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Sources of Law - Legislation: Hong Kong

Introduction

This page aims to offer a guidance on where you can locate sources of legislation in Hong Kong, using various categories of resources. Categories of sources include:

Recommended Text

Database Training

To enhance your legal research skills, each year in early October, we will invite specialist trainers from LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters to give training sessions to law students. Don’t miss the opportunity to equip yourself with search skills using Lexis Advance Hong Kong and Westlaw AsiaThere will be an announcement about the exact dates for the event in late September. 

Help

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Need help from us? Approach us via the following methods:

 Information Counter          (within opening hours only)

 3917-2914                           (within opening hours only)

 lawlib@hku.hk

 Make appointment with our Law Librarian via Research Consultation Services (eligible for HKU academic staff and postgraduate student only)

Official Resources

Hong Kong e-Legislation (click to visit)

Hong Kong e-Legislation (HKeL) is the official database of Hong Kong legislation, maintained by the Department of Justice (DoJ). It provides open access to current and past versions of consolidated legislation dating back to 30 June 1997. PDF copies marked “verified copy” have official legal status.

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Gazette (click to visit)

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Gazette, an official channel for promulgating legislation, public notices, appointment and other information under statutory requirement, is normally published on Fridays, by Director of Government Logistics. Its official website covers: 

  • Main Gazette, Legal Supplements No. 1, 2, 3 and Special Supplement No. 5 from 19 May 2000; and
  • Special Supplement No. 4 and Supplement No. 6 from 1 April 2008. 

 

Gazette via HKeL (click to visit)

HKeL has included Legal Supplements No. 1, 2, 3 and 6 since 1990 and all Legal Supplement No.7 of Hong Kong Government Gazette since 1990 for easier research reference. To access the Gazette information, you can simply click on the "Gazette" tab on the menu bar of HKeL. 

 

LegCo Bills Database (click to visit)

The Legislative Council (LegCo) Bills Database contains key dates and the amendment history of Bills considered by the LegCo since 1844. The Bills Database keeps tracks of the passage of a Bill and the related key documents and dates including the gazettal of a Bill, three readings, formation and reports submitted to the corresponding Bills Committee, and the relevant discussions in Council meetings. 

LegCo Hansard Database (click to visit)

The Legislative Council Hansard Database contains the official record of proceedings in Council meetings of the Legislative Council since the fifth Legislative Council (2012-2013). 

Combined DoJ Glossaries of Legal Terms (click to visit)

This combined Glossary was compiled by the Law Drafting Division of the Department of Justice and is a handy reference tool for looking up bilingual legal terms and expressions used in the Hong Kong legislation.

English-ChineseChinese-English 

HKU Libraries' Resources

Laws of Hong Kong

This loose-leaf edition of the Laws of Hong Kong, published by Authority of the Attorney General Hong Kong, is being phased out since the launch of Hong Kong e-Legislation (HKeL). During the transition, the hard copy of yet-verified chapters are updated through a replacement of pages. Once a chapter is verified and made available on HKeL, a purple Check List will be issued to replace the whole chapter. Users should refer to the chapter on HKeL for latest version or a verified copy with legal status.

 

The Government of the Hong Kong Administrative Region Gazette (1997 - )
Hong Kong Government Gazette (1855 - 1997)

Apart from the Government of the Hong Kong Administrative Region Gazette website and the Gazette via HKeL mentioned above, the Libraries also hold the print Gazette collection. There are a total of seven supplements and one extraordinary come with the main volume. 

Hong Kong Government Gazette (Main) - Government public notices and declarations 
     Print: 1947 – 1997; 1997 - present (PR KT4351 H7)

Legal Supplement no. 1 (法律副刊) - Ordinances (條例
     Print: 1844 – 1997; 1997 – present (PR KT4351 H7 S1)

Legal Supplement no. 2 (法律副刊) - Regulations (規例)/ Subsidiary legislation 附屬法例
     Print: 1844 - 1997; 1997 - present (PR KT4351 H7 S2)

Legal Supplement no. 3 (Blue Paper 法律副刊) - Bills (條例草案
     Print: 1948 - 1997; 1997 - present (PR KT4351 H7 S3)

Special Supplement no. 4 (特別副刊) - Directories & lists of people authorized to perform certain functions under Ordinances, e.g. doctors 
     Print: 1948 - 1997; 1997 - present (PR KT4351 H7 S4)

Special Supplement no. 5 (特別副刊) - Treaties (條約) & international agreements (協定
     Print: 1953 - 1962; 1997 - present (PR KT4351 H7 S5)

Supplement no. 6 (副刊 公共啟事) - Public notices (公共啟事) under the Companies Ordinance or notices relating to trademarks 
     Print: 1968 - 1997; 1997 - present (PR KT4351 H7 S6)

Legal Supplement no. 7 (法律副刊) - Declaration orders (宣布) & notices (公告) including all authorized Chinese translations of ordinances 
     Print: 1992 - 1997 (PR KT4351 H7 S7)

Extraordinary (號外) - Supplementary public notices published in between the regular Supplements 
     Print: 1969 - 1997; 1997 - present (PR KT4351 H7 S9) 
 

HKU Libraries offers old gazette (1842-1941) on open access, more information is available under the Digital Initiatives tab.

Lexis Advance Hong Kong (LAHK)

LAHK contains the Laws of Hong Kong comprising all primary legislation (ordinances) and subsidiary legislation of Hong Kong. You can locate it under the Publications list on home page. You can also start browsing Hong Kong legislation by clicking on Browse on the top bar menu > select Publications > Hong Kong > By Content Type: select HK Legislation

PrimeLaw

Current and past Hong Kong Legislation is available in English and Chinese. Its legislation analysis captures relevant legislation amendments and relevant subsequent cases of a provision, supplemented with legal supplements in Gazette. You may browse the content by chapter numbers, or titles as shown below.

Westlaw Asia

Westlaw Asia contains current and past main and subsidiary legislation back to 30 June 1997. Its Legislation Analysis feature helps you understand the law in context by linking every provision of the law to law in force, historical law versions, citing cases and journal articles, and etc.

You may select Content Type at the top bar menu, and choose Legislation on the left navigation menu. Followed by Hong Kong Legislation, you may then choose according to the list option. 

At the beginning of first semester of each academic year, the Law Library will invite specialist trainers from LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters to conduct trainings for all law students to re-visit and familiarize the resources available from the two respective platforms and how to use them. Reserve a seat to master the skills in using these databases!

Historical Laws of Hong Kong Online 

The Historical Laws of Hong Kong Online is a full-text image database providing access to past revised editions of Hong Kong Laws. The database comprises a total of seven consolidations of the laws of Hong Kong: 1890, 1901, 1912, 1923, 1937, 1950, and 1964 (last updated to 1989).

Hong Kong Government Reports Online 

Hong Kong Government Reports Online (HKGRO) is a full-text image database providing online access to pre-World War II (1842-1941) issues of four major government publications. They are:

  • Administrative Reports (1879 - 1939)
  • Hong Kong Sessional  Papers (1884 - 1940)
  • Hong Kong Hansard (1890 - 1941)
  • Hong Kong Government Gazette (1842 - 1941)
  • Blue Book (1871 - 1940) 

HKGRO contains information, such as official notifications, proceedings of the Legislative Council, statistics, and reports of government departments and special committees.

The Law Library offers an extensive collection of commentary on different area of law through print collection and electronic access. Hong Kong Textbook and Reserve Collections locate on the first floor. 

Below highlight three encyclopaedic-type of reference in Hong Kong law as a starting point of your research. They are:  

Halsbury’s Laws of Hong Kong

Halsbury's Laws of Hong Kong, covering both judicial and legislative sources, divides the Laws into 80-odd subject areas. Each subject area provides a statement of the law with extensive footnotes referring to relevant Hong Kong cases and legislation. The hardcopy format is published in 27 volumes, updated with a supplementary Current Service loose-leaf.

Annotated Legislation

A selection of 40+ ordinances are made available through Westlaw Asia, with section-by-section annotations and cross references to other legal materials like case law, subsidiary Ordinances and etc.

Annotated Ordinances of Hong Kong

With section-by-section annotations to 139 frequently-referenced ordinances, and an introduction explaining the history and purpose of the statue.

Open Access Resources

Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII) (click to visit)

Jointly established by HKU Department of Computer Science and Faculty of Law, HKLII serves to provide free access to primary legal materials of Hong Kong for the general public with an aim to promote and support the rule of law in Hong Kong. 

HKLII contains Ordinances, Regulations, Constitutional Instruments, Basic Law, Hong Kong Treaty Series and Historical Laws of Hong Kong .