Legislative Council

LC Paper No. LS76/98-99

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 18 December 1998

Legal Service Division Report on
District Councils Bill

Object(s) of the Bill

To provide for the establishment, composition and functions of District Councils and the election of their members.

LegCo Brief Reference

2. CAB C 4/17/7 IV issued by the Constitutional Affairs Bureau and dated 10 December 1998.

Date of First Reading

3. 16 December 1998.


4. The Bill will establish a District Council in each District as declared in the Bill. These District Councils will replace the existing Provisional District Boards (PDB) established under the Provisional District Boards Ordinance (Cap. 366), under which the term of the appointed membership of the PDB shall end not later than 31 December 1999.

5. The new District Councils will be established on 1 January 2000. These will be composed of elected members, appointed members and, in some Districts, ex officio members who are Chairmen of Rural Committees in the Districts.

6. Detailed provisions are made relating to the election, appointment and ex officio membership. Many of the provisions, e.g. relating to candidature, electors, election and polling procedures, election petitions, disqualification etc., are similar to corresponding provisions in the Legislative Council Ordinance (Cap. 542). The votes will be counted in accordance with the simple or relative majority system of election (otherwise known as the "first past the post" voting system).

7. The functions of the new District Councils will be similar to the PDB's except that particular reference is made to food and environmental hygiene services in their advisory role on matters affecting the well-being of the people in the Districts.

8. Provisions for the number of and declaration of districts, establishment of District Councils, number of elected and appointed members are made in Schedules 1 to 3 of the Bill. These Schedules are made amendable by the Chief Executive in Council by order.

Public Consultation

9. Extensive public consultation is said to have been conducted on the future development of District Boards as part and parcel of the Administration's review of district organisations.

Consultation with LegCo Panel

10. The LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs has been consulted on various occasions on the policy principles behind the Bill also as part and parcel of the Administration's review of district organisations.


11. The Bill contains comprehensive provisions on the establishment of the new District Councils. Members may find it necessary to study it carefully.

12. Meanwhile, we will continue to examine the legal aspects of the Bill in the usual manner so as to assist Members in their scrutiny of the Bill.

Prepared by

CHEUNG Ping-Kam, Arthur
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
16 December 1998