RULES OF PROCEDURE OF

THE PROVISIONAL LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL OF
THE HONG KONG
SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION


MADE BY THE PROVISIONAL LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL OF THE HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION ON 12 APRIL 1997.

PART E

QUESTIONS TO THE GOVERNMENT


22. Nature of Questions

   (1) Any Member may address a question to the Government on the work of the Government, and either seeking information on such matter or asking for official action with regard to it.

   (2) A question shall specify whether an oral or a written reply is required.

23. Question Time

   (1) Questions may be asked at any meeting except the first meeting after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

   (2) Not more than 20 questions of which notice has been given may be asked at any one meeting and the questions shall be counted by the Clerk in the manner recommended by the House Committee and agreed by the President.

   (3) Where, in the opinion of the President, there will be no debate on a substantive motion at a meeting, no more than 10 questions shall require an oral reply. Where, in the opinion of the President, there will be such a debate, no more than 6 questions shall require an oral reply. The questions shall be counted by the Clerk in the manner recommended by the House Committee and agreed by the President.

   (4) The House Committee may recommend to the President that in respect of a particular meeting no question requiring an oral reply should be asked; and if the President accepts such recommendation no such question shall be asked at that meeting, save that the President may permit urgent questions under the provisions of Rule 24 (Notice of Questions).

   (5) In this Rule, "substantive motion" means a motion that is independent and not subsidiary to another motion, and does not include a motion under Rule 12 (Proceedings at the First Meeting after the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) or under Parts K (Procedure on Bills) and L (Financial Procedure) of these Rules of Procedure.

24. Notice of Questions

   (1) A question shall not be asked without notice except as provided in subrule (4) of this Rule.

   (2) A Member shall give notice of a question by delivering to the office of the Clerk, not later than 7 clear days before the meeting at which an answer is required from the Government, a copy thereof signed by the Member.

   (3) A Member may not ask more than 2 questions of which notice has been given at any one meeting and not more than one of those questions shall require an oral reply:

   Provided that the President may, if in his opinion an additional question is an important one of public concern, allow a Member to ask that additional question.

   (4) If a Member asks the permission of the President to ask a question without notice on the ground that it is of an urgent character and relates to a matter of public importance, the President may permit the question to be asked without notice, if he is satisfied that it is of that nature and that sufficient private notice of the question has been or is to be given by the Member concerned to the Government to enable the question to be answered.

25. Contents of Questions

   (1) A question shall conform to the following rules:

     (a) A question shall not include the names of persons, or statements which are not strictly necessary to make the question intelligible.

     (b) A question shall not contain a statement which the Member who asks the question is not prepared to substantiate.

     (c) A question shall not contain arguments, inferences, opinions, imputations or epithets, or tendentious, ironical or offensive expressions.

     (d) A question shall not contain independent questions or be so complex that it cannot reasonably be answered as a single question.

     (e) A question shall not refer to proceedings in a committee before that committee has made its report to the Council.

     (f) A question shall not seek information about a matter which is of its nature secret.

     (g) A question shall not reflect on the decision of a court of law or be so drafted as to be likely to prejudice a case pending in a court of law.

     (h) A question shall not be asked for the purpose of obtaining an expression of opinion, the solution of an abstract legal question, or the answer to a hypothetical proposition.

     (i) A question shall not be asked whether statements in the press or of private individuals or private concerns are accurate.

     (j) A question shall not be asked about the character or conduct of any person mentioned in Rule 41(7) (Contents of Speeches) and a question shall not be asked about the character or conduct of any other person except in his official or public capacity.

     (k) A question shall not be asked seeking information which can be found in accessible documents or ordinary works of reference.

     (l) A question which has been fully answered shall not be asked again during the same session.

   (2) If the President is of the opinion that a question of which a Member has given notice to the Clerk or which a Member has sought to ask without notice infringes any of the provisions of Rule 22 (Nature of Questions) or of this Rule, he may direct -

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