This section provides further information about the Basic Law and various Ordinances relevant to the operation, functions and powers of the Legislative Council.
The Basic Law is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region which provides for, among others, the functions and powers of the Legislative Council. Certain interpretations (e.g. Interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law) and decisions (e.g. Decision on the Continuing Discharge of Duties by the Sixth Term Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region) by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress are also of relevance to the Legislative Council.
Under section 12 of the Ordinance, the Director of Audit is required to submit an audit report each year to the President of the Legislative Council. The report is considered by the Public Accounts Committee of the Legislative Council to ensure financial accountability of the Government to the Legislative Council.
Under Rule 83 of the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council, Members of the Legislative Council (hereinafter known as "Members") are required to furnish the Clerk to the Legislative Council with the particulars of their registrable interests including, among others, remunerated directorships of public or private companies, and if the company concerned has a holding company within the meaning of section 13 of the Ordinance, also the name of that holding company. The main purpose of the registration of interests is to provide information of any pecuniary interest or other material benefit which a Member receives, and such information might reasonably be thought by others to influence a Member's actions, speeches or votes in the Legislative Council, as well as actions taken in the capacity as a Member.
According to sections 54B and 246B of the Ordinance, copyright is not infringed by anything done -
- for the purposes of the proceedings of the Legislative Council;
- by or on behalf of the Members of the Legislative Council or The Legislative Council Commission for the purposes of the exercise and discharge by the Legislative Council of its powers and functions; or
- for the purposes of reporting the proceedings of the Legislative Council.
By virtue of section 10 of the Ordinance, it is a defence in any civil or criminal proceedings regarding the publication by the defendant or by his servant of any report of the Legislative Council if the report was published by order or under the authority of the Legislative Council.
The Ordinance provides for the establishment of the Electoral Affairs Commission for the purpose of, among others, regulating the procedure for providing financial assistance to candidates under the Legislative Council Ordinance (Cap. 542) and the District Councils Ordinance (Cap. 547). The Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation (e.g. Cap. 541A to Cap. 541D) also contain electoral provisions relating to elections of the Legislative Council.
The Ordinance prohibits corrupt and illegal conduct at elections; regulates electoral advertising; and imposes requirements with respect to the receipt of donations and the expenditure of money at or in connection with elections. The Ordinance also applies to the general elections and by-elections of the Legislative Council.
Section 7A of the Ordinance provides that the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall obtain the endorsement of the Legislative Council for the appointment or removal of the judges of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal. Under Article 73(7) of the Basic Law, the Legislative Council has the power and function to endorse such appointment or removal.
The Ordinance provides for the establishment of The Legislative Council Commission, which provides, among others, administrative support and services to the Legislative Council and supervises the operation of the Legislative Council Secretariat.
Sections 34 and 35 of the Ordinance provide for the tabling before the Legislative Council, and approval, amendment and repeal by the Legislative Council, of subsidiary legislation.
The Ordinance provides for the constitution, convening and dissolution of the Legislative Council, as well as the election of Members of the Legislative Council.
The Ordinance mainly declares and defines certain powers, privileges and immunities of the Legislative Council ("LegCo"), its Members and officers, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("Chief Executive") and public officers designated by the Chief Executive in relation to attendance at sittings of LegCo and its committees. The Ordinance also secures freedom of speech in LegCo, regulates admittance to and conduct within the precincts of the Chamber of LegCo, makes provision for disciplinary sanctions against Members of LegCo in certain circumstances, provides for the giving of evidence in proceedings before LegCo or its committees, and for offences in respect of such proceedings.
Under Article 104 of the Basic Law, Members of the Legislative Council are required to take an oath when assuming office. The Ordinance prescribes the relevant oath.
The Ordinance provides that in general, an ordinance shall be enacted in both the Chinese and English languages which are the official languages of Hong Kong for the purposes of communication between the Government or any public officer and members of the public and for court proceedings.
The Legislative Council Secretariat is one of the organizations to which the Ordinance applies.
Personal data contained in the submissions received by the Legislative Council are also subject to the protection of the Ordinance.
Under the Ordinance -
- the Legislative Council and The Legislative Council Commission are public bodies; and
- Members of the Legislative Council, and members or employees of The Legislative Council Commission, are "public servants".
Therefore, the unlawful offering or acceptance of advantage by any Member of the Legislative Council or any member or employee of The Legislative Council Commission are offences under the Ordinance.
The Ordinance provides for the fees payable in respect of private bills introduced by any Member of the Legislative Council.
The Ordinance provides for the control and management of public finances in Hong Kong. Under Article 73 of the Basic Law, government budgets, taxation and public expenditure require the approval of the Legislative Council.
If a bill or resolution whereby any tax, duty, etc., would be imposed, removed or altered, the Ordinance empowers the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to make orders giving full force and effect of law to the provisions of the bill or resolution until, for example, the bill or resolution is either approved or rejected by the Legislative Council, or any other event stipulated by the Ordinance happens.