Legislative Council Question 8 : "Land Titles Bill" by the Hon Patrick Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council
Following is a question by the Hon Patrick Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (January 11):
When it introduced the Land Titles Bill in 2002, the Government did not propose to provide any form of guarantee for land boundaries under the proposed title registration system, and stated that it might revisit the issue in due course. The Bill was passed by this Council in July 2004. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
(a) it plans to start studying the issue shortly; if so, of the details of its plan, including the date when the study will commence; if not, of the reasons for that;
(b) it will consider inviting the relevant professional institutes or organizations to jointly conduct the study; if so, of the specific mode of co-operation; if not, the reasons for that; and
(c) it will consider, as part of the study, granting a statutory status to the land boundary plans drawn up by authorised land surveyors in accordance with the relevant code of practice, and incorporating the relevant provisions into the Land Registration Ordinance; if not, of the reasons for that?
My reply to the three-part question is as follows:
(a) & (b) When the Land Titles Bill was introduced into this Council in 2002, the Administration clearly advised that no form of guarantee for land boundaries was to be provided. Given the past history and circumstances of land boundary survey in Hong Kong, any form of guarantee for land boundaries would give rise to complicated disputes.
When the Land Titles Bill was passed in this Council in 2004, the Administration's stance as mentioned above was not disputed. During the deliberation with the professional bodies at the Bills Committee, the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors appreciated the possible difficulties that the Administration may encounter if any form of guarantee for land boundaries is to be provided. Paragraphs 114, 115 and 116 of the Report of the Bills Committee on Land Titles Bill dated June 24, 2004 are extracted in the Annex. The Administration's consideration has not changed. We do not intend to revisit the issue.
(c) According to section 94 of the Land Titles Ordinance, if the Director of Lands decides that a land boundary plan prepared by an authorised land surveyor in accordance with the code of practice approved under the Land Survey Ordinance is acceptable for the determination of the boundaries of the lot concerned, the Director of Lands may, with the consent of the lot owner concerned, cause that plan to be registered with the Land Registry. With this procedure, the land boundary plan prepared by an authorised land surveyor is legally recognised. This provision will be in force together with the commencement of the Land Titles Ordinance, and will only apply to land registered under this Ordinance.
However, the Administration is committed to introducing suitable legislative amendment for a similar provision to be applicable to land not yet registered under the Land Titles Ordinance.
The Administration is reviewing and improving the Land Titles Ordinance, in order to put it in force as early as possible. We will deal with the above issue as part of the legislative amendments to be introduced after the review.
Ends/Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Issued at HKT 12:25