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Thursday, October 27, 2016, 19:08

Court hears judicial review application on NT plan

By Dara Wang

HONG KONG- A High Court judge on Thursday said that the court in principle should not intervene in the legislature’s daily operation, in hearing an application for judicial review against a Legislative Council committee’s decision to give the green light to a controversial development plan in Northeast New Territories two years ago.

The case, forwarded by Tsang Kwong-kuen, a villager in Kwun Tong, centered on a decision by the then chairman of the Legislative Council’s Finance Committee, Ng Leung-sing, to put the development plan to the vote in June 2014. Tsang claimed that Ng neglected a motion by another lawmaker to ask then lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, on grounds of conflict of interests, to leave the meeting before the vote. The development proposal was subsequently approved by the committee.

Judge Au Hing-cheung said that whether or not the chairman dealt with the motion is within the scope of internal operations of LegCo and that the court should not intervene.

Au reserved judgment on whether to grant leave for the judicial review.

The defense lawyer representing Ng said that, according to Article 72 of the Basic Law, the president of LegCo shall exercise the power to preside over the meeting and to decide on the agenda.

He believed that gave legality to the decision of Ng as the chairman of the Finance Committee at that time.

He also argued that if the court accepts the judicial review of Ng’s case, there will be many subsequent judicial review applications on details of LegCo’s operations for the court to handle.

"That may raise the concern of policy overriding justice,” he said.

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