PLC Paper No. LS 96

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

Legal Service Division Report on
Adaptation of Laws (Crown Land) Bill

Object of the Bill

To amend references to the Crown in relation to land in the laws of Hong Kong.

Provisional LegCo Brief Reference

2.PELB(CR)10/32(97) issued by the Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau in January 1998.

Date of First Reading

3.11 February 1998.


4.The Bill provides textual amendment of references to the Crown in relation to land in the laws of Hong Kong. The purpose of this technical exercise is to conform with Article 7 of the Basic Law, which states -

孏he land and natural resources within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be State property. The Government of the Hong Kong Administrative Region shall be responsible for their management, use and development and for their lease or grant to individuals, legal persons or organisations for use or development. The revenues derived therefrom shall be exclusively at the disposal of the government of the Region.�

5.The Bill proposes to replace 鏠rown�with 䥲overnment�unless the context otherwise requires. It does not seek to introduce any change in the policy as reflected in items 1 and 2 of Schedule 8 to the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) which were added by the Hong Kong Reunification Ordinance (110 of 1997) (鐈KRO�. The Administration believes that this adaptation exercise will avoid any uncertainties of interpretation and possible confusion arising in related policy areas.

6.According to paragraph 5 of the PLC Brief, another bill entitled daptation of Laws (Interpretative Provisions) Bill will be introduced on 11 February 1998 to add a new section 6 in the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1) to provide that a reference to 䥲overnment property�in an ordinance shall be construed in accordance with Article 7 of the Basic Law. Such amendment appears to be relevant to the amendments proposed by this Bill and it is advisable that consideration of this bill should include that part of the other bill which relates to 䥲overnment property� However, the Adaptation of Laws (Interpretative Provisions) Bill will not be introduced on 11 February 1998 and the Administration has provided an explanation in the letter at Annex.

7.The Bill, if enacted, would be deemed to have come into operation on 1 July 1997 to tie in with the commencement date of the HKRO. The Bill also provides that such retrospectivity will not apply to provisions involving criminal offences or penalties.

Public Consultation

8.No public consultation has been carried out.

Consultation with the Provisional LegCo Panel

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


10.The Legal Service Division is still scrutinizing the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill. A further report will be made in due course.


Prepared by

Wong Sze-man, Bernice
Assistant Legal Adviser
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
11 February 1998