A judge has raised the prospect of the Government introducing a new scheme for migrants should he rule that those involved in a landmark court case are not affected by Beijing's reinterpretation of the Basic Law. Mr Justice Frank Stock asked whether the more than 5,000 migrants involved in the case could still be removed to the mainland, even with a judgment in their favour, on the basis that they have overstayed. If so, special arrangements may have to be made to take their rights into account, he suggested. They would have to be exempted from the mainland's quota system for entry into Hong Kong and their claims for right of abode would have to be processed swiftly. 'I am not raising these questions to be provocative. It may be an important question. I am testing the point. I am playing devil's advocate,' the judge said. Denis Chang SC, for 5,308 of the 5,350 migrants concerned, told the Court of First Instance it would be unlawful for the Government to remove them if the judge ruled their rights were not affected by the reinterpretation. 'It would be totally unjust, discriminatory, irrational and, we say, unlawful,' he said. Mr Chang said there was not a hint that the Government was going to put in place a scheme of the kind the judge had mentioned. 'It is no answer for them to say they may subsequently put together some sort of scheme. No arrangements are being made,' he said. Mr Chang said the scheme put in place after the reinterpretation, which forces claimants to wait for inclusion in the mainland's quota system, was permanent. 'It cannot be assumed that if they were sent back, arrangements would be made for a scheme for them to come back,' he added. The migrants claim their residency status should be determined in accordance with Court of Final Appeal rulings in January last year. This would mean they would not be subject to the quota system. They argue they should not be affected by the reinterpretation by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, which effectively reversed the court rulings. Mr Chang said the Government had repeatedly stated in public before the reinterpretation that the court judgments would be acted upon. Some of the migrants had received letters from the authorities assuring them this would be the case. This created a legally enforceable expectation that their rights, as determined by the court, would not be taken away, he said. Mr Chang said the reinterpretation, requested by the SAR Government, was completely unexpected. Judges who had presided over cases before the reinterpretation had acted on the assumption a scheme would be put in place to give effect to the top court's rulings. Mr Justice Wally Yeung, in a judgment last year, had said he was 'sure' such arrangements would be made if the Government was given sufficient time, Mr Chang said. But such a scheme, allowing migrants to be free of the quota system, was never introduced and instead the reinterpretation was requested to change the law, the court heard. The case will continue on Monday.