Simpler rules on domicile aired

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 12:00am

Proposals were outlined yesterday to amend Hong Kong laws in order to simplify the rules on a person's domicile, which proponents of the change say are needlessly complicated and technical.

The changes, put forward to the government yesterday by the Law Reform Commission, would make it easier to settle property inheritance cases involving people of different nationalities and those with spouses across the border.

They would bring Hong Kong's laws more into line with those in force in other common-law jurisdictions.

Domicile is legally defined as a person's permanent home and is used to determine which country's laws should be adopted to settle questions such as inheritance.

Among the more significant of the commission's 14 recommendations is abolition of the concept of domicile of origin and domicile dependency, making a child's domicile the country to which he or she is most closely connected rather than that of its parents.

The legal advisory body also wants to remove the differentiation between legitimate and illegitimate children when determining their domicile.

Other proposals included discarding the rule requiring a married woman to adopt her husband's domicile.

The chairman of the commission's subcommittee reviewing the domicile laws, senior counsel and legislator Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, believed the recommendations put forward would make it easier to ascertain a person's domicile.