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 K

PROCEDURE ON BILLS


50. Form of Bills

   (1) A bill for presentation to the Council shall conform with the requirements laid down in this Rule.

   (2) The bill shall be given a short title corresponding with the title by which it is to be cited if it becomes law, and that short title shall remain unchanged throughout the passage of the bill.

   (3) The bill shall be given a long title setting out the purposes of the bill in general terms.

   (4) Subject to a direction given under section 4(3) of the Official Languages Ordinance (Cap. 5) by the Chief Executive in Council, bills shall be presented in the Chinese and English languages.

   (5) The clauses of the bill shall be preceded by the enacting formula.

   (6) The bill shall be divided into clauses numbered consecutively and having a descriptive section heading above each clause.

   (7) An explanatory memorandum stating the contents and objects of the bill in non-technical language shall be attached to the bill.

   (8) In the case of a bill, not being a Government measure, intended to affect or benefit some particular person, association or corporate body, there shall be included in the bill a clause saving the rights of the Government, all bodies politic and corporate, and all others except such as are mentioned in the bill, and those claiming by, from, and under them.

51. Notice of Presentation of Bills

   (1) A Member or a designated public officer may at any time give notice of his intention to present a bill; such notice shall be sent to the office of the Clerk and shall be accompanied by a copy of the bill and memorandum required by Rule 50 (Form of Bills), and in the case of a Member, also by a certificate signed by the Law Draftsman pursuant to subrule (2).

   (2) In the case of a bill to be presented by a Member, the Law Draftsman, if satisfied that the bill conforms to the requirements of Rule 50 (Form of Bills) and the general form of Hong Kong legislation, shall issue a certificate to that effect.

   (3) Members may not either individually or jointly introduce a bill which, in the opinion of the President, relates to public expenditure or political structure or the operation of the Government.

   (4) In the case of a bill relating to Government policies, the notice shall be accompanied by the written consent of the Chief Executive in respect of the bill.

   (5) In the case of a bill presented in one official language in pursuance of a direction under section 4(3) of the Official Languages Ordinance (Cap. 5), the notice shall be accompanied by a certificate stating that the Chief Executive in Council has directed that the bill should be presented in the Chinese language or, as the case may be, the English language.

   (6) In the case of a bill presented by a Member having any intention such as is described in Rule 50(8) (Form of Bills), the notice shall be accompanied by a certificate signed by the Member, stating that the bill has been published in two successive publications of the Gazette and that notice of the bill has been given by two advertisements in each of two daily newspapers published in Hong Kong, one being a Chinese language newspaper and another being an English language newspaper.

   (7)   (a) Except as otherwise provided in Rule 67 (The Chief Executive Returning a Bill Passed to the Council for Reconsideration), a bill which, in the opinion of the President, contains substantially the same provisions as another bill on which the Council has already taken a decision at second reading shall not be further proceeded with in the same session and shall be withdrawn.

           (b) If a bill which has been read for the second time is subsequently withdrawn another bill with substantially the same provisions may be presented in the same session, subject to the provisions of Rule 50 (Form of Bills), this Rule and Rule 52 (Presentation and Publication of Bills).

   (8) A Member presenting a bill shall be known throughout the subsequent proceedings on the bill as the Member in charge of the bill. In the case of a bill introduced jointly by more than one Member, these Members shall designate among themselves a Member as the Member in charge of the bill at the time of presenting the bill and the Member so designated shall signify himself as such in the notice for presentation.

   (9) A public officer presenting a bill shall be known throughout the subsequent proceedings on the bill as the public officer in charge of the bill; and references in these Rules of Procedure to a Member in charge of a bill include a public officer in charge of a bill.

52. Presentation and Publication of Bills



   (1) The Clerk shall, after receipt of a bill for presentation to the Council, cause the text of the bill and its explanatory memorandum to be published in the Gazette unless -

     (a) the President directs that the bill shall not be published in the Gazette before it has been read the first time; or

     (b) the President directs that the bill be published in another manner before it has been read the first time; or

     (c) the bill has already been published in the Gazette in accordance with Rule 51(6) (Notice of Presentation of Bills).

   (2) The Clerk shall, after receipt of a bill for presentation to the Council, cause a copy of the bill and its explanatory memorandum to be sent to every Member, whereupon the bill shall be deemed to have been presented to the Council.

53. First Reading of Bills

   (1) The short title of a bill presented to the Council in accordance with Rule 52(2) (Presentation and Publication of Bills) shall be placed on the Agenda of the Council for first reading at such meeting as may be specified to the Clerk by the Member in charge of the bill.

   (2) No debate shall be allowed upon the first reading of a bill; and the bill shall be deemed to have been read the first time upon the Clerk reading the short title.

   (3) When a bill has been read the first time, the Council shall be deemed to have ordered the bill to be set down for second reading, and the order of the Council shall be so recorded in the minutes of proceedings; and notice of motion for second reading shall not be required to be given by the Member in charge of the bill.

54. Second Reading

   (1) In the case of a bill which relates to Government policies presented by a Member, the President shall call for the signification of the written consent of the Chief Executive by a designated public officer before the Council enters upon consideration of the second reading of the bill and the motion that the bill be now read the second time shall not be moved unless such written consent has been signified accordingly.

   (2) The signification of the Chief Executive's written consent shall be recorded in the minutes of proceedings.

   (3) Subject to subrules (4) and (5), the Council shall proceed to the second reading of a bill on a motion that the bill be now read the second time; and on this motion a debate may arise covering the general merits and principles of the bill.

   (4) Except in relation to Appropriation Bills, when the Member in charge of a bill has spoken on a motion that the bill be now read the second time, the debate shall be adjourned and the bill shall be referred to the House Committee unless the Council, on a motion which may be moved without notice by any Member, otherwise orders.

   (5) When a debate has been adjourned under subrule (4), it may be resumed on notice by the Member or public officer in charge of the bill, given by him in writing delivered to the office of the Clerk, after consultation with the chairman of the House Committee, subject to the following -

     (a) subject to paragraphs (b) and (c), resumption of debate shall not take place earlier than 9 clear days after the meeting of House Committee at which the bill was considered in preparation for resumption of debate;

     (b) if at the meeting of House Committee to consider the bill in preparation for resumption of debate the committee recommends a period longer than 9 clear days before resumption then resumption shall not take place earlier than 12 clear days after that meeting;

     (c) if at the meeting of House Committee to consider the bill in preparation for resumption of debate the committee recommends that the second reading debate be resumed at the next meeting of the Council then resumption may take place at that meeting with the permission of the President provided that due notice has been given under paragraph (e);

     (d) subject to paragraph (e), notice of resumption of debate shall be given by the Member or public officer in charge of the bill not less than 12 clear days before the day on which the debate is to be resumed;

     (e) where resumption of debate is to take place 9 clear days or less after the meeting of House Committee at which the bill was considered in preparation for resumption, then notice of resumption of debate shall be given no later than 2 clear days after that meeting:

   Provided that the President may in his discretion dispense with such notice.

   (6) No amendment may be proposed to the question that the bill be now read the second time.

   (7) When a motion for the second reading of a bill has been negatived no further proceedings shall be taken on that bill.

55. Committal of Bills

   (1) When a motion for the second reading of a bill has been agreed to, the bill shall stand committed to a committee of the whole Council, unless -

     (a) the Council, on a motion which may be moved without notice by any Member immediately after the bill has been read the second time, commit the bill to a select committee; or

     (b) the President is of the opinion that the bill would specially benefit or otherwise specially affect some particular person or association or corporate body, in which case he may direct that the bill be committed to a select committee.

   (2) Notice of proceedings upon a bill in committee of the whole Council shall not be required to be given by the Member in charge of the bill.

   (3) Proceedings upon a bill in select committee shall be begun upon a day appointed in accordance with Rule 79(2) (Procedure of Select Committees).

56. Functions of Committees on Bills

   (1) Any committee of the whole Council or select committee to which a bill is committed shall not discuss the principles of the bill but only its details.

   (2) Any such committee shall have power to make such amendments therein as they shall think fit, provided that the amendments, including new clauses and new schedules, are relevant to the subject matter of the bill.

57. Amendments to Bills

   (1) The provisions of this Rule shall apply to amendments proposed to be moved to bills in committee of the whole Council, in a select committee, and on recommittal.

   (2) Notice of amendments proposed to be moved to a bill shall be given not less than 7 clear days before the day on which the bill is to be considered in committee; and except with the leave of the Chairman no amendment of which notice has not been so given may be moved to a bill.

   (3) The provisions of Rule 30 (Manner of Giving Notice of Motions and Amendments) shall apply to notice of amendments to bills with the substitution of the word "Chairman" for "President" in subrule (3) of that Rule.

   (4) The following provisions shall apply to amendments relating to bills:

     (a) An amendment must be relevant to the subject matter of the bill and to the subject matter of the clause to which it relates.

     (b) An amendment must not be inconsistent with any clause already agreed to or with any previous decision of the committee upon the bill.

     (c) An amendment must not be such as to make the clause which it proposes to amend unintelligible or ungrammatical.

     (d) An amendment which is in the opinion of the Chairman frivolous or meaningless may not be moved.

     (e) Where an amendment is proposed to be moved to a bill presented in both official languages the amendment shall be made to the text in each language unless it is an amendment that clearly affects the text in one language only. But an amendment which creates a conflict or discrepancy between the text in one language and the text in the other may not be moved.

   (5) If an amendment refers to, or is not intelligible without, a subsequent amendment or schedule, notice of the subsequent amendment or schedule must be given before the first amendment is moved so as to make the series of amendments intelligible as a whole.

   (6) An amendment, the object or effect of which may, in the opinion of the President or Chairman, be to dispose of or charge any part of the revenue or other public moneys of Hong Kong shall be proposed only by -

     (a) the Chief Executive; or

     (b) a public officer designated by the Chief Executive under Rule 9 (Attendance of Public Officers); or

     (c) a Member, if the Chief Executive consents in writing to the proposal.

58. Procedure in Committee of the Whole Council on a Bill

   (1) The Chairman in a committee of the whole Council shall propose "That the following clauses stand part of the bill", and shall direct the Clerk to call the numbers of the clauses. On the number or numbers of any clause or group of clauses being called, the question that that clause or group of clauses stand part of the bill shall be deemed to have been proposed. In the event of a clause being amended the number of the clause, as amended, shall be called again by the Clerk, and the question that the clause as amended stand part of the bill shall be deemed to have been proposed.

   (2) In order to save time and repetition of arguments, the Chairman may allow a single discussion to cover a series of interdependent amendments.

   (3) The provisions of Rule 34 (Manner of Debating Amendments to Motions) shall apply to the discussion of amendments to bills, with the substitution of the word "clause" for the word "motion".

   (4) A clause may be postponed, unless a decision has already been taken upon an amendment thereto. Postponed clauses shall be considered after the remaining clauses of the bill have been considered and before new clauses are brought up.

   (5) Any proposed new clause shall be considered after the clauses of the bill have been disposed of and before consideration of any schedule of the bill:

   Provided that a new clause proposed in substitution for a clause which has been disagreed to may be considered immediately after such disagreement.

   (6) On the section heading of any new clause being read by the Clerk the clause shall be deemed to have been read a first time. The question shall then be proposed "That the clause be read a second time"; if this is agreed to, amendments may then be proposed to the new clause. The final question to be proposed shall be "That the clause (or the clause as amended) be added to the bill".

   (7) Schedules shall be disposed of in the same way as clauses and any proposed new schedule shall be considered after the schedules of the bill have been disposed of, and shall be treated in the same manner as a new clause.

   (8) When every clause and schedule and proposed new clause or schedule has been dealt with, the preamble, if there is one, shall be considered and the question put "That this be the preamble to the bill". No amendment to the preamble shall be considered which is not made necessary by a previous amendment to the bill.

   (9) If any amendment to the title of the bill is made necessary by an amendment to the bill, it shall be made at the conclusion of the proceedings detailed above, but no question shall be put that the title (as amended) stand part of the bill; nor shall any question be put upon the enacting formula.

   (10) No amendment to the reference to the year or to any number in the title by which the bill is to be cited if it becomes law shall be necessary, and any such reference may be changed by the Law Draftsman to refer to the year, or to reflect the order, in which the bill becomes law.

   (11) An amendment, proposed new clause or proposed new schedule, upon which a question has been proposed, may be withdrawn at the request of the mover by leave of the committee before the question has been fully put on it, if no Member objects.

  v (12) When all the proceedings upon the bill have been concluded in committee, the Council shall resume and a Member shall report the bill to the Council with or without amendment as the case may be.

59. Procedure on Reporting of Bill from Committee of the Whole Council

   When a bill has been reported from a committee of the whole Council, the Council shall be deemed to have ordered the bill to be set down for third reading and the order of the Council shall be so recorded in the minutes of proceedings; and notice of motion for third reading shall not be required to be given by the Member in charge of the bill.

60. Procedure in Select Committee on a Bill

   (1) A select committee on a bill shall be subject to all the provisions of Rule 79 (Procedure of Select Committees) but before reporting the bill to the Council it shall go through the bill in the same manner as a committee of the whole Council as prescribed in Rule 58 (Procedure in Committee of the Whole Council on a Bill).

   (2) When a bill has been amended in a select committee, the whole text of the bill as amended shall, if practicable, be printed as part of the report of the select committee, but if this is not practicable the text of every clause or schedule amended, and of every new clause or new schedule added, shall be so printed.

   (3) When all the proceedings upon the bill have been concluded in a select committee and the committee have agreed to their report, the chairman shall, at the next meeting of the Council, report the bill, with or without amendment as the case may be, to the Council and shall lay a copy of the report of the committee upon the Table.

61. Procedure on Reporting of Bill from a Select Committee

   (1) When a bill has been reported from a select committee the Council may consider the bill as reported on a motion that the report of the select committee on the bill be adopted.

   (2) If that motion is agreed to without amendment, the Council shall be deemed to have ordered the bill to be set down for third reading and the order of the Council shall be so recorded in the minutes of proceedings, and notice of third reading shall not be required to be given by the Member in charge of the bill.

   (3) On a motion to adopt the report of a select committee on a bill moved under subrule (1) of this Rule, a Member may propose an amendment to add at the end of the motion the words "subject to the recommittal of the bill (either wholly or in respect only of some particular part or parts of the bill or of some proposed new clause or new schedule) to a committee of the whole Council".

   (4) If the motion is agreed to as amended in accordance with subrule (3) of this Rule, the bill shall stand recommitted as required by the motion, and the Council shall immediately resolve itself into a committee of the whole Council to consider it.

62. Procedure on Recommittal of Bill Reported from Select Committee

   (1) When the whole of a bill reported from a select committee has been recommitted the committee shall go through the bill as provided in Rule 58 (Procedure in Committee of the Whole Council on a Bill).

   (2) When a bill has been recommitted in respect only of some specified clause or clauses or schedule or schedules of the bill or some proposed new clause or new schedule, the committee shall consider only the matter so recommitted and shall proceed on every such clause or schedule in the manner provided in Rule 58 (Procedure in Committee of the Whole Council on a Bill) and may thereafter if necessary consider amendment of the long or short title of the bill:

   Provided that if the President considers it necessary or desirable he may require the whole bill to be recommitted as provided in subrule (1) of this Rule.

   (3) When all proceedings in committee of the whole Council on a recommitted bill have been completed, the Council shall resume and the Member in charge of the bill shall report the bill, as amended (or as not amended) on recommittal, to the Council.

   (4) When the bill has been so reported after recommittal, the Council shall forthwith proceed to the third reading of the bill, unless the Member in charge states that he wishes the third reading to be postponed; and in the latter event the provisions of Rule 59 (Procedure on Reporting of Bill from Committee of the Whole Council) shall apply, and no further motion to recommit the bill shall be allowed.

63. Third Reading

   (1) The Council shall proceed to the third reading of a bill on a motion that the bill be read the third time and do pass. Debate on that motion shall be confined to the contents of the bill and no amendment may be moved to the motion.

   (2) Amendments for the correction of errors or oversights may, with the President's permission, be made to the bill before the question for the third reading of the bill is put by the President, but no amendments of a material character shall be proposed.

   (3) When a motion for the third reading of a bill (or bills) has been agreed to, the Clerk shall read the short title of the bill (or bills) and shall write at the end of the bill (or bills) the words "Passed by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Provisional Legislative Council this day" giving the date.

   (4) When a motion for the third reading of a bill has been negatived no further proceedings shall be taken on that bill.

64. Withdrawal or Postponement of Bills

   The Member or public officer in charge of a bill may, by announcement in