PLC Paper No. LS 93

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Provisional Legislative Council
on 13 February 1998

Legal Service Division Report on
Adaptation of Laws (Courts and Tribunals) Bill

Object of the Bill

To adapt references to court nomenclature and titles of judges in the Ordinances of Hong Kong so as to bring them into conformity with the Basic Law and with the status of Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

PLC Brief Reference

2.CSO/ADM CR2/3231/97 (98) Pt. 6 issued by Administrative Wing, Chief Secretary for Administration's Office dated 26 January 1998.

Date of First Reading

3.11 February 1998.


4.By virtue of Hong Kong Reunification Ordinance (110 of 1997), the court nomenclature and titles of judges have been changed as from 1 July 1997 onwards. For instance, the Supreme Court has been substituted by the High Court. The High Court before 1 July 1997 has been renamed as the Court of First Instance. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is now referred to as the Chief Judge of the High Court. However, these references to courts and judges have not been adapted to each individual Ordinance by way of textual amendments.

5.The main purpose of this Bill is to adapt the court nomenclatures and titles of judges in about 230 Ordinances in a comprehensive manner. The 12 Ordinances relating to the administration of justice are the main items for adaptation.

6.The Bill, if enacted, would be deemed to have come into operation on 1 July 1997, other than item 134(g) in the Schedule to the Bill which will come into operation on the same day appointed for the commencement of the relevant section of the Mental Health (Amendment) Ordinance 1997 (81 of 1997). Clause 1(3) of the Bill states that this retrospectivity is subject to article 12 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights as set out in Part II of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (Cap. 383) and therefore will not apply to criminality.

Public Consultation

7.The Administration considered that most of the amendments are straight-forward adaptation and public consultation is not necessary.

Consultation with PLC Panel

8.No consultation with any PLC Panel has been carried out.


9.This adaptation exercise involves more than 230 Ordinances and are mostly technical in nature. The Legal Service Division is still scrutinizing the Bill and will submit a further report when scrutiny has been completed.

Prepared by

HO Ying-chu, Anita
Assistant Legal Adviser
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
10 February 1998