Cap 23 - LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM (CONSOLIDATION) ORDINANCE 1
Chapter: 23 LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM
Gazette Number Version Date
Long title L.N. 18 of 2009 02/04/2009
To consolidate Ordinances relating to interests in land, assignments, contract, tort, breach of promise and foreign
corporations; and to amend the law relating to the defence of tender before action.
(Amended 3 of 2008 s. 7)
[1 July 1901]
(Originally 4 of 1901; 13 of 1864; 7 of 1886; 6 of 1901; 31 of 1911; 1 of 1920; 27 of 1935 (Cap 23, 1964); 11 of 1936
(Cap 28, 1970); 26 of 1948 (Cap 25, 1964); 36 of 1951 (Cap 271, 1964))
Note: This Ordinance consolidates, as at 31 December 1971, provisions which previously appeared in the
(1) Law Amendment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap 23, 1964 Ed.)
(2) Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Ordinances (Cap 25, 1964 Ed.)
(3) Tortfeasors Ordinance (Cap 28, 1970 Ed.)
(4) Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap 271, 1964 Ed.)
Section: 1 Short title 30/06/1997
This Ordinance may be cited as the Law Amendment and Reform (Consolidation) Ordinance.
Part: I (Repealed 62 of 1984 s. 66) 30/06/1997
Part: II ASSIGNMENTS 30/06/1997
Section: 9 Assignment of debt or chose in action 30/06/1997
Any absolute assignment, by writing under the hand of the assignor (not purporting to be by way of charge
only), of any debt or other legal chose in action, of which express notice in writing has been given to the debtor,
trustee or other person from whom the assignor would have been entitled to receive or claim such debt or chose in
action, shall be and be deemed to have been effectual in law (subject to all equities which would have been entitled to
priority over the right of the assignee if this section, section 11 of this Ordinance and sections 25 and 49 of the
Conveyancing and Property Ordinance (Cap 219) had not been enacted) to pass and transfer the legal right to such
debt or chose in action from the date of such notice, and all legal and other remedies for the same, and the power to
give a good discharge for the same, without the concurrence of the assignor:
Provided that if the debtor, trustee or other person liable in respect of such debt or chose in action has had notice
that such assignment is disputed by the assignor or any one claiming under him or of any other opposing or conflicting
claims to such debt or chose in action, he shall be entitled to call upon the several person making claim thereto to
interplead concerning the same, or he may pay the same into the court under and in conformity with the provisions of
any Ordinance relating to trustees.
(4 of 1901 s. 8 incorporated. Amended 50 of 1911; 1 of 1912 Schedule; 31 of 1988 s. 30)
[cf. 1873 c. 66 s. 25(6) U.K.]
Section: 10 (Repealed 62 of 1984 s. 66) 30/06/1997
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Part: III CONTRACT 30/06/1997
Section: 11 Stipulations not of the essence of contracts 30/06/1997
Stipulations in contracts, as to time or otherwise, which would not, before 13 October 1873, have been deemed
to be or to have become of the essence of such contracts in the court in its equitable jurisdiction shall receive in the
court the same construction and effect as they would formerly have received in equity.
(4 of 1901 s. 9 incorporated)
[cf. 1873 c. 66 s. 25(7) U.K.]
Section: 12 (Repealed 72 of 1972 s. 2) 30/06/1997
Section: 13 Action not maintainable on representations of character
etc. unless in writing
No action shall be brought whereby to charge any person upon or by reason of any representation or assurance
made or given concerning or relating to the character, conduct, credit, ability, trade or dealings of any person, to the
intent or purpose that such other person may obtain credit, money or goods thereupon, unless such representation or
assurance is made in writing, signed by the party to be charged therewith.
(Added 53 of 1971 s. 2)
[cf. 1828 c. 14 s. 6 U.K.]
Section: 13A Part performance and damages 30/06/1997
(1) A court may award damages for breach of a contract of which there has been part performance
notwithstanding that an order for specific performance could not, in the circumstances of the case, be made by the
(2) This section shall not apply to any contract made before 31 December 1972.
(Added 72 of 1972 s. 3)
Section: 14 Consideration for guarantee need not appear by writing 30/06/1997
No special promise made by any person to answer for the debt, default or miscarriage of another person, being in
writing, and signed by the party charged therewith or some other person by him thereunto lawfully authorized, shall be
deemed invalid to support an action, suit or other proceeding to charge the person by whom such promise has been
made, by reason only that the consideration for such promise does not appear in writing or by necessary inference
from a written document.
(13 of 1864 s. 4 incorporated. Amended 50 of 1911. Replaced 53 of 1971 s. 2)
[cf. 1856 c. 97 s. 3 U.K.]
Section: 15 Right of surety who discharges liability to assignment of all
securities held by creditor
(1) Every person who, being surety for the debt or duty of another or being liable with another for any debt or
duty, pays such debt or performs such duty, shall be entitled to have assigned to him, or to a trustee for him, every
judgment, specialty, or other security which is held by the creditor in respect of such debt or duty, whether such
judgment, specialty, or other security is or is not deemed at law to have been satisfied by the payment of the debt or
performance of the duty.
(2) Such person shall be entitled to stand in the place of the creditor, to use all the remedies, and, if need be and
upon a proper indemnity, to use the name of the creditor, in any action or other proceeding at law or in equity, in order
to obtain from the principal debtor or any co-surety, co-contractor or co-debtor, as the case may be, indemnification
for the advances made and loss sustained by the person who has so paid such debt or performed such duty, and such
Cap 23 - LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM (CONSOLIDATION) ORDINANCE 3
payment or performance so made by such surety shall not be a bar to any such action or other proceeding by him.
(3) No co-surety, co-contractor, or co-debtor, shall be entitled to recover from any other co-surety, co-
contractor, or co-debtor, by the means aforesaid, more than the just proportion to which, as between those parties
themselves, such last mentioned person is justly liable.
(13 of 1864 s. 6 incorporated. Replaced 53 of 1971 s. 2)
[cf. 1856 c. 97 s. 5 U.K.]
Section: 15A Charges and mortgages over choses in action 30/06/1997
For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that a person ("the first person") is able to create, and always
has been able to create, in favour of another person ("the second person") a legal or equitable charge or mortgage over
all or any of the first person's interest in a chose in action enforceable by the first person against the second person,
and any charge or mortgage so created shall operate neither to merge the interest thereby created with, nor to
extinguish or release, that chose in action.
(Added 60 of 1991 s. 2)
Section: 16 Adjustment of rights and liabilities of parties to frustrated
(1) Where a contract governed by law applicable to the Colony has become impossible of performance or been
otherwise frustrated, and the parties thereto have for that reason been discharged from the further performance of the
contract, the following provisions of this section shall, subject to the provisions of section 17, have effect in relation
(2) All sums paid or payable to any party in pursuance of the contract before the time when the parties were so
discharged (in this section and section 17 referred to as the time of discharge) shall, in the case of sums so paid, be
recoverable from him as money received by him for the use of the party by whom the sums were paid, and, in the case
of sums so payable, cease to be so payable:
Provided that, if the party to whom the sums were so paid or payable incurred expenses before the time of
discharge in, or for the purpose of, the performance of the contract, the court may, if it considers it just to do so having
regard to all the circumstances of the case, allow him to retain or, as the case may be, recover the whole or any part of
the sums so paid or payable, not being an amount in excess of the expenses so incurred.
(3) Where any party to the contract has, by reason of anything done by any other party thereto in, or for the
purpose of, the performance of the contract, obtained a valuable benefit (other than a payment of money to which
subsection (2) applies) before the time of discharge, there shall be recoverable from him by the said other party such
sum (if any), not exceeding the value of the said benefit to the party obtaining it, as the court considers just, having
regard to all the circumstances of the case and, in particular-
(a) the amount of any expenses incurred before the time of discharge by the benefited party in, or for the
purpose of, the performance of the contract, including any sums paid or payable by him to any other
party in pursuance of the contract and retained or recoverable by that party under subsection (2); and
(b) the effect, in relation to the said benefit, of the circumstances giving rise to the frustration of the
(4) In estimating, for the purposes of subsections (1), (2) and (3), the amount of any expenses incurred by any
party to the contract, the court may, without prejudice to the generality of the said subsections, include such sum as
appears to be reasonable in respect of overhead expenses and in respect of any work or services performed personally
by the said party.
(5) In considering whether any sum ought to be recovered or retained under subsections (1), (2), (3) and (4) by
any party to the contract, the court shall not take into account any sums which have, by reason of the circumstances
giving rise to the frustration of the contract, become payable to that party under any contract of insurance unless there
was an obligation to insure imposed by an express term of the frustrated contract or by or under any enactment.
(6) Where any person has assumed obligations under the contract in consideration of the conferring of a benefit
by any other party to the contract upon any other person, whether a party to the contract or not, the court may, if in all
the circumstances of the case it considers it just to do so, treat for the purposes of subsection (3) any benefit so
conferred as a benefit obtained by the person who has assumed the obligations as aforesaid.
(26 of 1948 s. 3 incorporated)
[cf. 1943 c. 40 s. 1 U.K.]
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Section: 17 Provision as to the application of sections 16, 17 and 18 30/06/1997
(1) This section and sections 16 and 18 shall save as is hereinafter provided apply to contracts whether made
before or after 18 June 1948, as respects which the time of discharge is on or after 8 December 1941, but not to
contracts as respects which the time of discharge is before the latter date.
(2) This section and sections 16 and 18 shall apply to contracts to which the Crown is a party in like manner as
to contracts between subjects.
(3) Where any contract to which this section and sections 16 and 18 apply contains any provision which, upon
the true construction of the contract, is intended to have effect in the event of circumstances arising which operate, or
would but for the said provision operate, to frustrate the contract, or is intended to have effect whether such
circumstances arise or not, the court shall give effect to the said provision and shall only give effect to section 16 to
such extent, if any, as appears to the court to be consistent with the said provision.
(4) Where it appears to the court that apart of any contract to which this section and sections 16 and 18 apply
can properly be severed from the remainder of the contract, being a part wholly performed before the time of
discharge, or so performed except for the payment in respect of that part of the contract of sums which are or can be
ascertained under the contract, the court shall treat that part of the contract as if it were a separate contract and had not
been frustrated and shall treat section 16 as only applicable to the remainder of that contract.
(5) This section and sections 16 and 18 shall not apply-
(a) to any charterparty, except a time charterparty or a charterparty by way of demise, or to any contract
(other than a charterparty) for the carriage of goods by sea; or
(b) to any contract of insurance, save as is provided by section 16(5); or
(c) to any contract to which section 9 of the Sale of Goods Ordinance (Cap 26), (which avoids contracts
for the sale of specific goods which perish before the risk has passed to the buyer) applies, or to any
other contract for the sale, or for the sale and delivery, of specific goods, where the contract is
frustrated by reason of the fact that the goods have perished.
(6) In this section and section 16, "court" (法院) includes any arbitrator by or before whom the matter falls to
(26 of 1948 ss. 2 & 4 incorporated)
[cf. 1943 c. 40 s. 2 U.K.]
Section: 18 Saving for settlement or contrary agreement 30/06/1997
Nothing in sections 16 and 17 shall affect any settlement or agreement between the parties subsequent to date of
discharge whereby the rights and liabilities of the contracting parties fell to be determined otherwise than in
accordance with the said sections.
(26 of 1948 s. 5 incorporated)
Part: IV TORT 30/06/1997
Section: 19 (Repealed 77 of 1984 s. 10) 30/06/1997
Section: 20 Effect of death on certain causes 30/06/1997
(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, on the death of any person after 26 October 1951, all causes of
action subsisting against or vested in him shall survive against, or, as the case may be, for the benefit of, his estate:
Provided that this subsection shall not apply to causes of action for defamation or seduction or for inducing one
spouse to leave or remain apart from the other or to claims for damages on the ground of adultery.
(1A) The right of a person to claim under section 4 of the Fatal Accidents Ordinance (Cap 22) (for bereavement)
or under section 20C(1) of this Ordinance (for loss of society) shall not survive for the benefit of his estate on his
death. (Added 40 of 1986 s. 2)
(2) Where a cause of action survives as aforesaid for the benefit of the estate of a deceased person, the damages
Cap 23 - LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM (CONSOLIDATION) ORDINANCE 5
recoverable for the benefit of the estate of that person-
(a) shall not include any exemplary damages;
(b) shall, where the death of that person has been caused by the act or omission which gives rise to the
cause of action-
(i) be calculated without reference to any loss or gain to his estate consequent on his death, except
that a sum in respect of funeral expenses may be included;
(ii) not include any damages in respect of loss of ability to render services after his death;
(iii) not include any damages for loss of property, whether income or otherwise, in respect of any
period after his death, except in so far as the court is satisfied that, but for the act or omission that
gave rise to the cause of action, the deceased would have achieved an accumulation of wealth by
the time that he would otherwise have died, in which case damages may be awarded in respect of
the loss of that wealth:
Provided that damages awarded under this sub-paragraph shall be subject to such deduction
as the court considers it just to make in the circumstances of any particular case on account of the
accelerated receipt of that wealth and in order to avoid over-compensation. (Replaced 40 of
1986 s. 2)
(3) (Repealed 52 of 1987 s. 45)
(4) Where damage has been suffered by reason of any act or omission in respect of which a cause of action
would have subsisted against any person if that person had not died before or at the same time as the damage was
suffered, there shall be deemed, for the purposes of this section and sections 21 and 22, to have been subsisting against
him before his death such cause of action in respect of that act or omission as would have subsisted if he had died after
the damage was suffered.
(5) The rights conferred by this section and sections 21 and 22 for the benefit of the estates of deceased persons
shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any rights conferred on the dependants of deceased persons by the Fatal
Accidents Ordinance (Cap 22) and so much of this section and sections 21 and 22 as relates to causes of action against
the estates of deceased persons shall apply in relation to causes of action under the said Ordinance as it applies in
relation to other causes of action not expressly excepted from the operation of subsection (1).
(6) In the event of the insolvency of an estate against which proceedings are maintainable by virtue of this
section, any liability in respect of the cause of action in respect of which the proceedings are maintainable shall be
deemed to be a debt provable in the administration of the estate, notwithstanding that it is a demand in the nature of
unliquidated damages arising otherwise than by a contract, promise or breach of trust.
(36 of 1951 s. 2 incorporated)
[cf. 1934 c. 41 s. 1 U.K.]
Section: 20A Abolition of rights to damages for loss of expectation of life 30/06/1997
(1) In an action for damages for personal injuries-
(a) no damages shall be recoverable in respect of any loss of expectation of life caused to the injured
person by the injuries; but
(b) if the injured person's expectation of life has been reduced by the injuries, the court, in assessing
damages in respect of pain and suffering caused by the injuries, shall take account of any suffering
caused or likely to be caused to him by awareness that his expectation of life has been so reduced.
(2) The reference in subsection (1)(a) to damages in respect of loss of expectation of life does not include
damages in respect of loss of income.
(Added 40 of 1986 s. 3)
[cf. 1982 c. 53 s. 1 U.K.]
Section: 20B Abolition of common law actions for loss of society or
Except as provided in section 20C, no person shall be liable in tort-
(a) to a husband on the ground only of having deprived him of the services or society of his wife;
(b) to a parent (or person standing in the place of a parent) on the ground only of having deprived him of
the services of a child; or
(c) on the ground only-
Cap 23 - LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM (CONSOLIDATION) ORDINANCE 6
(i) of having deprived another of the services of his menial servant;
(ii) of having deprived another of the services of his female servant by raping or seducing her; or
(iii) of enticement of a servant or harbouring a servant.
(Added 40 of 1986 s. 3)
[cf. 1982 c. 53 s. 2 U.K.]
Section: 20C Actions for loss of society or services 18 of 2014 05/12/2014
(1) Where injury is caused to any person by any wrongful act, neglect or default which entitles him to maintain
an action and recover damages, and which causes any person referred to in paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) or (g) to
be deprived of his society, the person who is liable to such an action shall, subject to subsection (3), also be liable in
damages for the loss of the injured person's society suffered by such of the following persons as survive 30 days after
the date on which the cause of action accrued-
(a) the husband or wife of the injured person, unless they had been living apart for a continuous period of
at least 2 years immediately before the date on which the cause of action accrued; or
(b) where there is no spouse entitled to recover damages under paragraph (a), any children of the injured
(c) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragraph (a) or (b), any
concubine taken by the injured person before 7 October 1971; or
(d) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragraph (a), (b) or (c), any
(i) was living with the injured person in the same household immediately before the date on which
the cause of action accrued; and
(ii) had been living with the injured person in the same household for at least 2 years before that
as the husband or wife of the injured person; or
(e) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d), the
parents of the injured person or (if the injured person was illegitimate) his mother; or
(f) where there is no person by or for whom a claim can be made under paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e),
but the injured person was at the date on which the cause of action accrued a minor, any person who
during any marriage to which that person was a party treated the injured person as a son or daughter of
the family in relation to that marriage; or
(g) where there is no other person by or for whom a claim can be made under this subsection, any brother
or sister of the injured person. (Amended L.N. 307 of 1998; 18 of 2014 s. 153)
(2) The total sum awarded as damages under subsection (1) in respect of any injured person-
(a) shall not exceed the sum specified in section 4(3) of the Fatal Accidents Ordinance (Cap 22); and
(b) shall, where there are 2 or more claimants, be divided equally between them.
(3) Damages shall not be payable by virtue of subsection (1) if the injured person dies as a result of the act,
neglect or default referred to in that subsection and his death gives rise to a right to claim damages for bereavement
under section 4 of the Fatal Accidents Ordinance (Cap 22).
(4) Where injury is caused to any person by any wrongful act, neglect or default which entitles him to maintain
an action and recover damages in respect thereof and which causes any dependant of the injured person to be deprived
of his gratuitous services, the action may include a claim for damages by the injured person for impairment of his
ability to render such services.
(5) In this section-
"child" (子女) of an injured person includes-
(a) a child adopted by him in pursuance either of an adoption order made under the Adoption Ordinance
(Cap 290) or of any other adoption recognized as valid by the law of Hong Kong; and
(b) a person who, during any marriage to which the injured person was at any time a party, was treated by
him as a son or daughter of the family in relation to that marriage;
"dependant" (受養人), in relation to an injured person, means-
(a) the wife, husband, former wife or former husband of the injured person and any person whose
marriage to the injured person has been annulled or declared void;
(b) a concubine lawfully taken by the injured person before 7 October 1971; (Amended 18 of 2014 s. 153)
Cap 23 - LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM (CONSOLIDATION) ORDINANCE 7
(c) any person who-
(i) was living with the injured person in the same household immediately before the date of his
(ii) had been living with the injured person in the same household for at least 2 years before that
as the husband or wife of the injured person;
(d) any parent or other ascendant of the injured person;
(e) any person (not being a parent of the injured person) who, during any marriage to which that person
was a party, treated the injured person as a son or daughter of the family in relation to that marriage;
(f) any child or other descendant of the injured person;
(g) any person (not being a child of the injured person) who, during any marriage to which the injured
person was at any time a party, was treated by the injured person 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 injured person;
(i) any person who is, or is the issue of, a brother or sister of a grandparent of the injured person;
(j) any godchild or godparent of the injured person according to Chinese custom;
"injury" (傷害) includes any disease and any impairment of a person's physical or mental condition;
"parent" (父母) includes any person who, during any marriage to which that person was a party, treated the injured
person as a son or daughter of the family in relation to that marriage;
"wife" (妻子) has the same meaning as in the Fatal Accidents Ordinance (Cap 22),
and in deducing any relationship for the purposes of this section, section 2(2) of the Fatal Accidents Ordinance (Cap
22) shall apply as it applies for the purposes of that Ordinance.
(Added 40 of 1986 s. 3)
Section: 21 Apportionment of liability in case of contributory
(1) Where any person suffers damage as the result partly of his own fault and partly of the fault of any other
person or persons, a claim in respect of that damage shall not be defeated by reason of the fault of the person suffering
the damage, but the damages recoverable in respect thereof shall be reduced to such extent as the court thinks just and
equitable having regard to the claimant's share in the responsibility for the damage: (Amended L.N. 337 of 1989)
(a) this subsection shall not operate to defeat any defence arising under a contract;
(b) where any contract or enactment providing for the limitation of liability is applicable to the claim, the
amount of damages recoverable by the claimant by virtue of this subsection shall not exceed the
maximum limit so applicable.
(2) Where damages are recoverable by any person by virtue of subsection (1) subject to such reduction as is
therein mentioned, the court shall find and record the total damages which would have been recoverable if the
claimant had not been at fault.
(3) The Civil Liability (Contribution) Ordinance (Cap 377) shall apply in any case where 2 or more persons are
liable or would, if they had all been sued, be liable by virtue of subsection (1) in respect of the damage suffered by any
person. (Amended 77 of 1984 s. 10)
(4) Where any person dies as the result partly of his own fault and partly of the fault of any other person or
persons, and accordingly if an action were brought for the benefit of the estate under section 20 the damages
recoverable would be reduced under subsection (1), any damages recoverable in an action under the Fatal Accidents
Ordinance (Cap 22) shall be reduced to a proportionate extent. (Amended 40 of 1986 s. 4)
(4A) Where an action is brought under section 20C for the loss of the society of another in circumstances where
any damages recoverable by that other in proceedings brought by him would be reduced under subsection (1) of this
section, any damages awarded for such loss shall be reduced to a proportionate extent. (Added 40 of 1986 s. 4)
(5) Where, in any case to which subsection (1) applies, one of the persons at fault avoids liability to any other
such person or his personal representative by pleading any enactment limiting the time within which proceedings may
be taken, he shall not be entitled to recover any damages from that other person or representative by virtue of the said
subsection. (Amended 77 of 1984 s. 10)
(6) Where any case to which subsection (1) applies is tried with a jury, the jury shall determine the total
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damages which would have been recoverable if the claimant had not been at fault and the extent to which those
damages are to be reduced.
(7) Article 21 of the Convention contained in the First Schedule to the Carriage by Air Act 1932 (1932 c. 36
U.K.) (which empowers a court to exonerate wholly or partly a carrier who proves that the damage was caused by or
contributed to by the negligence of the injured person) shall in its application to the Colony have effect subject to the
provisions of this section.
(8) This section shall not apply to any claim to which section 1 of the Maritime Conventions Act 1911 (1911 c.
57 U.K.), applies and that Act shall have effect as if this section and sections 20 and 22 had not been enacted. [cf.
1945 c. 28 s. 3 U.K.]
(9) This section shall not apply to any case where the acts or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred before
26 October 1951. [cf. 1945 c. 28 s. 3 U.K.]
(10) In this section-
"court" (法院) means, in relation to any claim, the court or arbitrator by or before whom the claim falls to be
"damage" (損害) includes loss of life and personal injury;
"dependant" (受養人) means any person for whose benefit an action could be brought under the Fatal Accidents
Ordinance (Cap 22);
"fault" (過失) means negligence, breach of statutory duty or other act or omission which gives rise to a liability in tort
or would, apart from this section, give rise to the defence of contributory negligence. [cf. 1945 c. 28 s. 4 U.K.]
(36 of 1951 s. 4 incorporated)
[cf. 1945 c. 28 s. 1 U.K.]
Section: 22 Abolition of the defence of common employment 30/06/1997
(1) It shall not be a defence to an employer who is sued in respect of personal injuries caused by the negligence
of a person employed by him, that that person was at the time the injuries were caused in common employment with
the person injured. [cf. 1948 c. 41 s. 1 U.K.]
(2) Any provision contained in a contract of service or apprenticeship, or in an agreement collateral thereto,
(including a contract or agreement entered into before 26 October 1951) shall be void in so far as it would have the
effect of excluding or limiting any liability of the employer in respect of personal injuries caused to the person
employed or apprenticed by the negligence of persons in common employment with him. [cf. 1948 c. 41 s. 1 U.K.]
(3) In this section, "personal injury" (人身傷害) includes any disease and any impairment of a person's
physical or mental condition and "injured" (傷害) shall be construed accordingly. [cf. 1948 c. 41 s. 3 U.K.]
(36 of 1951 s. 5 incorporated)
Part: IVA CONGENITAL DISABILITIES-CIVIL LIABILITY 30/06/1997
(Part IVA added 20 of 1978 s. 2)
Section: 22A Interpretation and other supplementary provisions 30/06/1997
(1) Without prejudice to subsection (2), this Part applies in respect of births after (but not before) the
commencement* of this Part, and in respect of any such birth it replaces any law in force before such commencement
whereby a person could be liable to a child in respect of disabilities with which it might be born; but in section 22B(3)
the expression "liable in tort" (承擔侵權責任) does not include any reference to liability by virtue of this Part, or to
liability by virtue of any such law. [cf. 1976 c. 28 s. 4(5) U.K.]
(2) Section 22B does not affect the operation of the Nuclear Material (Liability for Carriage) Ordinance (Cap
479), as to liability for, and compensation in respect of, injury or damage caused by occurrences involving nuclear
matter or the emission of ionising radiations. (Amended 45 of 1995 s. 15)
(3) In this Part, "born" (出生) means born alive (the moment of a child's birth being when it first has a life
separate from its mother), and "birth" (出生) has a corresponding meaning.
(4) References in this Part to a child being born disabled or with disabilities are to its being born with any
Cap 23 - LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM (CONSOLIDATION) ORDINANCE 9
deformity, disease or abnormality, including predisposition (whether or not susceptible of immediate prognosis) to
physical or mental defect in the future.
* Commencement date-14.4.1978
Section: 22B Civil liability to child born disabled 30/06/1997
(1) If a child is born disabled as the result of such an occurrence before its birth as is mentioned in subsection
(2) and a person (other than the child's own mother) is under this section answerable to the child in respect of the
occurrence, the child's disabilities are to be regarded as damage resulting from the wrongful act of that person and
actionable accordingly at the suit of the child.
(2) An occurrence to which this section applies is one which-
(a) affected either parent of the child in his or her ability to have a normal, healthy child; or
(b) affected the mother during her pregnancy, or affected her or the child in the course of its birth, so that
the child is born with disabilities which would not otherwise have been present.
(3) Subject to subsections (4) to (7), a person (here referred to as "the defendant") is answerable to the child if
he was liable in tort to the parent or would, if sued in due time, have been so; and it is no answer that there could not
have been such liability because the parent suffered no actionable injury, if there was a breach of legal duty which,
accompanied by injury, would have given rise to liability.
(4) In the case of an occurrence preceding the time of conception, the defendant is not answerable to the child if
at that time either or both of the parents knew the risk of their child being born disabled (that is to say, the particular
risk created by the occurrence); but should it be the child's father who is the defendant, this subsection does not apply
if he knew of the risk and the mother did not.
(5) The defendant is not answerable to the child, for anything he did or omitted to do when responsible in a
professional capacity for treating or advising the parent, if he took reasonable care having due regard to then received
professional opinion applicable to the particular class of case; but this does not mean that he is answerable only
because he departed from received opinion.
(6) Liability to the child under this section may be treated as having been excluded or limited by contract made
with the parent affected, to the same extent and subject to the same restrictions as liability in the parent's own case;
and a contract term which could have been set up by the defendant in an action by the parent, so as to exclude or limit
his liability to him or her, operates in the defendant's favour to the same, but no greater, extent in an action under this
section by the child.
(7) If in the child's action under this section it is shown that the parent affected shared the responsibility for the
child being born disabled, the damages are to be reduced to such extent as the court thinks just and equitable having
regard to the extent of the parent's responsibility.
[cf. 1976 c. 28 s. 1 U.K.]
Section: 22C Liability to be regarded as liability for personal injuries
sustained by child immediately after its birth
Liability to a child under section 22B is to be regarded-
(a) as respects all its incidents and any matters arising or to arise out of it; and
(b) subject to any contrary context or intention, for the purpose of construing references in enactments and
documents to personal or bodily injuries and cognate matters,
as liability for personal injuries sustained by the child immediately after its birth.
[cf. 1976 c. 28 s. 4(3) U.K.]
Section: 22D No damages for loss of expectation of life unless child lives
for at least 48 hours
No damages shall be recoverable under section 22B in respect of any loss of expectation of life unless the child
lives for at least 48 hours.
[cf. 1976 c. 28 s. 4(4) U.K.]
Cap 23 - LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM (CONSOLIDATION) ORDINANCE 10
Section: 22E Application to Crown 30/06/1997
This Part binds the Crown.
Part: V Breach of Promise E.R. 1 of 2013 25/04/2013
(*Format changes—E.R. 1 of 2013)
* The format of Part V has been updated to the current legislative styles.
Section: 23 Engagements to marry not enforceable at law E.R. 1 of 2013 25/04/2013
(1) An agreement between 2 persons to marry one another shall not have effect as a contract giving rise to legal
rights and no action shall lie for breach of such an agreement.
(2) This section shall have effect in relation to agreements entered into before 7 October 1971, except that it shall
not affect any action begun before that date.
(35 of 1971 s. 4 incorporated)
[cf. 1970 c. 33 s. 1 U.K.]
Section: 24 Property of engaged couples E.R. 1 of 2013 25/04/2013
(1) Where an agreement to marry is terminated, any rule of law relating to the rights of husbands and wives in
relation to property in which either or both has or have a beneficial interest shall apply, in relation to any
property in which either or both of the parties to the agreement had a beneficial interest while the agreement was
in force, as it applies in relation to property in which a husband or wife has a beneficial interest.
(2) Where an agreement to marry is terminated, sections 6 and 7 of the Married Persons Status Ordinance (Cap 182)
(which sections confer power on a judge to settle disputes between husband and wife about property) shall
apply, as if the parties were married, to any dispute between, or claim by, one of them in relation to property in
which either or both had a beneficial interest while the agreement was in force; but an application made by
virtue of this section to the judge under the said sections shall be made within 3 years of the termination of the
(35 of 1971 s. 4 incorporated)
[cf. 1970 c. 33 s. 2 U.K.]
Section: 25 Gifts between engaged couples E.R. 1 of 2013 25/04/2013
(1) A party to an agreement to marry who makes a gift of property to the other party to the agreement on the
condition (express or implied) that it shall be returned if the agreement is terminated shall not be prevented from
recovering the property by reason only of his having terminated the agreement.
(2) The gift of an engagement ring shall be presumed to be an absolute gift; this presumption may be rebutted by
proving that the ring was given on the condition, express or implied, that it should be returned if the marriage did
not take place for any reason.
(35 of 1971 s. 4 incorporated)
[cf. 1970 c. 33 s. 3 U.K.]
Part: VA FORFEITURE 30/06/1997
(Part VA added 16 of 1996 s. 2)
Section: 25A Definition 30/06/1997
(1) In this Part "the forfeiture rule" (喪失權利規則) means the rule of law relating to public policy which in
certain circumstances precludes a person who has unlawfully killed another from acquiring a benefit in consequence
Cap 23 - LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM (CONSOLIDATION) ORDINANCE 11
of the killing.
(2) References in this Part to a person who has unlawfully killed another includes a reference to a person who
has unlawfully aided, abetted, counselled or procured the death of that other and references in this Part to unlawful
killing shall be construed accordingly.
[cf. 1982 c. 34 s. 1 U.K.]
Section: 25B Power to modify the rule 30/06/1997
(1) Where a court determines that the forfeiture rule has precluded a person (in this section referred to as "the
offender") who has unlawfully killed another from acquiring any interest in property mentioned in subsection (4),
subject to section 25D, the court may make an order modifying the effect of that rule.
(2) The court shall not make an order under subsection (1) unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the
conduct of the offender and of the deceased concerned and to such other circumstances (if any) as appear to the court
to be material, the justice of the particular case requires the effect of the rule to be modified in that case.
(3) In any case where a person stands convicted of an offence of which unlawful killing is an element, the court
shall not make an order under subsection (1) modifying the effect of the forfeiture rule in that case unless proceedings
for the purpose are brought before the expiry of the period of 90 days beginning on-
(a) in case an appeal is taken as regards the conviction, the day on which the appeal is determined or
(b) in any other case, the day on which the period during which such an appeal may be taken expires.
(4) The interests in property referred to in subsection (1) are-
(a) any beneficial interest in property which (apart from the forfeiture rule) the offender would have
(i) under the relevant deceased's will or the law relating to intestacy;
(ii) on the nomination of that deceased or on the failure of that deceased to make a nomination;
(iii) as a donatio mortis causa made by that deceased; or
(b) any beneficial interest in property which (apart from the forfeiture rule) the offender would have
acquired in consequence of the death of such deceased, being property which, before the death, was
held on trust for any person.
(5) An order under subsection (1) may modify the effect of the forfeiture rule in respect of any interest in
property to which the order relates and may do so in either or both of the following ways, that is-
(a) where there is more than one such interest, by excluding the application of the rule in respect of any
(but not all) of those interests; and
(b) in the case of any such interest in property, by excluding the application of the rule in respect of part of
(6) On the making of an order under subsection (1), the forfeiture rule shall have effect for all purposes
(including purposes relating to anything done before the order was made) subject to the modifications made by the
(7) A court shall not make an order under subsection (1) modifying the effect of the forfeiture rule in respect of
any interest in property which, in consequence of the rule, has been acquired before the coming into force of this
section by a person other than the offender or a person claiming through him.
(8) In this section-
"property" (財產) includes any chose in action or incorporeal movable property;
"will" (遺囑) includes a codicil.
[cf. 1982 c. 34 s. 1 U.K.]
Section: 25C Application for financial provision not affected by the rule 30/06/1997
(1) The forfeiture rule shall not be taken to preclude any person from making any application under a provision
mentioned in subsection (2) or the making of any order on any such application.
(2) The provisions referred to in subsection (1) are-
(a) any provision of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Ordinance (Cap 481);
(b) sections 11 and 16 of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Ordinance (Cap 192).
[cf. 1982 c. 34 s. 1 U.K.]
Cap 23 - LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM (CONSOLIDATION) ORDINANCE 12
Section: 25D Exclusion of murderers 30/06/1997
Nothing in this Part or in any order made under section 25B(1) or referred to in section 25C(1) shall affect the
application of the forfeiture rule in the case of a person who stands convicted of murder.
[cf. 1982 c. 34 s. 1 U.K.]
(Part VA added 16 of 1996 s. 2)
Part: VI MISCELLANEOUS 30/06/1997
Section: 26 Validity of instruments under seal executed by persons not
appointed under seal
23 of 1998 01/07/1997
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 23 of 1998 s. 2
(1) The fact that a power of attorney or document of authorization given by a foreign corporation to or in
favour of any person is not under seal shall not, if such power of attorney or document of authorization is valid as a
power of attorney or document of authorization in accordance with the laws of the place under which such corporation
is incorporated, affect, for any purpose intended to be effected within Hong Kong, the validity or effect of any
instrument under seal executed on behalf of such corporation by such person, which shall for all such purposes be as
valid as if such authority had been under seal.
(2) In this section, "foreign corporation" (外地法團 ) means any corporate body duly incorporated in
accordance with the laws of any place outside Hong Kong.
(1 of 1920 ss. 2 & 3 incorporated. Replaced 53 of 1971 s. 3. Amended 23 of 1998 s. 2)
Section: 27 Payment of emoluments, etc., when the payee is certified to
When any sum in respect of emoluments, pension, gratuity or other allowance is payable out of the revenues of
the Colony to any public servant, or to the widow or child of any public servant, and the person to whom the sum is
payable is certified by 2 persons who are either Government Medical Officers or medical practitioners to be unable by
reason of mental disability to manage his or her affairs, the Governor in Council may direct the payment of so much of
the said sum as he may think fit to the institution or person having the care of the disabled person, and may direct the
payment of the surplus, if any, or so much thereof as he may think fit, for or towards the maintenance and benefit of
the wife or husband and relatives of the disabled person, and payment under such direction shall be a sufficient
discharge from all liability in respect of any sums so paid.
(27 of 1935 s. 2 incorporated)
[cf. 1890 c. 5 s. 335 U.K.]
Section: 28 (Repealed 62 of 1984 s. 66) 30/06/1997
Section: 29 Imposition of penalty not to bar civil action 30/06/1997
The imposition of a penalty or fine by or under any Ordinance shall not relieve any person from liability to
answer in damages to a person injured.
This provision previously appeared in s. 85 of Cap 1. By virtue of 89 of 1993 s. 27, it was re-enacted as s. 29 of
Cap 23 - LAW AMENDMENT AND REFORM (CONSOLIDATION) ORDINANCE 13
Section: 30 Defence of tender before action L.N. 18 of 2009 02/04/2009
(1) Notwithstanding any rule of law to the contrary, in proceedings for a monetary claim, whether liquidated or
unliquidated, it is a defence for the defendant to prove that before the claimant commenced the proceedings, the
defendant had unconditionally offered to the claimant—
(a) the amount due where the claim is liquidated; or
(b) an amount sufficient to satisfy the claim where the claim is unliquidated.
(2) The defendant is not entitled to rely on the defence under subsection (1) unless, before serving his defence
on the claimant, he has—
(a) made a payment into court of the amount offered; and
(b) notified the claimant of the payment into court.
(3) This section does not apply in relation to proceedings commenced before the commencement* of this
(Added 3 of 2008 s. 8)
* Commencement date: 2 April 2009.