The Provisional Legislative Council filled the legal vacuum early this morning by passing the Reunification Bill. The legislation underwent three readings at 3.56 am after the council's first post-handover meeting, which began at 2.45 am. For the first time, 18 principal officials headed by Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang, attended the interim body's meeting, held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. The bill provided for ratification of legislation approved by the body before the handover, the continuity of the legal system, judicial appointments and the civil service. Among the 13 laws confirmed were the Public Order and Societies ordinances. Moving the second reading of the Hong Kong Reunification Bill, Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie said: 'It is fitting that on this historic day, the first bill put before this council should relate to the reunification. 'As a matter both of fact and law, the reunification has, of course, been successfully achieved. 'It is nevertheless desirable to introduce legislative provisions to facilitate the smooth transition of the legal system, the administration of justice and the public service.' Provisional Legislative Council President Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said: 'Today's meeting marks the completion of the first phase and the beginning of the second phase of our work.' Most of the members spoke in the second reading debate to express support for the umbrella bill and to welcome the end of British colonial rule. Frederick Fung Kin-kee of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood and his three colleagues objected to the civil liberties law and legislation on provisional district bodies being included in the bill, as did independent Chan Choi-hei. The interim body will resume its meeting next Wednesday at the Legislative Council Building.