HONG KONG HANSARD
LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL IN BRIEF    NO. 19

The Legislative Council normally meets in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Complex every Wednesday morning while in session. The proceedings of the meetings are recorded verbatim in the Official Record of Proceedings of the Legislative Council.

The Official Record of Proceedings of the Legislative Council is also known as the Hong Kong Hansard or the Hansard. With the Hansard of the British Parliament as a blueprint, it records Council meetings in first-person narration.

The first publication of the Hong Kong Hansard has not been specifically documented. However, G. B. Endacott, an expert in Hong Kong history, says in Government and People in Hong Kong 1841-1962: A Constitutional History, "copies [of the Hong Kong Hansard] exist from 1890 onwards and are noted on the title page as being 'reprinted from the Hong Kong Daily Press, revised by Members'." The Hong Kong Hansard was the official verbatim report of the proceedings of the Legislative Council at that time.

A TRUTHFUL RECORD OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

The Hong Kong Hansard is a verbatim record which gives a truthful report of the speeches made by all speakers on the agenda items at the Council meetings. Therefore, all information contained in the verbatim record is accurate, fair and true. From such information, the public may know what happened at the Council meetings, such as the policies of the Government at that time, the stance of Legislative Council Members on a particular issue, the views of various political parties on certain matters, etc. Likewise, this information may also facilitate the public, media, legal sector, as well as the court, to determine the legislative intent of laws.

PRODUCTION OF THE HONG KONG HANSARD

Basically, the Hong Kong Hansard is a verbatim record which reports the speeches made at the Council meetings. However, as most participants deliver their speeches in Cantonese, it is necessary for the Legislative Council Secretariat to convert the speeches from colloquial Cantonese to written Chinese for the purpose of recording when producing the Hansard. It involves conversion of the sentences and phrases from colloquial Cantonese to their equivalents in written Chinese. During the process, the transcribers and editors exercise prudence and caution in order to avoid distortion to the original meaning.

Erskine May, a British constitutional theorist and authority in parliamentary practice, illustrates the nature of parliamentary Hansard in his Parliamentary Practice as follows: "(The Official Report), though not strictly verbatim, is substantially the verbatim report, with repetitions and redundancies omitted and with obvious mistakes corrected, but which on the other hand leaves out nothing that adds to the meaning of the speech or illustrates the argument." This has been widely accepted by parliaments around the world, as well as the Legislative Council Secretariat, as a principle for producing the Hong Kong Hansard.

To ensure the accuracy of the edited version of the Hong Kong Hansard, the Legislative Council Secretariat will prepare a draft version and deliver it to the participants of Council meetings (including Members and the Administration) for comment. The participants may give their views on or propose amendments to the draft version. Only minor changes accepted by the Clerk to the Legislative Council will be included in the confirmed version.

The Translation and Interpretation Division of the Legislative Council Secretariat is responsible for the production of the Official Record of Proceedings of the Legislative Council. At present, three versions are prepared during the production process of the Hong Kong Hansard, namely the draft and confirmed versions (floor), both of which are verbatim records, and the translated version, which is available in Chinese and English.

Hong Kong Hansard.Hong Kong Hansard.

Legislative Council Secretariat
Education Service Team
www.legco.gov.hk
Apr 2015

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