Move to confirm validity of bills by shadow body

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 June, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 June, 1997, 12:00am

A bill providing for the ratification of legislation approved by the provisional legislature and the continuity of the legal system was last night tabled to interim body members.

The Reunification Bill was presented in the form of a white bill for discussion. It will undergo three readings at the first post-handover sitting at 2.45 am on July 1.

In a rare move, the Government Information Services faxed the 24-page document to the media. A spokesman refused to be drawn on whether this indicated a change in the Government's policy of non-cooperation with the provisional body.

One of the functions of the umbrella legislation is to confirm the validity of 13 bills - including the controversial Public Order and Societies ordinances, which have been passed by the provisional legislature before the handover.

'There is no doubt about the validity of the laws passed before July 1, but the confirmation process on July 1 would serve as an added assurance,' said the Chief Executive-designate's office.

It also provides for the transfer of legal proceedings, criminal justice system and administration of justice by stipulating that actions launched before July 1 would remain valid after the handover.

Any proceedings brought in the name of or against the Queen shall, after July 1, be deemed to have been brought by, in the name of or against, the SAR, the bill says.

Another key part of the bill is to deal with the adaptation of laws by amending the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance so that names and titles as well as some outdated references are adapted.

It says any reference in law to Her Majesty, the Crown, the British Government or the Secretary of State in relation to title to land in the SAR, mainland-SAR relations or affairs for which the central Government has responsibility shall be construed as a reference to the central Government. Those referring to other contexts shall be construed as a reference to the SAR government.

The bill also provides for the continuity of public service, in particular the 'previous acts' done by public officers and by their delegates as long as they are in accordance with the Basic Law.