Public review for decisions
APPEALS against administrative decisions such as licensing and registration will be heard in public from today, when a 29-strong board will be established.
Mr Justice Arthur Leong Shiu-chung and Deputy Judge Peter Cheung Chak-yau, of the High Court, were appointed respectively chairman and deputy chairman of the board for a three-year period yesterday.
Another 27 members, including lawyers, accountants and education professionals also were appointed to the board.
Public hearings would make the process more open, and would provide a more structured and uniform system to deal with certain administrative appeals now handled by different bodies, a government spokesman said.
The board also is expected to reduce the volume of minor and routine business going before the Exco, which handled nine such appeals in 1992, 12 last year and 15 this year to Tuesday.
Where appeals to the Exco had been submitted on paper to be discussed at meetings, in future appellants will have the right to a public hearing, as stated in the Bill of Rights.
''The board will conduct its hearings in public, allow the appellant the right to attend, and permit representation by counsel,'' a spokesman for the Chief Secretary's office said.
''This will not only improve the transparency of the determination of appeals, but will also enhance the quality of the administration of justice.'' The board will be set up under the Administrative Appeals Board Ordinance passed earlier this year. It will deal with statutory appeals under 25 ordinances or regulations, including the Weapons Ordinance, Gambling Ordinance, Travel Agent Ordinance and Business Registration Ordinance.
Among others, it will hear appeals against decisions not to issue or renew the various types of licences or against assessments on registration fees.