The top court has given more than 200 mainlanders another opportunity to argue they have met conditions for right of abode. Four judges of the Court of Final Appeal yesterday said about 225 mainlanders who claim their appeals should be allowed or that their cases should be reconsidered favourably by the Director of Immigration would have their cases decided by the Court of First Instance. The fate of the claimants - representing the final batch of 5,114 abode seekers subject to a ruling by the top court in January and awaiting determination of their cases - would be settled after 'outstanding factual issues' were resolved by the lower court. On January 10, the Court of Final Appeal ruled against most of the 5,114 abode seekers. Despite that decision, hundreds of claimants still had to wait for their cases to be verified in accordance with the judgment. According to the January ruling, claimants qualified for right of abode if they arrived before the handover, and were born after at least one of their parents became a Hong Kong permanent resident. Those able to produce letters from the Legal Aid Department between December 7, 1998 and January 29, 1999, the date on which another landmark ruling in favour of the claimants was handed down, would also benefit from the judgment. In yesterday's ruling, the court allowed the appeal of a mainland mother, Hung Cheung-ching, and quashed the removal order against her. The judges ruled in her favour because she had had received a letter from the Legal Aid Department giving rise to a legitimate expectation that the government would carry out a ruling of the top court handed down on January 29, 1999, in favour of the abode seekers. They also directed the Immigration Director to consider exercising discretion in granting her right of abode. Outstanding factual issues in the cases of the other claimants centre on how their abode claims were recorded. An Immigration Department spokesman said yesterday's judgment would be respected.