Cheung Chau resident Kwok Cheuk-kin has filed a judicial review over a legislature rule amendment that reduces the quorum needed for the “committee of the whole council” stage of general meetings from 35 to 20.

The Legislative Council last week passed controversial changes to its house rules. Changes to the Rules of Procedure were proposed mostly by the pro-Beijing camp in order to curb filibustering by democrats.

legco council
Legislative Council chamber. Photo: Catherine Lai/HKFP.

Concerns have been raised that the change relating to the quorum may be unconstitutional. Under Article 75 of the Basic Law, “The quorum for the meeting of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be not less than one half of all its members.”

Kwok – also known as the “king of judicial review” for the number of lawsuits he lodged – filed a writ with the High Court on Monday, requesting an order that the amendment violated the Basic Law and that pro-establishment lawmakers breached their promise to uphold the Basic Law.

Kwok Cheuk-kin
Kwok Cheuk-kin. Photo: In-media.

Kwok said he believes that they have violated their oath and should be disqualified, as six opposition lawmakers were over the ways in which they took their oaths of office.

Legislative Council President Andrew Leung was also listed as a respondent.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu said the camp will discuss on Monday whether it is necessary for a lawmaker to file a judicial review, Ming Pao reported.

Eddie Chu
Eddie Chu. Photo: In-Media.

Chu cited sources as telling him that the pro-establishment camp is not afraid of losing the suit, as they could still apply to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to interpret the law in that event. However, he said that a judicial review should still be filed so that the courts can review the issue.

Pro-Beijing DAB lawmaker Starry Lee said on a RTHK programme that she expected the pro-democracy camp to lodge a judicial review. When asked to respond to Chu’s comments, Lee said the Standing Committee would naturally have the power to interpret the law.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.