Knowledge of the Legislative Council

You may know the functions of the Legislative Council. But you may not know about the interesting facts of the Legislative Council? Shall we explore them together?
The Legislative Council Complex
  • The Legislative Council Complex is located at 1 Legislative Council Road near Tamar site. H.M.S Tamar was the name of a British naval vessel which arrived in Hong Kong in 1897. In memory of this vessel, the British named the naval station in Hong Kong as “H.M.S Tamar” at that time.
  • The Legislative Council Complex is the first purpose-built building for the Hong Kong Legislature. The construction of the Complex commenced in 2008 and was completed in 2011. The Complex is composed of the Council Block and the Office Block. Adjoining the Complex are the Legislative Council Garden and the Legislative Council Square. Apart from providing conference facilities for the Legislative Council, offices for Legislative Council Members and staff, and working spaces for the media representatives, there is a wide range of facilities in the Complex for members of the public to gain first-hand knowledge of the work of the Legislative Council and express their views.
The Legislative Council Emblem
  • The emblem of the Legislative Council was designed by a designer recommended by Mr Bernard CHAN, a former Legislative Council Member, and was adopted by resolution at the Council meeting held on 8 July 1999.
  • The Legislative Council emblem combining “立”, the first character of 立法會 (Legislative Council in Chinese), and “L”, the first letter of “Legislative Council”, reflects that Hong Kong is a place where Chinese and Western cultures blend in perfect harmony. The unique role of the Legislative Council is well reflected by the use of the grey character for dignity and the yellow background for harmony.
The President of the Legislative Council & the President seat
  • According to Article 71 of the Basic Law, the President of the Legislative Council shall be elected by and from among the members of the Legislative Council. Mrs Rita FAN HSU Lai-tai, who was elected the President of the Council in the first three terms, was the first female President of the Legislature in Hong Kong. Mr Jasper TSANG Yok-sing was elected the President of the Fourth and Fifth Legislative Council. The President of the Sixth and Seventh Legislative Council is Honourable Andrew LEUNG Kwan-yuen.
  • Article 72 of the Basic Law also stipulates that the powers and functions of the President of the Council shall include: presiding over meetings; deciding on the agenda; deciding on the time of meetings; calling special sessions during the recess; and exercising other powers and functions as prescribed in the rules of procedures of the Legislative Council.
  • The seat on the centre line of the Chamber is the President's seat. Before Hong Kong's return to China, the President's seat had a St. Edward's crown carving on it. It was transferred to the Hong Kong Museum of History after 30 June 1997. The national emblem of the People's Republic of China and the emblem of HKSAR are hung on the wooden panel behind the President's current seat. To show respect for the Legislature, no one is allowed to sit on this seat except the President of the Council.

Seating plan for the Chamber
  • While the President of the Legislative Council (“the President”) presides over Council meetings on the President's podium in the Chamber, the other 89 Members take designated seats in the Chamber. They are seated to the left and in front of the President.
  • Public officers are seated to the right of the President when attending Council meetings. The seats at the front row for public officers are, from left to right, allocated to the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Secretary for Justice and the Financial Secretary respectively. Other public officers do not have assigned seats.

The longest Council meeting and longest time spent on a bill
  • During the session, the Legislative Council normally meets every Wednesday at 11 am. The second last meeting in the third term of the Legislative Council, which lasted for 62 hours and 3 minutes, was the longest after Hong Kong's return to China. The meeting was commenced at 11 am on 9 July 2008, and continued on 10, 11, 12 and 13 July. The meeting was finally ended at 6:54 pm on 13 July 2008. Besides transacting questions, subsidiary legislation and motions, Members scrutinized five bills during the meeting. They spent 24 hours and 5 minutes to debate on the Second and Third Readings of the Independent Police Complaints Council Bill.
  • In the history of the Hong Kong Legislature, the Appropriation Bill 2014 is the bill which passage has taken the longest time. From 9 April 2014 when the Second Reading debate on the Bill resumed until the Bill's passage on 4 June 2014, the Legislative Council spent more than 148 hours and 36 minutes spanning 8 Council meetings to scrutinize the Bill.
The Ante-Chamber and the gong
  • The Ante-Chamber, provided with TV sets, law books, newspapers and magazines, is a place for Members to take a rest and chat with each other. Apart from taking a rest, Members often study papers in the Ante-Chamber to prepare for meetings.
  • In the Legislative Council Building, there was a gong at the entrance of the Ante-Chamber. The gong was originally placed there for decoration purpose. A convention has gradually developed since the 1980s that the gong was given a ceremonial purpose, i.e. a Legislative Council Secretariat officer struck the gong to remind Members to enter the Chamber just before the commencement of a Council meeting. After the relocation of the Legislative Council to the Legislative Council Complex, the gong has been placed in the Ante-Chamber of the Complex for decoration purpose.