Minor appeals board set to lessen Exco workload
THE Executive Council will set up a board to handle 28 types of minor appeals that are at present the job of the Governor's inner cabinet.
At present, more than 100 provisions in the laws provide the right to appeal against an administrative decision to the Governor-in-Council.
Many of them involve matters of relatively minor nature, such as the issue, renewal and revocation of various licences.
''These minor appeals should be devolved from Exco to give councillors more time to focus on the important policy and strategic issues of the day,'' said the Chief Secretary's office in a paper to legislators.
The board will conduct its hearings in public, allow the appellant the right to attend, and permit representation by counsel.
''This will not only improve the transparency of the determination of appeals but will also enhance the quality of the administration of justice,'' it said.
If successful, the board may gradually replace some of the many other appeal boards in existence. But Exco decided that, to begin with, only appeals of a general and simple nature should be handled.
Appeals which may have important policy or political implications will continue to be dealt with by Exco.
The board shall comprise a chairman, or a deputy chairman, and two members appointed by the secretary of the board from a panel of members.
The chairman, deputy chairman, panel members and the secretary shall be appointed by the Governor.
The chairman and deputy chairman shall be eligible for appointment as a District Court judge and the panel shall comprise people with different experience and expertise.
The Government will table the Administrative Appeals Board Bill in Legco for its first reading on March 31.