some members considered that the minority owners should also share out these expenses as the work of the trustees after the completion of sale was mainly relating to the distribution of proceeds of sale and the holding of those proceeds apportioned to missing owners. They suggested that the majority owners should subsequently be responsible for the up-front payment of remuneration to the trustees but this should be deducted from the proceeds of the sale. PAS/PEL noted members' concern and said that the Administration considered it inappropriate, on a matter of principle, to deduct trustees' remuneration from the proceeds of sale. He further clarified that "the discharge of any liability due to the Government in respect of the lot" in subclause (2)(a) did not include trustees' remuneration. The Administration would give further thought on the matter. Admin

5. Members requested the Administration to consider the liability for the legal and valuation expenses including whether the Lands Tribunal should be vested with the power to decide on an individual application basis taking account of the interest of the majority owners and the minority owners. Admin

Clause 11 Apportionment of proceeds of sale

6. ALA1 pointed out the absence of basis of apportionment of proceeds of sale among the majority owners. Members requested and the Administration agreed to review the drafting. Admin

Clause 12 Regulation

7. Members discussed this clause in conjunction with clause 4.

8. Referring to clause 4(2)(c), members expressed concern over the meaning of all reasonable steps" which had to be taken by the majority owners to acquire the lot before making an application for a sale order. While agreeing that fair and reasonable terms should be offered, members were worried that the inclusion of the word "all" would generate disputes and requested the Administration to consider deleting it. They also enquired whether guidelines would be issued by SPEL on what constituted "reasonable steps"

9. PAS/PEL explained that clause 12 was meant to give SPEL powers to make regulations to specify some general conditions for the better carrying out of the Bill. Whilst the Administration might list out the reasonable steps which had to be taken by the majority owners to acquire the lot, the list could by no means be exhaustive. Ultimately it would rest with the Lands Tribunal to decide whether reasonable steps had been taken in a particular case. PAS/PEL agreed to consider deleting the word "all" before "reasonable steps" Admin

10. Dr LAW Cheung-kwok indicated that he had reservation over the said deletion. In his view, the Lands Tribunal should know the meaning of "all reasonable steps" after the operation of the Bill for a certain period of time.

11. Referring to clause 4(2)(b)(ii) regarding the grounds specified by SPEL on which the redevelopment of the lot would be justified, a member enquired whether these would include the ground of public interest. PAS/PEL said that although the ground of public interest was not expressly spelt out in the clause, SPEL, in the exercise of power, would take this factor into account. He pointed out that the regulations to be made by SPEL would be subject to negative vetting by the legislature. The Chairman concurred that encouraging private redevelopment to improve urban environment should be regarded as a ground of public interest.

12. The Administration agreed to provide Committee Stage amendments to address members' concerns by the end of the week. Admin

13. There being no other business, the meeting closed at 9:35 am.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
25 June 1998