Legislative Council

LC Paper No. LS 268/98-99

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 24 September 1999

Legal Service Division Report on
Adaptation of Laws (No. 34) Bill 1999

Object of the Bill

To adapt certain Ordinances and their subsidiary legislation to bring them into conformity with the Basic Law and with the status of Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

LegCo Brief Reference

2. ESB CR3/3231/97(99) Pt. 3 issued by the Economic Services Bureau in July 1999.

Date of First Reading

3. 14 July 1999.


4. This Bill adapts 12 Ordinances mainly in relation to public utilities (gas, oil and electricity), marine, agriculture and private bodies which are listed at Annex A. A summary of the proposed amendments on terminological changes is set out in Annex B.

5. Except section 6 of Schedule 1 referred to in clause 2(3), the Bill, if enacted, will take retrospective effect from 1 July 1997 to ensure that there is consistency in the interpretation of all laws on and after 1 July 1997. The retrospective effect will not apply to provisions involving criminal offences or penalties. Section 6 of Schedule 1 limits investments by a co-operative society in securities issued or guaranteed by a "Government of the Commonwealth". It is proposed that this reference is to be replaced by "the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or of any other place approved by the Registrar". Since this amendment may alter the scope of investment allowed, it shall come into operation on the day the Bill is enacted.

6. On scrutinizing Regulation 7 of the Mercantile Marine Assistance Fund Regulations (Cap. 1001 sub. leg.), we note that there is still the mentioning of "Regular assistance may be granted only to qualified persons who are Commonwealth citizens …". We have raised queries with the Administration on whether this regulation need to be adapted. The Administration has replied in the affirmative but said that they needed more time to review the matter more carefully and this adaptation would be dealt with later as a separate exercise.

Public Consultation

7. There has not been any public consultation on the Bill.

Consultation with the LegCo Panel

8. No consultation with any LegCo Panel on the details of the Bill has been carried out.


9. The legal and drafting aspects of this Bill are in order. It is recommended that Second Reading debate may be resumed.


Prepared by

HO Ying-chu, Anita
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
20 September 1999

Annex A

List of Ordinances affected by the Adaptation of Laws (No. 34) Bill 1999

1.Co-operative Societies Ordinance (Cap. 33)Co-operative Societies Rules (Cap. 33 sub. leg.)
2.Gas Safety Ordinance (Cap. 51)
3.Credit Unions Ordinance (Cap. 119)
4.Oil (Conservation and Control) Ordinance (Cap. 264)
5.Electricity Ordinance (Cap. 406)Electricity Supply Regulations (Cap. 406 sub. leg.)
6.Mercantile Marine Assistance Fund Ordinance (Cap. 1001)Mercantile Marine Assistance Fund Regulations (Cap. 1001 sub. leg.)
7.The Hong Kong and China Gas Company (Transfer of Incorporation)Ordinance (Cap. 1022)
8.Hongkong and Kowloon Wharf and Godown Company Limited (By-laws) Ordinance (Cap. 1023)Hongkong and Kowloon Wharf and Godown Company Limited By-laws (Cap. 1023 sub. leg.)
9.North Point Wharves Limited Ordinance (Cap. 1038)
10.J. E. Joseph Trust Fund Ordinance (Cap. 1067)
11.Kadoorie Agricultural Aid Loan Fund Ordinance (Cap. 1080)
12.Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden Corporation Ordinance (Cap. 1156)

Annex B

Adaptation of Laws (No. 34) Bill 1999
Summary of the proposed amendments



The term "Crown" is adapted to "Government" in section 14 of Co-operative Societies Ordinance (Cap. 33), section 36(2) of the Gas Safety Ordinance (Cap. 51) and clause 3(C) of the Schedule to the Hong Kong and China Gas Company (Transfer of Incorporation) Ordinance (Cap. 1022).

Section 14 of Cap. 33 deals with creation of charges in favour of registered societies. It states that though the registered society has a first charge on its members' properties (including their agricultural and marine produce), this first charge has to be subject to any prior claim of the "Crown". Such claim should only concern the SAR Government.

Section 36(2) of the Gas Safety Ordinance (Cap. 51) relates to the liability of the "Crown" in tort for the act or omission of public officers. This matter is under the sole responsibility of the Government.

Clause 3(C) of the Schedule to Cap. 1022 prescribes disposing of and surrendering the Company's land to the "Crown" as one of the Company's objects in its memorandum. Relying on section 6 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1), "Crown" is adapted to the "Government" and is to be construed in accordance with Article 7 of the Basic Law, which means land within the HKSAR is State property and the HKSAR Government is responsible for their management and use.


The term "Crown" is adapted to the "State" in By-law 12 of the Hong Kong and Kowloon Wharf and Godown Company Limited By-laws (Cap. 1023 sub. leg.). This is a saving clause which provides that nothing in this set of by-laws is taken to restrict, derogate from or otherwise interfere with any power upon any person in the service of the "Crown". This reference is adapted to the "State" in accordance with section 7 of Schedule 9 to the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1).