LegCo Panel on the Public Service
Meeting on 27 January 1997
Regulations on the Appointment, Removal and Discipline
of Civil Servants after 1997


The legal authority for the administration of the Civil Service is provided for in the Letters Patent and Colonial Regulations. The Administration is considering how best to provide for the continuation of this authority after 1997.


2. The administration of the Civil Service, including the appointment, removal and discipline of civil servants, is provided for in the Letters Patent, Colonial Regulations and Civil Service Regulations. The Letters Patent and Colonial Regulations constitute imperial legislation and will lapse on 1 July 1997. Civil Service Regulations are administrative rules made by the Secretary for the Civil Service under delegated authority. They will continue after 1997.

3. Letters Patent XIV and XVI provide for the appointment and dismissal of public officers respectivley. The Colonial Regulations deal in some detail with the management of the public service. Many of the provisions have been ‘localised’ as Civil Service Regulations and will be unaffected by the change of sovereignty. But the basic power to appoint, remove and discipline civil servants is not contained in Civil Service Regulations. The detailed disciplinary procedures which apply to the great majority of civil servants are also contained in Colonial Regulations, not in Civil Service Regulations. It is these provisions that we need to retain in one form or another.

4. We also need to consider what to do about Colonial Regulations 68-70 which provide the right for civil servants to petition the Governor, the Secretary of State and The Queen. Article 48(13) of the Basic Law provides a general right for residents of the Special Administrative Region to petition the Chief Executive. We are considering with staff side representatives the proposal for a separate appeal process for civil servants.

Present position

5. The issues are complex, not least because the Letters Patent and Colonial Regulations were made under the Royal Prerogative. We are considering how best to proceed but will ensure that there is no question of a lacuna in our appointments and discipline system after 30 June 1997.

Civil Service Branch
AP 221/9 (C)(95) V
16 January 1997

Last Updated on 21 August 1998