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FS outlines fiscal consolidation plan

In the 2024-25 Budget announced today, Financial Secretary Paul Chan proposed a number of measures to increase revenue and outlined a fiscal consolidation programme which aims to restore fiscal balance in a few years’ time.   Mr Chan said even though the Government strived to reduce expenditure as the COVID-19 pandemic had subsided, the total expenditure for 2023-24 reached $727.9 billion, representing an increase of 36.9% compared with 2018-19, of which operating expenditure rose substantially by 40.2% whereas operating revenue increased only 13.1%.   On capital works, owing to the fact that the Government has been pressing ahead with land and housing supply projects, along with other infrastructure works for improving the environment and people’s livelihood, the average annual expenditure has increased from about $76 billion over the past five years to about $85 billion in 2023-24.   Fiscal reserves have dropped to the current level of $733.2 billion.   Fiscal consoli

Court arrangement comes into force

A civil and commercial arrangement between the Mainland and Hong Kong came into operation today.


The arrangement involves the Mainland Judgments in Civil & Commercial Matters Ordinance and the Arrangement on Reciprocal Recognition & Enforcement of Judgments in Civil & Commercial Matters by the Courts of the Mainland & of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.


Under the arrangement's new mechanism, the courts of the two places may recognise and enforce reciprocally effective judgments in civil and commercial matters that are made by the courts of the other place and are covered by the arrangement. This reduces the need for parties to re-litigate the same dispute in the Mainland and Hong Kong courts respectively, thereby reducing the risks, legal costs and time usually associated with the cross-boundary enforcement of such judgments.


The ordinance was enacted for the purpose of implementing the civil and commercial arrangement in the Hong Kong SAR through local legislation. The new mechanism applies to judgments given by Hong Kong or Mainland courts from today onwards in cases covered by the arrangement.


Secretary for Justice Paul Lam remarked that the civil and commercial arrangement showcases the unique advantages enjoyed by Hong Kong under “one country, two systems”.


“Hong Kong is the only jurisdiction to have an arrangement with the Mainland on reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgments with such a wide coverage. The civil and commercial arrangement helps consolidate Hong Kong's status as a regional intellectual property trading centre as well as a regional centre for international legal and dispute resolution services as outlined in the National 14th Five-Year Plan.”


Mr Lam and Supreme People's Court (SPC) Vice-president Yang Wanming gave an opening speech at the “New Mechanism for Reciprocal Recognition & Enforcement of Civil & Commercial Judgments between the Courts of Mainland and the Hong Kong SAR” seminar, co-organised by the SPC and the Department of Justice today.


The seminar, attracting about 300 participants on-site, explains the civil and commercial arrangement as well as the ordinance, including the applicable rules and specific procedures.


The public may also visit the thematic website or read the promotional leaflet on the ordinance for details.

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