Government will not appeal against Lau residence ruling
By a STAFF REPORTER
OFFICIALS announced yesterday they would not appeal against a court ruling to allow dissident Lau Shan-ching to stand for election.
A government spokesman said the court was applying established legal principles on the concept of 'ordinary residence' to the particular facts and circumstances of Mr Lau's case. No new legal principle was involved.
'The ruling should not have any significant impact for legislation, including electoral legislation, which employs the 'ordinary residence' concept,' said the spokesman.
A High Court Judge in January quashed a returning officer's decision to ban Mr Lau from contesting the district board election and said that Mr Lau, though jailed for 10 years in China, was still 'ordinarily resident' in Hong Kong during his jail term.
The judge also nullified the district board election results in the Lai Wah constituency and a by-election will be held next month for which Mr Lau has registered as a candidate.
Mr Justice Cheung said in his written verdict that the 10 years' residency rule in the electoral laws was 'irrational and disproportionate'.
There might be a strong case that the requirement was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights, he said, and called for a comprehensive review of the rule.
The Government has said it will keep the residency qualification but the length of the qualifying period is under review.
It hopes to come to a view quickly and begin consultation with the Legislative Council and the public.