Married Persons Status Ordinance


Published: 1997-06-30

Subscribe to a Global-Regulation Premium Membership Today!

Key Benefits:

Subscribe Now for only USD$20 per month, or Get a Day Pass for only USD$4.99.
Cap 182 - MARRIED PERSONS STATUS ORDINANCE 1

Chapter: 182 MARRIED PERSONS STATUS ORDINANCE Gazette Number Version Date

Long title 30/06/1997


To consolidate the law relating to the status of married persons.


[7 October 1971]

(Originally 27 of 1971)

Section: 1 Short title 30/06/1997


This Ordinance may be cited as the Married Persons Status Ordinance.

Section: 2 Application 30/06/1997


(1) Save where otherwise appears, this Ordinance applies to persons who are parties to a marriage, whether
married before or after the commencement of this Ordinance.

(2) In subsection (1), "marriage" means-
(a) a marriage celebrated or contracted in accordance with the provisions of the Marriage Ordinance (Cap

181);
(b) a modern marriage validated by the Marriage Reform Ordinance (Cap 178);
(c) a customary marriage declared to be valid by the Marriage Reform Ordinance (Cap 178); or
(d) a marriage celebrated or contracted outside Hong Kong in accordance with the law in force at the time

and in the place where the marriage was performed.

Section: 3 Capacity of married women 30/06/1997


(1) Subject to this Ordinance, a married woman shall-
(a) be capable of acquiring, holding and disposing of, any property;
(b) be capable of rendering herself, and being rendered, liable in respect of any tort, contract, debt or

obligation;
(c) be capable of suing and being sued, either in tort or in contract or otherwise; and
(d) be subject to the law relating to bankruptcy and to the enforcement of judgements and orders,

in all respects as if she were unmarried. [cf. 1935 c. 30 s. 1 U.K.]
(2) A married woman may act as a trustee or personal representative in all respects as if she were unmarried. [cf.

1882 c. 75 s. 18 U.K.]

Section: 4 Property of married women 30/06/1997


(1) Subject to this Ordinance, all property which-
(a) immediately before the 20th day of March 1936 was the separate property of a married woman or held

for her separate use in equity; or
(b) belonged or belongs at the time of her marriage to a woman married after that date; or
(c) after that date has been or is acquired by or devolved or devolves upon a married woman,

shall belong to her in all respects as if she were unmarried and may be disposed of accordingly. [cf. 1935 c. 30 s. 2
U.K.]

(2) No restriction upon anticipation or alienation attached, whether before or after the commencement of this
Ordinance, to the enjoyment of any property by a woman which could not have been attached to the enjoyment of that
property by a man shall be of any effect.
[cf. 1949 c. 78 s. 1(1) & (2) U.K.]




Cap 182 - MARRIED PERSONS STATUS ORDINANCE 2

Section: 5 Actions in tort between husband and wife 30/06/1997


(1) Subject to this section, each of the parties to a marriage shall have the like right of action in tort against the
other as if they were unmarried. [cf. 1962 c. 48 s. 1(1) U.K.]

(2) Where an action in tort is brought by one of the parties to a marriage against the other during the
subsistence of the marriage, the court may stay the action if it appears-

(a) that no substantial benefit would accrue to either party from the continuation of the proceedings; or
(b) that the question or questions in issue could more conveniently be disposed of on an application made

under section 6. [cf. 1962 c. 48 s. 1(2) U.K.]
(3) Without prejudice to subsection (2)(b), the court may, in such an action, either exercise any power which

could be exercised on an application under section 6 or give such directions as it thinks fit for the disposal under that
section of any question arising in the proceedings.

(4) The references in subsection (1) to the parties to a marriage include references to the persons who were
parties to a marriage which has been dissolved. [cf. 1962 c. 48 s. 3(3) U.K.]

(5) This section does not apply to any cause of action which arose, or would but for the subsistence of a
marriage have arisen, before the commencement of this Ordinance. [cf. 1962 c. 48 s. 3(4) U.K.]

Section: 6 Questions between husband and wife as to property to be

decided in a summary way
25 of 1998 01/07/1997



Remarks:
Adaptation amendments retroactively made - see 25 of 1998 s. 2


(1) In any question between husband and wife as to the title to or possession of property the husband or the
wife may apply by summons or otherwise in a summary way to a judge to determine the question.

(2) On any such application the judge may make such order with respect to the property in dispute and as to the
costs of and consequent on the application as he thinks fit, or may direct such application to stand over and any
inquiry touching the matters in question to be made in such manner as he thinks fit.

(3) An order made under subsection (2) shall be subject to appeal in the same way as an order made by the
judge in an action in the Court of First Instance would be. (Amended 92 of 1975 s. 59; 25 of 1998 s. 2)

(4) If either party so requests, the judge may hear the application in private.
[cf. 1882 c. 75 s. 17 U.K.]


Section: 7 Extension of section 6 30/06/1997


(1) Any right of a wife, under section 6, to apply to a judge, in any question between husband and wife as to the
title to or possession of property, shall include the right to make such an application where it is claimed by the wife
that her husband has had in his possession or under his control-

(a) money to which, or to a share of which, she was beneficially entitled (whether by reason that it
represented the proceeds of property to which, or to an interest in which, she was beneficially entitled,
or for any other reason); or

(b) property (other than money) to which, or to an interest in which, she was beneficially entitled,
and that either that money or other property has ceased to be in his possession or under his control or that she does not
know whether it is still in his possession or under his control.

(2) Where, on an application made to a judge under section 6, as extended by subsection (1), the judge is
satisfied-

(a) that the husband has had in his possession or under his control money or other property as mentioned
in subsection (1)(a) or (b); and

(b) that he has not made to the wife, in respect of that money or other property, such payment or
disposition as would have been appropriate in the circumstances,

the power to make orders under that section shall be extended in accordance with subsection (3).
(3) Where subsection (2) applies, the power to make orders under section 6 shall include power for the judge to

order the husband to pay to the wife-
(a) in a case falling within subsection (1)(a), such sum in respect of the money to which the application

relates, or the wife's share thereof, as the case may be; or



Cap 182 - MARRIED PERSONS STATUS ORDINANCE 3

(b) in a case falling within subsection (1)(b), such sum in respect of the value of the property to which the
application relates, or the wife's interest therein, as the case may be,

as the judge may consider appropriate.
(4) Where on an application under section 6, as extended by this section, it appears to the judge that there is any

property which-
(a) represents the whole or part of the money or property in question; and
(b) is property in respect of which an order could have been made under that section if an application had

been made by the wife thereunder in a question as to the title to or possession of that property,
the judge (either in substitution for or in addition to the making of an order in accordance with subsection (3)) may
make any order under that section in respect of that property which he could have made on such an application as is
mentioned in paragraph (b).

(5) Subsections (1), (2), (3) and (4) shall have effect in relation to a husband as they have effect in relation to a
wife, as if any reference to the husband were a reference to the wife and any reference to the wife were a reference to
the husband.

(6) Any power of a judge under section 6 to direct inquiries or give any other directions in relation to an
application under that section shall be exercisable in relation to an application made under that section, as extended by
this section; and subsections (3) and (4) of that section shall apply in relation to any order made under section 6, as
extended by this section, as they apply in relation to an order made under that section apart from this section.

(7) For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that any power conferred by section 6 to make orders with
respect to any property includes power to order a sale of the property.

(8) In this section "disposition" (產權處置) does not include any provision contained in a will, but, with that
exception, includes any conveyance, assurance or gift of property of any description, whether made by an instrument
or otherwise. [cf. 1958 c. 35 s. 8(1) U.K.]

[cf. 1958 c. 35 s. 7 U.K.]

Section: 8 Further extension of sections 6 and 7 30/06/1997


An application may be made under section 6 (including that section as extended by section 7) by either of the
parties to a marriage notwithstanding that their marriage has been dissolved or annulled so long as the application is
made within the period of three years beginning with the date on which the marriage was dissolved or annulled; and
references in sections 6 and 7 to a husband or a wife shall be construed accordingly.

(Added 39 of 1972 s. 33(3))
[cf. 1970 c. 45 s. 39 U.K.]


Section: 9 Contributions by spouse in money or money's worth to the

improvement of property
30/06/1997



It is hereby declared that, where a husband or wife contributes in money or money's worth to the improvement of
real or personal property in which or in the proceeds of sale of which either or both of them has or have a beneficial
interest, the husband or wife so contributing shall, if the contribution is of a substantial nature and subject to any
agreement between them to the contrary express or implied, be treated as having them acquired by virtue of his or her
contribution a share or an enlarged share, as the case may be, in that beneficial interest of such an extent as may have
been then agreed or, in default of such agreement, as may seem in all the circumstances just to any court before which
the question of the existence or extent of the beneficial interest of the husband or wife arises (whether in proceedings
between them or in any other proceedings).

(Added 39 of 1972 s. 33(3))
[cf. 1970 c. 45 s. 37 U.K.]


Section: 10 Abolition of husband's liability for wife's torts, contracts,

debts and obligations
30/06/1997



Subject to this Ordinance, the husband of a woman shall not, by reason only of his being her husband, be liable-
(a) in respect of any tort committed by her whether before or after the marriage, or in respect of any

contract entered into, or debt or obligation incurred, by her before the marriage; or



Cap 182 - MARRIED PERSONS STATUS ORDINANCE 4

(b) to be sued or made a party to any legal proceedings brought in respect of any such tort, contract, debt
or obligation.

[cf. 1935 c. 30 s. 3 U.K.]

Section: 11 Abolition of wife's agency of necessity 30/06/1997


Any rule of law or equity conferring on a wife authority, as agent of necessity of her husband, to pledge his
credit or to borrow money on his credit is hereby abrogated.

[cf. 1970 c. 45 s. 41 U.K.]

Section: 12 Gift in fraud of creditors 30/06/1997


Nothing in this Ordinance shall be construed as validating-
(a) as against creditors of the husband, any gift, by a husband to his wife, of any property which, after

such gift, continues to be in the order or disposition or reputed ownership of the husband or any
deposit or other investment of moneys of the husband made by or in the name of his wife in fraud of
his creditors; or

(b) as against creditors of the wife, any gift, by a wife to her husband, of any property which, after such
gift, continues to be in the order or disposition or reputed ownership of the wife or any deposit or other
investment of moneys of the wife made by or in the name of her husband in fraud of her creditors,

and any such money so deposited or invested may be followed as if this Ordinance had not been passed.
[cf. 1882 c. 75 s. 10 U.K.]


Section: 13 Insurance for benefit of spouse or children 30/06/1997


(1) This section applies to a policy of assurance or endowment expressed to be for the benefit of, or by its
express terms purporting to confer a benefit upon, the wife, husband or child of the insured.

(2) The policy shall create a trust in favour of the objects therein named.
(3) The moneys payable under the policy shall not, so long as any part of the trust remains unperformed, form

part of the estate of the insured or be subject to his or her debts.
(4) If it is proved that the policy was effected and the premiums paid with intent to defraud the creditors of the

insured, they shall be entitled to receive, out of the moneys payable under the policy, a sum equal to the premiums so
paid.

(5) The insured may by the policy, or by any memorandum under his or her hand, appoint a trustee or trustees
of the moneys payable under the policy, and from time to time appoint a new trustee or new trustees thereof, and may
make provision for the appointment of a new trustee or new trustees thereof, and for the investment of the moneys
payable under any such policy.

(6) In default of any such appointment of a trustee, such policy, immediately on its being effected, shall vest in
the insured and his or her legal personal representatives, in trust for the purposes aforesaid.

(7) The receipt of a trustee or trustees duly appointed, or in default of any such appointment, or in default of
notice to the insurer, the receipt of the legal personal representative of the insured, shall be a discharge to the insurer
for the sum secured by the policy, or for the value thereof, in whole or in part.

[cf. 1882 c. 75 s. 11 U.K.]

Section: 14 Will of married woman 30/06/1997


Section 19 of the Wills Ordinance (Cap 30) (which provides for the cases in which a will is to be construed as
speaking from the death of the testator) shall apply to the will of a married woman made during coverture whether she
is or is not possessed of or entitled to any property at the time of making it, and such will shall not require to be re-
executed or republished after the death of her husband.

[cf. 1893 c. 63 s. 3 U.K.]




Cap 182 - MARRIED PERSONS STATUS ORDINANCE 5

Section: 15 Receipts by married infants 30/06/1997


A married infant shall have power to give valid receipts for all income (including statutory accumulations of
income made during minority) to which the infant may be entitled in like manner as if the infant were an adult.

[cf. 1925 c. 20 s. 21 U.K.]

Section: 16 Power of attorney of married woman 30/06/1997


A married woman, whether an infant or not, shall have power, as if she were unmarried and an adult, by deed, to
appoint an attorney on her behalf for the purpose of executing any deed or doing any other act which she might herself
execute or do.

[cf. 1925 c. 20 s. 129 U.K.]

Section: 17 Savings 30/06/1997


For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that nothing in this Ordinance-
(a) renders the husband of a married woman liable in respect of any contract entered into, or debt or

obligation incurred, by her after the marriage in respect of which he would not have been liable if this
Ordinance had not been passed;

(b) exempts the husband of a married woman from liability in respect of any contract entered into, or debt
or obligation (not being a debt or obligation arising out of the commission of a tort) incurred, by her
after the marriage in respect of which be would have been liable if this Ordinance had not been passed;

(c) prevents a husband and wife from acquiring, holding, and disposing of, any property jointly or as
tenants in common, or from rendering themselves, or being rendered, jointly liable in respect of any
tort, contract, debt or obligation, and of suing and being sued either in tort or in contract or otherwise,
in like manner as if they were not married;

(d) prevents the exercise of any joint power given to a husband and wife.
[cf. 1935 c. 30 s. 4(2) U.K.]

Related Laws