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Saturday, July 28, 2018, 11:43
Constitutional basis for XRL co-location solid
By Joseph Li
Saturday, July 28, 2018, 11:43 By Joseph Li

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government can commence operation of the local section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link in September as planned without awaiting the outcome of the legal challenges, legislator and barrister Priscilla Leung Mei-fun suggests.

The HKSAR Government has very strong constitutional basis, knowing that the decision (on the co-location arrangement) made by the National People's Congress Standing Committee fully complies with the legislative intent of the Basic Law 

Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, Legislator & Barrister

Fixing dates for court hearings will be complicated, she explains. If the government has confidence and determination, it can go ahead and commission the XRL on schedule, she said.

Leung notes that five people have applied to Hong Kong's Court of First Instance for a judicial review of the legitimacy of co-locating Hong Kong and mainland customs, immigration and quarantine facilities at the West Kowloon Station. The hearing on the application for leave has been scheduled for late October but she believes the court will ultimately merge the cases into one to save the court's time.

ALSO READ: XRL connects HK directly with 17 mainland cities

The judicial review applications came after LegCo passed the bill on the co-location arrangement in the middle of June, amidst serious disturbances by opposition legislators.

She predicts: "I think the cases will definitely be merged. The court will only hear substantive reasons and I don't believe it will let all the applicants to argue their cases in court, in order not to let them repeat their arguments and waste the court's time.

"Normally, when the court considers leave for application of judicial review, it considers two important factors - namely whether it is an arguable case and whether the applicant has reasonable chance of winning the case. In my view, the applicants have a very slim chance of winning.

"For the co-location arrangement, the HKSAR Government has very strong constitutional basis, knowing that the decision (on the co-location arrangement) made by the National People's Congress Standing Committee fully complies with the legislative intent of the Basic Law and has equal constitutional weighting as interpretation of Basic Law provisions by the NPCSC."

READ MORE: XRL co-location plan gains support from NPCSC members

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