One of the most encouraging aspects of the Court of Final Appeal's decision on right of abode for mainland-born children is the way it has been so unhesitatingly accepted by the Government. In stark contrast to some pre-handover judgments by the Privy Council about Vietnamese migrants, which were sharply denounced by officials in the colonial administration, everyone from Tung Chee-hwa down has been at pains to stress they respect last week's decision, despite the severe problems it is already causing. Such unquestioning acceptance reflects well on the administration and does much to substantiate its claims to be committed to the rule of law. But such acceptance is only the first step. What the Government will now be judged on is how it handles the difficult task of putting this judgment into practice. As shown by the crowds of confused parents who converged on the Immigration Department, and public security offices in Guangzhou yesterday, every day of delay in announcing procedures for implementing the court decision will only increase the uncertainty and possibly even encourage some to attempt to sneak across the border illegally. In many cases, immediate decisions are vital. Some of those affected by the judgment are visiting Hong Kong on two-way permits, which require them to return to the mainland in the next few days, and are unsure if they can now stay on in the SAR. Parents of children still in Shenzhen need to know if they should start looking for school places in Hong Kong. With hindsight, it would have been wiser to have made contingency plans ahead of the judgment. But the Government's failure to do so is not surprising, since it was expecting to win and so reluctant to prepare for the worst. Now it will have to make up for lost time. Given the sweeping nature of the judgment, it is necessary to prioritise those aspects that are most urgent. Foremost among these are the 13,000 children who have been issued Certificates of Entitlement to enter Hong Kong. Now that the requirement to wait until they also receive one-way permits from mainland authorities has been held unlawful, there is little to prevent them flooding into the SAR. But that would impose a huge burden on local social welfare and educational facilities, especially in the middle of a school year. If such a mass influx is to be averted then the authorities will speedily have to come up with some package under which these children are offered preferential access to such services in return for agreeing to wait their turn and enter Hong Kong legally. A few days' delay may be inevitable, given the complex issues involved. But with Director of Immigration Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong already holding talks in Beijing, there is no cause for any longer delay. And unless Wednesday's SAR government summit on the effects of the judgment leads to a tangible announcement, the present uncertainty will only continue to grow.