Interaction and Integration Between the Legal Systems of Hong Kong, Macao and Mainland China 50 Years After Their Return to China
The express provisions of Article 5 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“SAR”) of the People's Republic of China (referred to hereinafter as the “Basic Law of Hong Kong”) and Article 5 of the Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (referred to hereinafter as the “Basic Law of Macao”) provide that the socialist system and policies shall not be practiced in the Hong Kong or Macao SAR and the former capitalist system and way of life shall “remain unchanged for 50 years”. This principle can be inferred as being the legal systems of the two SARs shall remain unchanged for 50 years. Indeed, Article 8 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong ensures that “the law previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law, rules of equity, ordinances, subordinate legislation and customary law shall be maintained, except for any that contravenes this Law, and subject to any amendment by the legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”. It is the same with Article 8 of the Basic Law of Macao, which provides that “the laws, decrees, administrative regulations and other normative acts previously in force in Macao shall be maintained, except for any that contravenes this Law, or subject to any amendment by the legislature or other relevant organs of the Macao Special Administrative Region in accordance with legal procedures”. Under these provisions, it is reasonable to say that “the legal system remaining unchanged for 50 years” means the laws previously in force in these two regions shall remain basically unchanged.1 With this in mind, issues of common concern are the changes and trends of the laws in Hong Kong and Macau 50 years after their return to China and the linkage between the law of Mainland China and the laws of the two SARs at that time.
Being on the occasion of the 10th and 8th anniversary of Hong Kong and Macao's respective return to China, it may appear too early to discuss the situations to come in 40 years time.2 However, it is my opinion that there is value in examining this issue in the academic perspective in order to make appropriate arrangements well in advance, as reflections and academic research should precede the occurrence of real life issues.
KeywordsLegal System National Commission Special Administrative Region Legislative Proposal Cooperation Mechanism
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