The government is now requesting the court to declare the office of Youngspiration lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung Chung-hang vacant in its judicial review against the decision of the Legislative Council president to allow the duo to retake their oaths.

The controversy surrounds Yau and Leung, who referred to “China” as “Chee-na” – considered by some to be an insult – in the legislature’s swearing-in session two weeks ago. The government requested an unprecedented judicial review last Tuesday in an effort to block the lawmakers from retaking their oaths. It was granted leave and a hearing is scheduled for November 3.

Baggio Leung Yau Wai-ching
Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

The government submitted an amended writ on Tuesday, asking the court to give a declaration that the office occupied by Yau and Leung is now vacant if they have already entered on it.

The request is in addition to that of an order to quash the LegCo president’s decision on the oath-retaking. The government’s another request for an interim injunction to stop the president from administering the oaths was rejected last week.

legco judicial review writ
legco judicial review writ
The government’s amended writ. Photo: Stand News.

Legislative Council President Andrew Leung announced on Tuesday that he will defer the oath-taking of Yau and Leung on Wednesday until the legal challenge over the matter is concluded.

See also: Explainer: Separation of powers, judicial reviews and the legal bid to stop localist lawmakers

Section 21 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance stipulates that anyone who “declines or neglects to take an oath duly requested” shall vacate their office if they have entered on it, or shall be disqualified if they have not entered on their office.

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.