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 M

COMMITTEES


72. Finance Committee

   (1) There shall be a standing committee, to be called the Finance Committee, the members of which shall be all the Members other than the President.

   (2) The chairman and deputy chairman of the committee shall be elected by and from among its members and shall hold office until the end of the session. In the event of the temporary absence of the chairman and deputy chairman, the committee may elect a chairman to act during such absence.

   (3) The functions of the Finance Committee shall be such as are conferred upon the committee by the Public Finance Ordinance (Cap. 2), any other law and these Rules of Procedure, and such as may from time to time be referred to the committee by the Council.

   (4) The committee may appoint subcommittees for the purpose of assisting the committee in the performance of such functions of the committee as the committee may determine.

   (5) The committee shall sit at the time and the place determined by the chairman. Written notice of every meeting shall be given to the members at least 5 clear days before the day of the meeting but shorter notice may be given in any case where the chairman so directs.

   (6) Meetings shall be held in public unless the chairman otherwise orders in accordance with any decision of the committee.

   (7) The chairman and 8 members shall form a quorum. All matters before the committee shall be decided by a majority of the members voting. Neither the chairman nor any other member presiding shall vote, unless the votes of the other members are equally divided, in which case he shall have a casting vote.

   (8) Where the chairman so orders, any matter for the decision of the committee may be considered by circulation of papers to the members of the committee and each member may signify his approval in writing submitted to the chairman. If a majority of the members so signify before the expiry of the period specified by the chairman for the purpose, and if upon expiry of that period no member has (in writing submitted to the chairman) signified disapproval of the matter or requested that the matter be referred for decision at a meeting of the committee, it shall be deemed to be approved by the committee.

   (9) The clerk to the committee appointed under Rule 6 (7) (Duties of the Clerk) shall attend the meetings of the committee. He shall keep the minutes of the proceedings of the committee in a manner determined by the committee.

   (10) The Estimates presented in accordance with the provisions of Rule 68 (Presentation and Second Reading of Appropriation Bill) may be referred by the President to the Finance Committee for their examination before consideration of the Appropriation Bill in committee of the whole Council.

   (11) The chairman or the committee may invite any public officer, or, in the case of a head of the Estimates relating to a non-government body or organization, any member or employee of that body or organization to give information or any explanation or to produce any records or documents which the committee may require in the performance of its duties; and the committee may also invite any other person to assist the committee in relation to any such information, explanation, records or documents.

   (12) Subject to these Rules of Procedure, the practice and procedure of the committee and its subcommittees shall be determined by the committee.

73. Public Accounts Committee

   (1) There shall be a standing committee, to be called the Public Accounts Committee, to consider reports of the Director of Audit -

     (a) on the accounts of the Government;

     (b) on such other accounts required to be laid before the Council as the committee may think fit; and

     (c) on any matter incidental to the performance of his duties or the exercise of his powers as the committee may think fit.

   (2) The committee shall also consider any report of the Director of Audit laid on the Table of the Council which deals with examinations (value for money audit) carried out by the Director relating to the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of any Government department or public body or any organization to which his functions as Director of Audit extend by virtue of any Ordinance or which receives public moneys by way of subvention.

   (3) The committee shall consist of a chairman and 6 members who shall be Members appointed by the President in accordance with an election procedure determined by the House Committee. The chairman and two other members shall constitute a quorum. In the event of the temporary absence of the chairman, the committee may elect a chairman to act during that absence.

   (4) A report mentioned in subrules (1) and (2) of this Rule shall be deemed to have been referred by the Council to the committee when it is laid on the Table of the Council.

   (5) Unless the chairman otherwise orders, members of the press and of the public shall be admitted as spectators at meetings of the committee attended by any person invited by the committee under subrule (8).

   (6) The committee shall sit at the time and the place determined by the chairman. Written notice of every meeting shall be given to the members and to any person invited to attend a meeting at least 5 clear days before the day of the meeting but shorter notice may be given in any case where the chairman so directs.

   (7) All matters before the committee shall be decided by a majority of the members voting. Neither the chairman nor any other member presiding shall vote, unless the votes of the other members are equally divided, in which case he shall have a casting vote.

   (8) The chairman or the committee may invite any public officer, or, in the case of a report on the accounts of or relating to a non-government body or organization, any member or employee of that body or organization, to give information or any explanation or to produce any records or documents which the committee may require in the performance of its duties; and the committee may also invite any other person to assist the committee in relation to any such information, explanation, records or documents.

   (9) The committee shall make their report upon the report of the Director of Audit on the accounts of the Government within 3 months (or such longer period as may be determined under section 12 of the Audit Ordinance (Cap. 122)) of the date on which the Director's report is laid on the Table of the Council.

   (10) The committee shall make their report upon the report of the Director of Audit mentioned in subrule (2) within 3 months (or such longer period as may be determined by the Council) of the date on which the Director's report is laid on the Table of the Council.

   (11) Subject to these Rules of Procedure, the practice and procedure of the committee shall be determined by the committee.

74. Committee on Members' Interests

   (1) There shall be a standing committee to be called the Committee on Members' Interests -

     (a) to examine the arrangements made for the compilation, maintenance and accessibility of the Register of Members' Interests;

     (b) to consider any proposals made by Members or others as to the form and contents of the Register;

     (c) to consider and investigate any complaint made in relation to the registration and declaration of Members' interests or any complaint of a failure to do so;

     (d) to consider matters of ethics in relation to the conduct of Members in their capacity as such, and to give advice and issue guidelines on such matters;

     (e) to report to the Council and make recommendations, including a recommendation as to a sanction under Rule 84 (Sanctions relating to Interests).

   (2) The committee shall consist of a chairman and 6 members who shall be Members appointed by the President in accordance with an election procedure determined by the House Committee. The chairman and 2 other members shall constitute a quorum. In the event of the temporary absence of the chairman, the committee may elect a chairman to act during that absence.

   (3) The committee shall sit at the time and the place determined by the chairman. Written notice of every meeting shall be given to the members at least 5 clear days before the day of the meeting but shorter notice may be given in any case where the chairman so directs.

   (4) Meetings shall be held in public unless the chairman otherwise orders in accordance with any decision of the committee.

   (5) All matters before the committee shall be decided by a majority of the members voting. In the event that votes are equally divided, the chairman or other member presiding shall have a casting vote.

   (6) The committee may invite any person to attend before the committee and to give evidence or to produce any paper, book, record or document in the possession or under the control of such person.

   (7) Subject to these Rules of Procedure, the practice and procedure of the committee shall be determined by the committee.

75. House Committee

   (1) There shall be a committee, to be called the House Committee, the members of which shall be all the Members other than the President.

   (2) The chairman and deputy chairman of the committee shall be elected by the committee from among its members and shall hold office until the end of the session. In the event of the temporary absence of the chairman and deputy chairman, the committee may elect a chairman to act during such absence.

   (3) At any time after a bill has been referred to the committee under Rule 54(4) (Second Reading), the committee may allocate it to a Bills Committee for consideration, or may cause it to be considered in such other manner as the committee thinks fit.

   (4) In deciding upon the timing and order of allocation of bills to a Bills Committee, the committee may take into account the number and relative priority of other bills currently referred to the committee under Rule 54(4) (Second Reading), and may at any time vary any decision as to the timing and order of allocation of any bill.

   (5) Following allocation of a bill to a Bills Committee, the committee, after consultation with that Bills Committee, may decide the date for completion of consideration of the bill by the Bills Committee. Any such decision may be varied at any time, after consultation with the Bills Committee.

   (6) Upon the allocation of a bill to a Bills Committee, the members of that Bills Committee shall be those Members (other than the President) who signify membership in accordance with procedural rules (which shall provide only for the manner and timing of such signification) decided by the committee.

   (7) The committee may provide guidelines relating to the procedure of the Bills Committees, subcommittees constituted under subrule (11) and Panels constituted under Rule 77 (Panels).

   (8) The committee may discuss any deliberations of a Bills Committee for the purpose of assisting members in preparation for resumption of second reading debate in the Council.

   (9) The committee shall decide the manner of consideration of any subsidiary legislation which is subject to the provisions of sections 34 and 35 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1).

   (10) The committee may consider, in such manner as it thinks fit, any other item relating to the business of the Council.

   (11) The committee may appoint subcommittees for the purpose of assisting the committee in the performance of its functions under subrules (9) and (10).

   (12) The committee may refer any policy matter relating to the business of the Council to a Panel constituted under Rule 77 (Panels), may determine the terms of reference for the consideration of such matter and may request and receive reports on such matter from the Panel.

   (13) The committee shall sit at the time and the place determined by the chairman. Written notice of the place, day and time of every meeting shall be given to the members at least 3 days before the day of the meeting but shorter notice may be given in any case where the chairman so directs.

   (14) Meetings of the committee shall be held in public unless the chairman otherwise orders in accordance with any decision of the committee.

   (15) 20 members, including the chairman, shall form a quorum. All matters for the decision of the committee shall be decided by a majority of the members voting. The chairman or any other member presiding shall not vote, unless the votes of the other members are equally divided in which case he shall have a casting vote.

   (16) Where the chairman so orders, any matter for the decision of the committee may be considered by circulation of papers to the members of the committee and each member may signify his approval in writing submitted to the chairman. If a majority of the members so signify before the expiry of the period specified by the chairman for the purpose, and if upon expiry of that period no member has (in writing submitted to the chairman) signified disapproval of the matter or requested that the matter be referred for decision at a meeting of the committee, it shall be deemed to be approved by the committee.

   (17) Subject to these Rules of Procedure, the practice and procedure of the committee and its subcommittees shall be determined by the committee.

76. Bills Committees

   (1) There shall be such number of committees, to be called Bills Committees, as the House Committee considers appropriate.

   (2) The chairman of a Bills Committee shall be elected by the committee from among its members. The committee may also elect a deputy chairman. In the event of the temporary absence of the chairman or any deputy chairman, the committee may elect a chairman to act during such absence.

   (3) A Bills Committee shall consist of not less than 3 members including the chairman. The quorum of a Bills Committee shall be 3 members including the chairman, or one third of the members including the chairman (a fraction of the whole number being disregarded), whichever is the greater.

   (4) A Bills Committee may appoint subcommittees for the purpose of assisting the committee in the performance of its functions.

   (5) A Bills Committee shall sit at the time and the place determined by the chairman. Written notice of the place, day and time of every meeting shall be given to the members at least 3 days before the day of the meeting but shorter notice may be given in any case where the chairman so directs.

   (6) Meetings shall be held in public unless the chairman otherwise orders in accordance with any decision of the committee.

   (7) A Bills Committee shall consider the general merits and principles, and the detailed provisions, of the bill allocated to it; and may also consider any amendments relevant to the bill.

   (8) All matters for the decision of a Bills Committee shall be decided by a majority of the members voting. The chairman or any other member presiding shall, if the votes be equally divided, have a casting vote in addition to his original vote.

   (9) A Bills Committee shall, as soon as it has completed consideration of the bill allocated to it, notify the House Committee and shall advise the committee in writing of its deliberations.

   (10) The deliberations of a Bills Committee on a bill may be discussed by the House Committee for the purposes of informing Members in preparation for resumption of the second reading debate on the bill in Council. Such deliberations shall not be binding on any Member, whether in Council, in a committee of the whole Council or in House Committee.

   (11) Subject to these Rules of Procedure, the practice and procedure of a Bills Committee and its subcommittees shall be determined by that Bills Committee. In any such determination, a Bills Committee shall take into account any guidelines provided under Rule 75(7) (House Committee).

77. Panels

   (1) There shall be such number of committees, to be called Panels, as the House Committee considers appropriate.

   (2) The terms of reference of a Panel shall be determined by the House Committee.

   (3) A Panel shall monitor and examine, to the extent it considers necessary, policy matters referred to it by a member of the Panel or by the House Committee.

   (4) The members of a Panel shall be those Members (other than the President) who signify membership in accordance with procedural rules (which shall provide only for the manner and timing of such signification) decided by the House Committee.

   (5) The chairman of a Panel shall be elected by the Panel from among its members. The Panel may also elect a deputy chairman. In the event of the temporary absence of the chairman or any deputy chairman the Panel may elect a chairman to act during such absence. The chairman and deputy chairman of a Panel shall hold office until the end of the session.

   (6) A Member who is the chairman or deputy chairman of a Government advisory body in respect of matters which a Panel considers to be directly related to the terms of reference of the Panel shall not be the chairman or deputy chairman of the Panel.

   (7) A Member shall not be chairman or deputy chairman of more than one Panel at the same time.

   (8) A Panel shall consist of not less than 6 members including the chairman. The quorum of a Panel shall be 3 members including the chairman, or one third of the members including the chairman (a fraction of the whole number being disregarded), whichever is the greater.

   (9) A Panel may, if it considers appropriate, appoint subcommittees to study specific issues and to report to the Panel.

   (10) A Panel or its subcommittee may, if it considers appropriate, sit jointly with any other Panel or its subcommittee for the purpose of considering any matter of common interest to the Panels. The quorum of a joint meeting shall be one third of the members of all the relevant panels or subcommittees including the chairman (a fraction of the whole number being disregarded). All matters for decision at a joint meeting shall be decided by a majority of the members voting. The chairman shall, if the votes be equally divided, have a casting vote in addition to his original vote.

   (11) A Panel shall sit at the time and the place determined by the chairman of the Panel. Written notice of the place, day and time of every meeting shall be given to the members at least 3 days before the day of the meeting but shorter notice may be given in any case where the chairman so directs.

   (12) Meetings shall be held in public unless the chairman otherwise orders in accordance with any decision of the Panel.

   (13) All matters for the decision of a Panel shall be decided by a majority of the members voting. The chairman or any other member presiding shall, if the votes be equally divided, have a casting vote in addition to his original vote. Such voting shall not be binding on any Member, whether in Council, in a committee of the whole Council or in the House Committee.

   (14) A Panel may, where requested by the House Committee and where it considers appropriate, or on its own motion, make reports in writing to the House Committee for the purpose of informing Members of the progress of its deliberations.

   (15) Subject to these Rules of Procedure, the practice and procedure of a Panel or its subcommittee shall be determined by that Panel. In any such determination, a Panel shall take into account any guidelines provided under Rule 75(7) (House Committee).

78. Select Committees

   (1) The Council may in the session appoint one or more select committees to consider matters or bills which the Council may refer to the committee.

   (2) The President shall decide the size of every select committee and shall appoint the chairman and members thereof, taking into account the recommendations of the House Committee.

   (3) The quorum of a select committee shall be one third of the members excluding the chairman, a fraction of a whole number being disregarded.

   (4) A select committee shall, as soon as it has completed consideration of the matter or bill referred to it, report to the Council thereon and the committee shall thereupon be dissolved. If the committee is of the opinion that it will not be able to complete consideration of the matter or bill before the end of the session, it shall so report to the Council.

   (5) At the end of the session every select committee of the Council shall be dissolved.

79. Procedure of Select Committees

   (1) The deliberations of a select committee shall be confined to the matter or matters referred to it by the Council, and in the case of a select committee on a bill shall be confined to the bill committed to it and relevant amendments.

   (2) A select committee shall sit at the time determined by the chairman. The meetings of a select committee shall be held in public unless the chairman otherwise orders in accordance with any decision of the committee.

   (3) In the event of the temporary absence of the chairman the committee may elect a chairman to act during such absence.

  v (4) The clerk to the committee appointed under Rule 6(7) (Duties of the Clerk) shall attend meetings of the committee and shall keep the minutes of proceedings of the committee.

   (5) Divisions in a select committee shall be taken by the clerk to the committee who shall ask each member of the committee separately how he wishes to vote and record the votes accordingly.

   (6) Neither the chairman nor any other member presiding shall vote, unless the votes of the other members are equally divided in which case he shall have a casting vote.

   (7)   (a) A member of a select committee may bring a report for their consideration. When all the reports have been brought up the chairman shall propose the reports in order until one is accepted as a basis for discussion, beginning with his own report and proceeding with the remainder in the order in which they were brought up. The question to be proposed by the chairman on a report shall be that the chairman