LC Paper No. LS146/98-99
Paper for the House Committee meetingObject of the Bill
of the Legislative Council
on 23 April 1999
Legal Service Division Report on
Small Claims Tribunal (Amendment) Bill 1999
To make improvements to the scope and operation of the Small Claims Tribunal (the Tribunal).
LegCo Brief Reference
2. CSO/ADM CR 3/3231/91 (99) issued by the Administration Wing, Chief Secretary for Administration's Office in April 1999.
Date of First Reading
3. 21 April 1999.
4. The Bill results from a review conducted in October 1994 by the Judiciary on the operation of the Tribunal. The proposed amendments in the Bill are intended to improve the scope and operation of the Tribunal.
5. The main proposals are -
- adjustment of the financial limit of $15,000, set in 1988, to $50,000;
- allowing the transfer of proceedings from the Tribunal to the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board, the Lands Tribunal or the Labour Tribunal;
- empowering the Tribunal to deal with any non-compliance with its directions;
- enabling service of the Tribunal documents to be effected by post, registered or otherwise;
- creating an offence for insulting behaviour at its proceedings;
- allowing legal representation only in proceedings when the Tribunal deals with insulting behaviour at its proceedings;
- empowering the Court of First Instance, replacing the Court of Appeal, to review the decision of the Tribunal concerning transfer of proceedings; and
- granting immunity to the adjudicator and witnesses.
6. According to the LegCo Brief (paragraph 9), both the Law Society of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Bar Association have been consulted on the Bill.
Consultation with LegCo Panel
7. The previous LegCo Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services was briefed on the findings and recommendations of the 1994 review in December 1995. The same Panel of the current Legislative Council was also consulted on the proposed increase in the financial jurisdiction of the Tribunal at its meeting on 19 January 1999.
8. The Bill is concerned with improving various aspects of the operation of the Tribunal and does not appear to involve any major principle or policy. Unless Members have other views, the Bill is ready for resumption of Second Reading debate.
9. The drafting of the Bill is in order.
CHEUNG Ping-Kam, Arthur
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
20 April 1999