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Sharpening Your Information Skills for Legal Placement

A guide to accompany LW4612 Legal Placement and LW5612 Legal Placement

What is noting up legislation? Why is it necessary?

Once a relevant statute is located, you must then update or “note up” the statute or regulation. This refers to:
  • Finding out whether statute has been amended, regulation revoked.

It is wrong to rely on an outdated piece of legislation.

  • Checking what a statute said at specific time in the past.

To settle a legal matter that took place some time ago.

  • Looking up the meaning or intent of a particular section of a legislation, as spelled out in the legislature or cited in a court case.

This helps clarify the meaning of the legislation and how it is applied to a particular situation.

How to do it?

Checking the subsequent amendment to Hong Kong legislation

  • Use the electronic version of legislation. You can find the consolidations including all in-force amendments up to a particular date. The electronic version is now known as Hong Kong e-Legislation (HKeL), https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/.
  • Note the “HKeL Updateness”. This piece of information is located at the lower right corner of the database home page. Any amendments made and came into force after this date will not be part of the consolidation.
  • To look up subsequent amendment, take these steps
    1. In the database, click the tab “Gazette”.
    2. You will get a search template. Enter the first few words of the statute in the box “Gazette Title”.
    3. Note if there is amendment or commencement notice or both.
Checking Hong Kong legislation valid at a specific point of time
  • Use the Hong Kong e-Legislation (HKeL), https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/.
  • Retrieve the statute.
  • Once in the legislation, click open the Timeline icon.
  • Move the cursor along the timeline to the period you require.

Checking the meaning or intent of a particular legislation section

  • You can find the intent of a legislation section from the debate on the bill made at the Legislative Council. Debate on a bill is recorded in the Reports of the Meetings of the Legislative Council Hong Kong (generally known as the Hansard).
  • Based on the Hansard, the Legislative Council compiled a database, pulling together all the debates and background documents related to a bill. It is called the Bills Database, http://app.legco.gov.hk/Bills/english/index.aspx.
  • Take these steps to use the database
    1. On the database home page, select the field "Title of Bill" using the pull down menu and then enter the first few words of the bill.
    2. From the result list, identify your bill and read the respective documents.

Checking how a legislation section is applied in cases

  • Westlaw Asia provides such a search function.
  • On the database home page, select "Cases" → "Hong Kong Case Law" → "Advanced Search".
  • A template will open. Enter the first few words of the ordinance in the "Legislation Title" field. If there are results, go to the respective cases, move to the left panel, click on “Legislation Mentioned”.  You will get some idea of how the legislation is applied under certain circumstances.
  • The same function is available for UK Case Law.