Government bid for early court talks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 July, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 July, 1995, 12:00am

EARLY talks will be sought with China on preparations for establishing the Court of Final Appeal (CFA), government officials say.

Deputy Director of Administration Paul Tang Kwok-wai said they would contact Chinese officials as soon as possible to plan expert-level discussions.

The administration also plans to seek funds from the Legislative Council in its next session to renovate the French Mission Building in Central, which has been shortlisted as a possible venue for the court.

Under the deal reached at the Joint Liaison Group (JLG) in June, the task of establishing the court will be taken on by the so-called 'team designate' of the Special Administrative Region.

The accord enables the Government to participate in the process, but the type of co-operation has yet to be discussed.

Chinese JLG member Chen Zuo'er said the passage of the bill showed what the community wanted.

People were happy the legislative process for the court's establishment on July 1, 1997, had been completed, he said.

On the appointment of judges, Mr Tang said the issue had to be studied. Under the Basic Law, local court judges will be appointed by the Chief Executive on the recommendation of an independent commission.

Mr Tang said he expected the role and composition of the commission to be similar to the Judicial Service Commission.

Solicitor-General Daniel Fung said the Legal Department and other relevant departments could begin drafting the detailed regulations on the court.

He said preparation work did not necessarily have to wait for the 'team designate' to be formed.

The JLG deal says the team includes the chief executive and principal officials-designate.

Speaking at a lunch hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce, Mr Fung said the CFA bill's passage ensured the court would be closely modelled on the Privy Council.

He hoped the deal would mark a turning point in Hong Kong's transition and could be used as a model for overcoming other thorny issues.