LCQ 11: Implementation of recommendations on law reform

     Following is a question by the Hon Paul Tse and a written reply by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, at the Legislative Council meeting today (January 26):


     It has been reported that the Law Reform Commission (the Commission) has completed 27 reports since 1997, but the Government has not yet implemented the law reform recommendations contained in 22 of these reports.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the details of the Government's follow-up actions on the Commission's various law reform recommendations since 1997, and the reasons why some of the recommendations have not yet been followed up;  

(b) whether it has assessed the specific impact of the Government not following up, in a timely manner, most of the Commission's recommendations on amending legislation; if it has, of the results of the assessment; if not, whether it can immediately conduct such an assessment and make improvements accordingly; and

(c) whether it will make reference to the statutory procedures of other countries, and require the Government to handle the law reform recommendations of the Commission or other relevant statutory bodies within a statutory period, so as to ensure that Hong Kong's legislation can keep abreast of time?



     The recommendations put forward by the Law Reform Commission (LRC) are the result of detailed studies by the LRC.  The Administration attaches great importance to these recommendations and agrees in principle that timely actions should be taken to follow up on the recommendations of the LRC.  However, it should be noted that the complexity and scope of the subject matter of LRC reports vary greatly and some reports require longer periods of time than others for bureaux to consider.

     Bureaux concerned have been considering the recommendations set out in LRC reports carefully.  Some of these recommendations have already been implemented.  Bureaux will also inform the public on their response to those recommendations which require further consideration or remain unimplemented.  Details of the follow-up actions taken by relevant bureaux on the LRC reports published since 1997 are set out at Annex.

     The Administration is aware that in some jurisdictions, statutory or administrative guidelines are in place for consideration of reports of their law reform agencies.  While such guidelines encourage early consideration of law reform proposals, we consider it important that any such guidelines should allow the Administration sufficient time for proper consideration of law reform proposals, especially those involving complex or controversial matters.  To improve the existing mechanism, for all new LRC reports published in future, relevant bureaux would provide a detailed public response (setting out which recommendations they accept, reject or intend to implement in modified form) to the Secretary for Justice (as the Chairman of the LRC) as soon as practicable.  In any event, an interim response setting out the timetable for completion of the detailed response and the steps taken will be provided within six months following the publication of the LRC reports.  

Ends/Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Issued at HKT 11:35