For discussion EC(96-97)44
on 13 November 1996


Subhead 003 Recoverable salaries and allowances

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee -

  1. the creation of the following new rank -

    Assistant Director of Housing/Legal Advice
    (DL2) ($102,900 - $109,250); and

  2. the creation of one permanent post of Assistant Director of Housing/Legal Advice in the Housing Department December 1996.


The Housing Authority (the Authority) at present obtains legal advice from a Deputy Principal Crown Counsel (DPCC) (DL2) on secondment from the Legal Department. Given the Authority’s financially autonomous and independent status, we need to regularise the interim arrangement to provide long term independent legal services to the Authority. independent status.


2. We propose to create a new rank and a permanent post of Assistant Director of Housing/Legal Advice (DL2) December 1996 to head the in-house Legal Advice Division (LAD) in the Housing Department to provide legal services to the Authority.


3. Since its establishment in December 1994, the LAD headed by a DPCC on secondment from the Legal Department has been providing legal services to the Authority in all matters within the jurisdiction of the Authority. The LAD also gives legal advice and assistance to the Housing Department (HD), as the executive arm of the Authority, in all matters including judicial reviews, arbitration of disputes arising from building projects, legislative amendments, funds management, housing management, sales of Home Ownership Courts and prosecution of housing-related offences. In his capacity as the Legal Adviser, the DPCC attends meetings of the Authority and its Committees, the Housing Panel and the Bills Committee of the LegCo, as well as various District Boards.

4. In consultation with the Attorney General, Director of Housing (D of H) has recently reviewed thelawyer. The continued need for a seconded Government lawyer to head the LAD to be headed by a seconded Government lawyer. The secondment arrangement which was originally envisaged as an interim measure to help the Authority establish an in-house LAD. Under the secondment arrangement, the Government seconded lawyer provided legal services to the Authority and, in addition, was towould, in addition to providing the Authority legal services ,to ensure passing on also pass onto the LAD Department’s of the HD the specialised expertise and experience of the Legal Department has gained through its long established working relationship with the Authority in the interpretation of the various Ordinances and Regulations relating to the construction, maintenance and the management of public housing estates and to the administration and development of land for housing.

5. Therough the review conducted by D of H, the Authority considers review has concluded that there is a need to develop a longer term plan for the LAD with a clear mission and vision has to be developed in order to strengthen and continue the capacity of the LAD to meet the demand of the Authority and HD. Given that the secondment of the DPCC would expire on 8 December 1996, Authority’s own lawyers have now accumulated sufficient professional expertise and working knowledge pertinent to the activities of the Authority, the D of H considers it opportune to regularise the position by creating a departmental post at the same directorate rank of DL2 to head the LAD, so that it would function independently. This would provide the Authority with long term independent legal services free of any conflict or likely conflict of interest situations which may arise between the Government and the Authority, such as any potential disputes over the land formation cost for public housing projects due to the Government, or over the legal interpretation of the financial arrangements between the Government and the Authority.

6. In line with the arrangements for other departmental posts requiring legal qualifications at the directorate level, the new post of Assistant Director/Legal Advice will be open to suitably qualified and experienced legal/judicial officers in the public service. The main duties and responsibilities of the post are at Enclosure 1. It We will be set up the post in the Administration Branch under the supervision of the Deputy Director/Administration of the HD. The existing and the proposed organisation charts of the Administration Branch are at Enclosures 2 and 3.


7. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at mid-point-POINT is -


No. of Post

New permanent post



The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and on-costs, is $2,065,428. There will not be any other additional staffing and financial implications.

8. We shall recover the full staff cost of this proposal from the Authority.


9. On 9 December 1994, the Finance Committee approved the creation of one supernumerary post of DPCC (DL2) in the HD for a period of two years to facilitate the secondment of an officer from the Legal Department. The secondment was an interim measure to help set up the LAD become operational without delay. The arrangement also allowed the HD Department to identify the requirements of the LAD and its structure, and to tap into the expertise of the Legal Department. The LAD is supported by 23 non directorate staff comprising an Assistant Legal Adviser at the Senior Crown Counsel level, two Housing Managers, four Assistant Housing Managers, six Housing Officers and 10 clerical/secretarial staff.


10. The Civil Service Branch supports the creation of the proposed post in recognition of the need to provide an independent legal service to the Authority. The grading and ranking of the proposed post are appropriate having regard to its duties and the professional input required.


11. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the post would be appropriate if the post were to be created.

Housing Department
November 1996

Enclosure 1 to EC(96-97)44

Job Description for Assistant Director of Housing/Legal Advice

Overall role and objective

As Head of the Legal Advice Division, the Assistant Director of Housing/Legal Advice is responsible to the Deputy Director /Administration for providing legal advice and service to the Housing Authority and Housing Department in all matters arising from the functions and role of the Authority.

Major Responsibilities

  1. To head the Legal Advice Division of the Housing Department (HD), to plan its development, and to oversee the proper functioning of the Division as a whole.
  2. To supervise the professional and supporting staff working under him in the Legal Advice Division and to be responsible for their professional development and training.
  3. To act as Legal Adviser to the Housing Authority and its Committees/Sub-Committees at their meetings.
  4. To attend ExCo, LegCo, District Boards as and when required.
  5. To assist in drafting legislation or preparing drafting instructions for the Law Draftsman and to draft subsidiary legislation and by-laws as instructed by the Housing Authority.
  6. To provide legal advice and service to the Housing Department, as the executive arm of the Housing Authority.
  7. To advise the Housing Authority any civil litigation, mediation and/or arbitration.
  8. To consult the Director of Public Prosecutions before giving advice on the institution or conduct of criminal proceedings and, when necessary, issuing instructions.
  9. To advise on the recovery of debts related to the Home Ownership Scheme and Public Rental Housing in the Small Claims Tribunal.
  10. To process applications for legal representation on behalf of staff brought to the court for incidents arising out of the execution of their duties

Last Updated on 12 August 1999