Fatal Accidents Ordinance


Published: 1997-06-30

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Cap 22 - FATAL ACCIDENTS ORDINANCE 1

Chapter: 22 FATAL ACCIDENTS ORDINANCE Gazette Number Version Date

Long title 30/06/1997


To repeal and replace existing provision for the compensation of dependants of persons killed as a result of tortious
acts.

(Enacted 1986)


[1 November 1986] L.N. 260 of 1986


(Originally 41 of 1986)

Section: 1 Short title 30/06/1997


This Ordinance may be cited as the Fatal Accidents Ordinance.
(Enacted 1986)


Section: 2 Interpretation 30/06/1997


(1) In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires-
"adopted" (領養) means adopted in pursuance of an adoption order made under the Adoption Ordinance (Cap 290) or

of any adoption recognized as valid by the law of Hong Kong;
"dependant" (受養人), in relation to a deceased person, means-

(a) the wife, husband, former wife or former husband of the deceased and any person whose marriage to
the deceased has been annulled or declared void;

(b) a concubine lawfully taken by the deceased before 7 October 1971;
(c) any person who-

(i) was living with the deceased in the same household immediately before the date of his death; and
(ii) had been living with the deceased in the same household for at least 2 years before that date,
as the husband or wife of the deceased;

(d) any parent or other ascendant of the deceased;
(e) any person (not being a parent of the deceased) who, during any marriage to which that person was a

party, treated the deceased as a son or daughter of the family in relation to that marriage;
(f) any child or other descendant of the deceased;
(g) any person (not being a child of the deceased) who, during any marriage to which the deceased was at

any time a party, was treated by the deceased as a son or daughter of the family in relation to that
marriage;

(h) any person who is, or is the issue of, a brother, sister, uncle or aunt of the deceased;
(i) any person who is, or is the issue of, a brother or sister of a grandparent of the deceased;
(j) any godchild or godparent of the deceased according to Chinese custom;

"wife" (妻、妻子) means-
(a) in the case of a Christian marriage or its civil equivalent, the lawful wife; and
(b) in the case of any other lawful marriage-

(i) the lawful wife of such marriage; or
(ii) if there is more than one lawful wife, the lawful principal wife recognized as such by the

personal law of the husband of such marriage, or if there is no lawful principal wife, the lawful
wives so recognized.

(2) In deducing any relationship for the purposes of this Ordinance-
(a) an adopted person shall be treated as the child of the person or persons by whom he was adopted and

not as the child of any other person; and, subject thereto;
(b) any relationship by affinity shall be treated as relationship by consanguinity, any relationship of the

half-blood as a relationship of the whole blood, and the stepchild of any person as his child; and
(c) an illegitimate person shall be treated as the legitimate child of his mother and reputed father.

(Enacted 1986)



Cap 22 - FATAL ACCIDENTS ORDINANCE 2


Section: 3 Right of action for wrongful act causing death 30/06/1997


If death is caused to any person ("the deceased") by any wrongful act, neglect or default which is such as would
(if death had not ensued) have entitled the deceased to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, then
subject to section 4(2) an action for damages may be brought for the benefit of the dependants of the deceased against
the person who would have been liable in damages to the deceased in respect of that wrongful act, neglect or default.

(Enacted 1986)
[cf. 1982 c. 53 s. 3 U.K.]


Section: 4 Bereavement L.N. 144 of 1997 30/06/1997


(1) An action under this Ordinance may consist of or include a claim for damages for bereavement unless, by
reason of the act, neglect or default referred to in section 3, any person has recovered, by action or otherwise, a sum in
respect of loss of the deceased's society under section 20C(1) of the Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation)
Ordinance (Cap 23).

(2) A claim for damages for bereavement shall only be for the benefit of such of the following persons as
survive the deceased for not less than 30 days-

(a) the wife or husband of the deceased, unless they had been living apart for a continuous period of at
least 2 years immediately preceding the death of the deceased; or

(b) where there is no spouse by or for whom a claim can be made under paragraph (a), the children of the
deceased; or

(c) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragraph (a) or (b), the wife or
husband of the deceased (notwithstanding that they had been living apart); or

(d) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragraph (a), (b) or (c), any
concubine taken by the deceased before 7 October 1971; or

(e) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d), any
person who-
(i) was living with the deceased in the same household immediately before the date of his death; and
(ii) had been living with the deceased in the same household for at least 2 years before that date,
as the husband or wife of the deceased; or

(f) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e),
the parents of the deceased or (if the deceased was illegitimate) his mother; or

(g) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), (e) or
(f), but the deceased was at the date of his death a minor, any person who during any marriage to
which that person was a party treated the deceased as a son or daughter of the family in relation to that
marriage; or

(h) where there is no other person by or for whom a claim can be made under this subsection, any brother
or sister of the deceased.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), the sum to be awarded as damages under this section shall be $150000.
(Amended L.N. 205 of 1991; L.N. 144 of 1997)

(4) Where there is a claim for damages under this section for the benefit of 2 or more persons, the sum awarded
shall be divided equally between them (subject to any deduction falling to be made in respect of costs not recovered
from the defendant).

(5) The Legislative Council may by resolution amend subsection (3) by varying the sum specified therein.
[cf. 1982 c. 53 s. 3 U.K.]

(Enacted 1986)

Section: 5 Persons entitled to bring the action 30/06/1997


(1) An action under this Ordinance shall be brought by and in the name of the executor or administrator of the
deceased.

(2) If-
(a) there is no executor or administrator of the deceased; or
(b) no action is brought within 6 months after the death by and in the name of an executor or administrator



Cap 22 - FATAL ACCIDENTS ORDINANCE 3

of the deceased,
the action may be brought by and in the name of all or any of the persons for whose benefit an executor or
administrator could have brought it.

(3) Not more than one action shall lie for and in respect of the same subject-matter of complaint.
(4) The plaintiff in the action shall be required to deliver to the defendant or his solicitor full particulars of the

persons for whom and on whose behalf the action is brought and of the nature of the claim in respect of which
damages are sought to be recovered.

(Enacted 1986)
[cf. 1982 c. 53 s. 3 U.K.]


Section: 6 Assessment of damages 30/06/1997


(1) In the action, such damages, other than damages for bereavement, may be awarded to dependants in such
proportions as reflect their respective injuries as a result of the death.

(2) Where damages are awarded under subsection (1), any costs not recovered from the defendant shall be
deducted from those damages and thereafter those damages shall be divided among the dependants in such proportions
as has been decided under that subsection.

(3) In an action under this Ordinance, or under the Carriage by Air Ordinance (Cap 500), where there fall to be
assessed damages payable to a widow in respect of the death of her husband there shall not be taken into account the
re-marriage of the widow or her prospects of re-marriage. (Amended 13 of 1997 s. 20)

(4) In an action under this Ordinance where there fall to be assessed damages payable to a person who is a
dependant within the meaning of paragraph (c) of the definition of that term in section 2, in respect of the death of the
person with whom the dependant was living as husband or wife, there shall be taken into account (together with any
other matter that appears to the court to be relevant to the action) the fact that the dependant had no enforceable right
to financial support by the deceased as a result of their living together.

(5) In assessing damages in any action brought under this Ordinance the funeral expenses of the deceased
person, if such expenses have been incurred by the parties for whose benefit the action is brought, shall be taken into
account.

(6) Money paid into court in satisfaction of a cause of action under this Ordinance may be in one sum without
specifying any person's share.

(Enacted 1986)
[cf. 1982 c. 53 s. 3 U.K.]


Section: 7 Assessment of damages; disregard of benefits 30/06/1997


In assessing damages in respect of a person's death in an action under this Ordinance or under the Carriage by
Air Ordinance (Cap 500), benefits which have accrued or will or may accrue to any person from his estate or
otherwise as a result of his death shall be disregarded.

(Amended 13 of 1997 s. 20)
[cf 1982 c. 53 s. 3 U.K.]

Related Laws

2000 Torts Act