Legislative Council

LC Paper No. LS143/98-99

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 16 April 1999

Legal Service Division Report on
Administration of Justice
(Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1999

Objects of the Bill

  1. To remove the requirement that judicial proceedings shall be adjourned when a red rainstorm warning is in force;

  2. to streamline the mechanism for and to enable the temporary appointment of judicial officers in various tribunals, the magistracies and the Coroner's court; and

  3. to make technical amendments to the Ordinances and subsidiary legislation set out in Annex II hereto.

LegCo Brief Reference

2. CSO/ADM CR 3/3221/98(99) issued by the Chief Secretary for Administration's Office in March 1999.

Date of First Reading

3. 31 March 1999.


Judicial Proceedings during Rainstorm Warning

4. Section 5(1)(a)(ii) of the Judicial Proceedings (Adjournment During Gale Warnings) Ordinance (Cap. 62) is amended so that a rainstorm warning for the purpose of the Ordinance will only commence when a report of black rainstorm warning signal is issued. Prior to the amendment, the rainstorm warning commences when the report of a red rainstorm warning signal is issued. The resulting effect is that judicial proceedings will only be adjourned when the black rainstorm warning signal is in force. The definition of "rainstorm warning" in section 2(1) is amended accordingly.

Temporary Judicial Appointments

5. New provisions are proposed to be added to the Lands Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 17), Labour Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 25), Magistrates Ordinance (Cap. 227), and Coroners Ordinance (Cap. 504) to enable pro tempore appointments to be made by the Chief Justice. Section 4A of the Small Claims Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 338) is also amended to bring it in line with the aforesaid new provisions.

6. Each of the aforesaid new provisions has similar wording to provide for :-

  1. the power to make and terminate any pro tempore appointments by the Chief Justice;

  2. the jurisdiction, privileges and duties which the temporarily appointed judicial officer will have; and

  3. the empowering of each temporarily appointed judicial officer to complete the handling of the cases which are in his charge immediately before the expiry or termination of his appointment.

Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Cap. 11)

7. As a result of the amendments mentioned in paragraph 5 above, consequential amendment is required to be made to Part II of Schedule 3 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Cap. 11) by including the title of the temporarily appointed judicial officers, namely, a) Deputy Presiding Officer, Labour Tribunal, b) Deputy Magistrate, c) Deputy Adjudicator, Small Claims Tribunal, d) Temporary Member, Lands Tribunal, and e) Deputy Coroner.

Miscellaneous Amendments

8. The miscellaneous amendments are of technical nature and are set out in tabular form in Annex I hereto.

Public Consultation

9. According to the LegCo Brief, the Administration has consulted the Law Society of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Bar Association. The Law Society did not have any comments on the Bill, The Bar Association has made some suggestions to achieve consistencies among various Ordinances and some of those comments have been incorporated where appropriate.

Consultation with LegCo Panel

10. The members of the Administration of Justice and Legal Services Panel have been briefed on the legislative proposals on 25 February 1999.


11. The legal and drafting aspects of the Bill are in order. Subject to Members' views, second reading of the Bill may be resumed.

Prepared by

KAU Kin-wah
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
12 April 1999

Annex II

Ordinances and Subsidiary Legislation proposed to be Amended

  1. Jury Ordinance (Cap. 3)

  2. Official Languages Ordinance (Cap. 5)

  3. Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Cap. 11)

  4. Births and Deaths Registration Ordinance (Cap. 174)

  5. Magistrates Ordinance (Cap. 227)

  6. Places for Autopsies Order (Cap. 504 sub. leg.)

  7. Coroners (Forms) Rules (Cap. 504 sub. leg.)

  8. Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Regulation (Cap. 525 sub. leg.)