A central theme of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law is one of
continuity. Common law principles, and nearly all the 600 or so ordinances
that were in force before July 1, 1997 continue to apply in the HKSAR.
Some ordinances required adaptation to bring them into line with the Basic
Law and to reflect Hong Kong's new status as a Special Administrative
Region of the PRC, and the Government has introduced over 50 bills to
make the necessary textual amendments to the legislation. Most of the
ordinances have now been adapted. Ordinances that have not yet been adapted
require further consideration of the policy issues involved.
The courts and tribunals that had previously been
in existence were re-established on July 1, 1997 (though some were renamed)
and the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal was established on that date.
This replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the highest
court of appeal for Hong Kong. All judges who were in service immediately
before July 1, 1997 were reappointed by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR.
These reappointments were made in accordance with the recommendations
of an independent commission — the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission.
All judicial proceedings that had been instituted before July 1, 1997
were continued by virtue of the Hong Kong Reunification Ordinance.