Paper for Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services of the Provisional Legislative Council

Legislative Council elections - Handling of election petitions

This paper sets out how election petitions are handled.

2.The Legislative Council Ordinance provides that an election petition may be lodged with the Court of First Instance of the High Court to question the outcome of a Legislative Council election on specified grounds. An election petition may be lodged within two months following the date of publication of the result of the elections in the Gazette.

3.An election petition is triable in open court. It is to be tried before one judge, unless the Chief Justice directs otherwise. At the end of the trial of an election petition, a determination will be made by the Court as to whether the person whose election is questioned has or has not been duly elected and, if not duly elected, whether another person has been duly elected instead.

4.The Legislative Council (Election Petition) Rules ("the Rules") were made by the Chief Justice on 15 January 1998 to provide for the regulation of matters relating to the practice and procedures for the lodgement, trial and termination etc. of an election petition. They are based on well-established past arrangements. The Rules were tabled in the Provisional Legislative Council on 21 January 1998.

5.The Rules stipulate that subject to the provisions of the Legislative Council Ordinance and the Rules, the practice and procedures of the High Court will in general apply to an election petition as if it were an ordinary action within the jurisdiction of the High Court. The Court could order an early disposal of an election petition case upon application by either party to the case with sufficient grounds.

4 March 1998
Constitutional Affairs Bureau
CAB C 1/30/12