Legislative Council

LC Paper No. LS 43/98-99

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 13 November 1998

Legal Service Division Report on
Adaptation of Laws (No. 5) Bill 1998

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. CSO/ADM CR 2/3231/97(98) Pt. 9 dated 22 October 1998 issued by the Administration Wing, Chief Secretary for Administration's Office.

Date of First Reading

3. 11 November 1998.


4. The Ordinances affected by these amendments are at Annex A. A summary of the proposed amendments in the Bill relating mainly to nomenclatures of courts is set out in Annex B. As for Annex C, it lists out the provisions that are repealed or amended. They are not related to nomenclatures but only amendments of a technical nature. Members may note that the main exercise for the adaptation of court-related nomenclature and titles of judges has been achieved by the Adaptation of Laws (Courts and Tribunals) Ordinance (Ordinance No. 25 of 1998). The present Bill deals with some remaining adaptations and are mostly terminological changes together with two technical changes contained in Annex C.

5. The Legal Service Division has sought clarification with the Administration on certain technical points. The Administration stated in their reply that the points we raised will be dealt with in other adaptation bills. According to the Administration, there will be another bill amending some other court-related Ordinances.

6. If enacted, the Bill 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.

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. In light of the fact that the Administration has acknowledged the technical points we have raised and made clear that they would be dealt with in future legislative exercise, we would recommend that there is no need for the setting up of a Bills Committee for pursuing those points. However, resumption of Second Reading debate of this Bill should only take place after the Bills Committee on the Adaptation of Laws Bill 1998 has made its report so that any general points on the adaptation of laws exercise which may be recommended by the Bills Committee could be considered in the context of this Bill.


Prepared by
HO Ying-chu, Anita
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
9 November 1998

Annex A

List of Ordinances affected by the Adaptation of Laws (No. 5) Bill 1998

Item No.



Lands Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 17)


Labour Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 25)


Municipal Services Appeals Boards Ordinance (Cap. 220)


Magistrates Ordinance (Cap. 227)


Administrative Appeals Board Ordinance (Cap. 442)


Coroners Ordinance (Cap. 504)

Annex B

Adaptation of Laws (No. 5) Bill 1998

Summary of the proposed amendments on terminology

Original Terms

Proposed Amendments

Governor/Governor in Council

Chief Executive/
Chief Executive in Council

Attorney General's chambers

Department of Justice

Annex C

Adaptation of Laws (No. 5) Bill 1998

Textual Amendments which may be technical in nature



Ordinance/ Section

Repealed Provision

Amended Provision

1 of
Sch. 1

Lands Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 17), section 15

Chief Executive11

Chief Executive in Council

2 of Sch. 2

Labour Tribunal Ordinance (Cap. 25), Para.1 (a) of the Schedule

"an overseas contract as defined in the Contracts for Employment Outside Hong Kong Ordinance (Cap. 78)." 2

"a contract to which the Contracts for Employment Outside Hong Kong Ordinance (Cap. 78) applies."


1 In this section, it is stated that the Chief Executive may amend the Schedule. The Bill now proposes to amend the term to"Chief Executive in Council" so as to comply with Article 56 of the Basic Law.

2 There is no such definition of"overseas contract" in the Ordinance. The proposed amendment is a correction of error merely technical in nature.