The Court of Final Appeal, in its judgment today, has laid down a single test such that the presumption against reclamation can only be rebutted by establishing an overriding public need for reclamation. This single test replaces the three tests as previously set out in the High Court judgment. In explaining what amounts to an overriding public need, we are pleased to note that the CFA has adopted a number of considerations which are similar to those put forth by the Counsel representing the Town Planning Board. This has in our view resulted in a widened definition and scope of coverage embodied in the single test for rebutting the presumption against reclamation.
The CFA judgment has removed doubts in the community in the past few months as to whether there could be further reclamation. It also provides room for the Government and the people of Hong Kong to deliberate on the need to strike a balance between protecting the harbour and meeting social, economic and environmental needs. The CFA has given us a clear and final judgment on the clarification of the law. This will greatly help us in the formulation and implementation of future planning for the Harbour.
Ends/Friday, January 9, 2004