Legislative Council

LC Paper No. LS 251/98-99

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 24 September 1999

Legal Service Division Report on
Adaptation of Laws (No. 23) Bill 1999

Object(s) of the Bill

To adapt certain Ordinances and their subsidiary legislation 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.

LegCo Brief Reference

2. S/F(15) to HAB/CR/1/19/45 issued on 29 June 1999 by the Home Affairs Bureau.

Date of First Reading

3. 14 July 1999.


4. A list of the Ordinances and subsidiary legislation affected by the Bill is at Annex A. A summary of the proposed amendments is at Annex B. The Bill seeks to revise the Ordinances and subsidiary legislation dealing mainly with family, matrimonial and anti-discrimination laws.

5. The Bill does not seek to introduce any change in policy. The proposed amendments are essentially technical drafting changes to the Ordinances and subsidiary legislation.

6. If enacted, the Bill will take retrospective effect from 1 July 1997 to ensure that there is consistency in the interpretation of all laws on and after 1 July 1997. The retrospective effect will not apply to provisions involving criminal offences or penalties.

Public Consultation

7. There has not been any public consultation on the Bill.

Consultation with the LegCo Panel

8. No consultation with any LegCo Panel on the details of the Bill has been carried out.


9. We are satisfied that the proposed amendments are technical in nature. Subject to Members' view, the Bill is ready for resumption of Second Reading debate.


Prepared by

Lam Ping-man, Stephen
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
19 August 1999


Annex A

List of Ordinances and subsidiary legislation
affected by the Adaptation of Laws (No. 23) Bill 1999

Item No.Ordinances and subsidiary legislation
1.Legitimacy Ordinance (Cap. 184)
2.Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance (Cap. 192)
3.Protection of Children and Juveniles Ordinance (Cap. 213) and its subsidiary legislation
4.Adoption Ordinance (Cap. 290) and its subsidiary legislation
5.Sex Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 480)
6.Disability Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 487)
7.Child Abduction and Custody Ordinance (Cap. 512)
8.Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 527)

Annex B

Adaptation of Laws (No. 23) Bill 1999
Summary of the proposed amendments

    A. Amendments

Notes :

1 Section 2(1) of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance defines "adopted" to mean adopted in pursuance of an adoption order made under any enactment in force in Hong Kong at any time relating to the adoption of children or any corresponding imperial enactment. The Bill proposes to repeal the reference to "or any corresponding imperial enactment" without replacement on the ground that such adoption is recognised under section 17 of the Adoption Ordinance (Cap. 290) which provides that where a person has been adopted in any place outside Hong Kong and the adoption is one to which section 17 applies, then for the purposes of the Adoption Ordinance and all other Hong Kong enactments, the adoption shall have the same effect as an adoption order validly made under the Adoption Ordinance.

2 The decision of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on the Treatment of the Laws Previously in Force in Hong Kong in accordance with Article 160 of the Basic Law adopted on 23 February 1997 provides that provisions giving a superior legal status of the English language shall be construed as providing that both the Chinese and English languages are to be official languages. It is thus proposed that rule 2(3) of the Adoption Rules is to be repealed.