A final attempt to have the civil servants' pay cut declared unconstitutional failed yesterday after a Court of First Instance judge dismissed the application. Michael Scott, who heads the General Advisory Unit in the Department of Justice's legal policy division, was the highest-ranking civil servant to launch a judicial review of the Public Officers' Pay Adjustment Ordinance. His hearing was also the last legal challenge the government will face over the ordinance. Mr Justice Michael Hartmann ruled in June in a judicial review that the legislation did not breach civil servants' constitutional rights. But Mr Scott argued last month that the court did not get 'the full picture' of Hong Kong's financial outlook and that it was not as bleak as the government portrayed. Mr Scott yesterday asked the court to re-examine the government's finances amid claims the deficit was not severe enough to justify the pay cuts. He said the real budget deficit was about $30 billion, rather than the government's 'scare' deficit of $70 billion. But Mr Justice Hartmann dismissed Mr Scott's arguments. 'The applicant clearly felt very strongly that the executive had no good economic grounds for taking such steps as were necessary to seek the passing into law of the ordinance,' he said. 'During the course of his submissions, he went so far as to say that the executive, in what he considered to be the mismanagement of public finances, had breached [the Basic Law].' He added: 'It is not for this court to attempt to assess the merits of competing economic or financial policy arguments.' Mr Justice Hartmann said the single question to be asked was whether the ordinance was or was not consistent with the Basic Law. He repeated his findings from the earlier review, which found the ordinance was consistent.