Civil servants file writ over eviction from Peak

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 December, 2004, 12:00am

Three senior civil servants have launched a legal challenge over a government decision to evict them from their quarters on The Peak that will be disposed of next year.

In seeking a judicial review, the trio claim the eviction breaches Basic Law Articles 93 and 100, which state civil servants' pay and benefits should be not lower than they were before the handover.

They claim the government has unjustifiably ordered them to leave the quarters by August 31, breaching its contractual obligation and promise to provide housing benefits to eligible officers.

The trio, buildings department chief structural engineer Hui Kwok-hung, civil engineering and development department assistant director Terrence Mountain and senior assistant solicitor-general Michael Scott, are living in non-departmental quarters at 103 Mount Nicholson Road.

In a High Court writ, they said civil servants' representatives were never properly consulted on the decision, based on an inter-departmental group's recommendations on the disposal of surplus quarters.

Far from being surplus, the writ says, the Mount Nicholson quarters are among the most popular and were heavily used until the government started refusing applications.

The writ says the government took the wrong approach in retaining less popular and underused quarters and disposing of valuable ones.

It says it was unfair for the government to change the grading criteria of non-departmental quarters by introducing 'rental values' and 'public expectations'.

As a result, some lower-quality quarters were regarded as on a par with Mount Nicholson and then used as replacements, they said.

Non-departmental quarters do not belong to specific departments and are allocated to senior civil servants.