Roles of President
The President of the Legislative Council ("the President"), who is elected by and from among Legislative Council Members in accordance with Article 71 of the Basic Law, plays the presiding role, administrative role and ceremonial role, and ensures the smooth conduct of the Legislative Council meetings.
The President shall be a Chinese citizen of not less than 40 years of age, who is a permanent resident of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("HKSAR") with no right of abode in any foreign country and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 20 years.
As prescribed in Articles 66 to 79 of the Basic Law, The Legislative Council Commission Ordinance (Cap. 443), the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance (Cap. 382) and the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("RoP"), the President performs the following roles in the Legislative Council.
Decides on the time of meetings
The President determines the day and hour of Council meetings. He or she may at any time change the day or hour, suspend a meeting or adjourn the Legislative Council.
Calls meetings for urgent business
The President shall at the request of the Chief Executive, call emergency Council meetings. In addition, during any period when the Legislative Council is in recess between the end of one session and the beginning of the next session, the President may call special Council meetings on such day and at such hour as he or she may specify.
Presides over meetings
The President presides over Council meetings and ensures that business is transacted in an orderly way during the Council meetings. In the absence of the President, the President’s Deputy shall preside at the Council meeting and enjoys all those powers conferred by RoP on the President that are exercisable in respect of the meeting. The Chairman of the House Committee is the President’s Deputy.
Decides on agenda
The President decides the agenda of the Legislative Council which is printed in both Chinese and English. All items of business for a meeting are placed on the agenda for that meeting in the order specified in RoP. However, the President has the power to select the amendments to be proposed to a motion or bill on the agenda, to direct motions or amendments considered by him or her to be cognate to be combined, and to set a time limit on the consideration of such motion or bill.
The President is responsible for the observance of the rules of order in the Legislative Council and his or her decision on a point of order shall be final. Where the President is of the opinion that the raising of a point of order is an abuse of procedure, he or she may decide when and how to deal with the point of order so raised.
The President may direct a Member to discontinue his or her speech if the Member persists in irrelevance or tedious repetition of his or her own or other Members’ arguments in the debate.
The President may order a Member to withdraw immediately from the Legislative Council for the remainder of that meeting in the circumstance that the Member’s conduct is grossly disorderly. If the President considers the above-mentioned sanction inadequate, the President may, at any time he or she considers appropriate, name such Member. A motion will then be moved by the President's Deputy for the Legislative Council to decide whether the Member should be suspended from the service of the Legislative Council for a specified period.
The President may order that any member of the press or the public who behaves, or appears likely to behave in a disorderly manner, be taken away from a Council meeting.
The President is also the Chairman of The Legislative Council Commission, which is a statutory body and provides administrative support and services for the Legislative Council and its Members through the Legislative Council Secretariat.
The Legislative Council Commission is empowered to employ staff of the Legislative Council Secretariat and oversee its work, determine the organization and administration of support services and facilities, formulate and execute policies on their effective operation and expend funds in ways it sees fit to support these activities.
On protocol arrangement, the President is accorded the seventh place in the official precedence list following the Chief Executive, the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal, former Chief Executives of the HKSAR, the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Financial Secretary and the Secretary for Justice. He or she is the representative of the Legislative Council on ceremonial and formal occasions.