Domicile Ordinance


Published: 2009-03-01

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Cap 596 - DOMICILE ORDINANCE 1

Chapter: 596 DOMICILE ORDINANCE Gazette Number Version Date

Long title L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


An Ordinance to consolidate and reform the law for determining the domicile of individuals.


[1 March 2009] L.N. 280 of 2008


(Originally 4 of 2008)

Part: 1 PRELIMINARY L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009




Section: 1 Short title and commencement 02/03/2009


(1) This Ordinance may be cited as the Domicile Ordinance.
(2) (Omitted as spent)


Section: 2 Interpretation L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


(1) In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires—
“child” (未成年人) means an individual who has not attained the age of 18 (whether or not the individual is

married under the law of any country or territory and whether or not the individual is a parent), and “adult”
(成年人) shall be construed accordingly;

“court” (法院) includes a magistrate;
“parent” (父母), in relation to a child, means—

(a) the natural father or natural mother of the child (whether or not the natural father and natural mother
are married to each other);

(b) a parent of the child by adoption; or
(c) a stepfather or stepmother of the child.

(2) For the purposes of the definition of “parent”—
(a) an adoption means—

(i) an adoption under an adoption order made in accordance with the Adoption Ordinance (Cap
290); or

(ii) an adoption recognized as valid by the law of Hong Kong;
(b) where a child is so adopted and subject to paragraph (c), the adopter or adopters, and not any other

person, is or are treated as the parent or parents of the child; and
(c) where—

(i) a person married to a natural parent of a child has adopted the child under an adoption within the
meaning of paragraph (a); and

(ii) by virtue of paragraph (c)(i) of section 13(1) of the Adoption Ordinance (Cap 290), the child
stands to the adopter and that natural parent exclusively in the position of a child born to them in
lawful wedlock in respect of the relevant matters within the meaning of that section 13(1), or by
virtue of any law of the country or territory of adoption other than Hong Kong, the child stands
to the adopter and that natural parent exclusively in such a position in respect of such matters,

the adopter and that natural parent, and not any other person, are treated as the parents of the child.
(3) In this Ordinance, a reference to a country or territory, in relation to an individual whose domicile at any

time is in question, is a reference to a country or territory that has its own system of law at that time.

Part: 2 DETERMINATION OF DOMICILE L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009






Cap 596 - DOMICILE ORDINANCE 2

Section: 3 General rules L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


(1) Every individual has a domicile.
(2) No individual has, at the same time and for the same purpose, more than one domicile.
(3) Where the domicile of an individual is in issue before any court in Hong Kong, that court shall determine

the issue in accordance with the law of Hong Kong.

Section: 4 Domicile of children L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


(1) A child is domiciled in the country or territory with which he is for the time being most closely connected.
(2) Where the child’s parents are domiciled in the same country or territory and the child has his home with

either or both of them, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that the child is most closely connected with
that country or territory.

(3) Where the child’s parents are not domiciled in the same country or territory and the child has his home
with one of them, but not with the other, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that the child is most
closely connected with the country or territory in which the parent with whom he has his home is domiciled.

Section: 5 Domicile of adults L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


(1) On becoming an adult, an individual retains (subject to subsection (2)) the domicile that he had immediately
before he becomes an adult.

(2) Subject to sections 6, 7 and 8, an adult acquires a new domicile in a country or territory if—
(a) he is present there; and
(b) he intends to make a home there for an indefinite period.


Section: 6 Acquiring a domicile in Hong Kong L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


(1) An adult does not acquire a domicile in Hong Kong under section 5(2) unless he is lawfully present in Hong
Kong.

(2) An adult’s presence in Hong Kong shall be presumed to be lawful unless the contrary is proved.
(3) In exceptional circumstances where it is proved that strict adherence to subsection (1) would result in

injustice, an adult may despite subsection (1) acquire a domicile in Hong Kong even though his presence in Hong
Kong is unlawful.

Section: 7 Acquiring a domicile in another country or territory L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


In determining for the purposes of section 5(2) whether an adult has acquired a domicile in a country or territory
other than Hong Kong—

(a) account shall be taken of whether his presence in that country or territory is lawful by the law of that
country or territory; but

(b) even if his presence in that country or territory is unlawful by the law of that country or territory, that
fact does not preclude a determination that he has acquired a domicile in that country or territory.


Section: 8 Domicile of adults under disability L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


(1) An adult lacking the capacity to form the intention necessary for acquiring a domicile is domiciled in the
country or territory with which he is for the time being most closely connected.

(2) Whether an adult lacks that capacity is a question of fact.
(3) When that capacity is restored to an adult, he retains the domicile that he had immediately before the

capacity was restored.




Cap 596 - DOMICILE ORDINANCE 3

Section: 9 Continuity of domicile L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


Where an individual is domiciled in a country or territory as determined in accordance with this Ordinance, he
continues to be so domiciled until he acquires another domicile, whether under section 4, 5, 8 or 10.

Section: 10 Domicile in country comprising 2 or more territories L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


In any case where—
(a) an adult is present in a country comprising 2 or more territories and intends to make a home in that

country for an indefinite period; but
(b) the application to him of the other provisions of this Ordinance does not show that he is domiciled in

any particular territory within the country,
then (notwithstanding the other provisions of this Ordinance) he shall be treated, until he acquires another domicile
(whether under section 5 or 8 or this section), as domiciled in the territory within that country with which he is for the
time being most closely connected.

Section: 11 Closest connection L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


(1) In determining for the purposes of section 4, 8 or 10 the country or territory with which an individual is for
the time being most closely connected, account may be taken of any relevant matter.

(2) In determining for the purposes of section 4 the country or territory with which a child is for the time being
most closely connected, account shall be taken of any preference that the child may have as to the country or territory
in which to have his home.

(3) In determining for the purposes of section 8 the country or territory with which an adult lacking the capacity
to form the intention necessary for acquiring a domicile is for the time being most closely connected, account shall be
taken of any intention that he might have, immediately before losing that capacity and as an adult, as to the country or
territory in which to make a home for an indefinite period.

(4) Any matter taken into account under subsection (1), (2) or (3) may be given such weight as is appropriate in
all the circumstances of the case.

Section: 12 Standard of proof L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


Any fact that needs to be proved for the purposes of this Ordinance shall be proved on a balance of probabilities.

Section: 13 Domicile before commencement date L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


The domicile that an individual had at a time before the commencement date of this Ordinance shall be
determined as if this Ordinance had not been enacted.

Section: 14 Domicile on or after commencement date L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009


(1) The domicile that an individual has at a time on or after the commencement date of this Ordinance shall be
determined as if this Ordinance (other than section 13) had always been in force.

(2) For the purposes of a determination under subsection (1), this Ordinance (other than section 13) applies in
place of—

(a) the rules of common law for determining the domicile of an individual to the extent that those rules are
inconsistent with this Ordinance (other than section 13); and

(b) section 11C(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Ordinance (Cap 179), which section is repealed by this
Ordinance.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2)(a), the rules of common law for determining the domicile of an
individual include (without limitation)—

(a) the rule that a domicile of origin is given to every individual at birth by operation of law;
(b) the rule that a child has a domicile of dependency;
(c) the rule that a married woman has at all times the domicile of her husband;



Cap 596 - DOMICILE ORDINANCE 4

(d) the rule on the acquisition of the domicile of choice based on residence and intention of permanent
residence;

(e) the rule on the revival of the domicile of origin;
(f) the rule that a mentally incapacitated adult retains the domicile that he had when he became mentally

incapacitated for so long as he remains in that condition; and
(g) the rule that the standard of proof required to prove that an individual’s domicile changes from a

domicile of origin to a domicile of choice is more onerous than that required to prove a change from a
domicile of choice to another.

(4) Except as provided in this section, nothing in this Ordinance affects any rules of common law.

Part: 3 CONSEQUENTIAL AMENDMENTS L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009




Section: 15 (Omitted as spent) 02/03/2009




Section: 16 (Omitted as spent) L.N. 280 of 2008 01/03/2009

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