Legislative Council

LC Paper No. LS 122/98-99

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 28 May 1999

Legal Service Division Further Report on
Adaptation of Laws (No. 18) Bill 1998

Members may recall that the Legal Service Division made a report to the House Committee on 22 January 1999 on the Bill (LegCo Paper No. LS 84/98-99 refers). To recap, the Bill adapts certain Ordinances relating to the incorporation of certain religious organizations 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.

2. The Bill proposes, among other things, the deletion in section 2 of the Dominican Missions Ordinance (Cap. 1018), the London Missionary Society Incorporation Ordinance (Cap. 1033) and the Missions Etrangeres Incorporation Ordinance (Cap. 1036) of the reference to the requirement of placing in the hands of the Governor satisfactory proof of the appointment of the Procurator before the incorporation of the missions concerned. According to the Administration, such requirement is already spent as all the missions had all been incorporated. At the House Committee meeting, we informed Members that we had written to the Administration asking for an explanation on how and why the proposed deletion was related to adaptation.

3. The Administration has replied that the proposed deletion should properly be made in an adaptation exercise for the following reasons:

  1. The deletion is necessitated mainly by the reference to "Governor" in the phrase "having been placed in the hands of the Governor satisfactory proof of his appointment". There is no question of deleting the reference to "Governor" alone as such deletion without any replacement would render the phrase defective in grammar and in substance. On the other hand, it would not be appropriate to replace "Governor" with "Chief Executive" because the act referred to in the phrase is no longer necessary as the missions concerned had all been incorporated; and

  2. alternatively, the proposed deletion is necessary as the retention of the historical reference would be awkward and potentially misleading. The proposed deletion is made on the ground that keeping the reference would pose a problem for the adaptation of other references in accordance with paragraph 9 of the "Guiding Principles and Glossary of Terms" issued by the Department of Justice in November 1998.

4. As a result of the Administration's clarification, we are satisfied that the proposed deletion falls within the scope of adaptation. Other amendments proposed by the Bill are along the same lines as some amendments proposed in the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998. Members agreed at the House Committee meeting on 22 January 1999 to defer consideration of this Bill until the Bills Committee on that Bill had completed work.

5. The Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998 was passed by the Legislative Council with amendments on 28 April 1999. Prior to its passage, the Administration agreed with the Bills Committee on that Bill that the provision on saving the rights of Her Majesty, etc. should be adapted to saving the rights of "the Central Authorities or the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under the Basic Law and other laws ...". Accordingly, Committee Stage amendments have been made to that effect to the Bill.

6. The Administration has now proposed to make similar amendments to the savings provision in this Bill. A copy of the draft Committee Stage amendments is at Annex A.

7. With the proposed Committee Stage amendments, we are satisfied that the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill are in order. Subject to Members' views, the Bill is ready for resumption Second Reading debate.


Prepared by

FUNG Sau-kuen, Connie
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
25 May 1999