22 February 2019
Lau Siu-lai's oath taking on Oct. 12 was invalidated after she took long pauses between words. Photo: HKEJ
Lau Siu-lai's oath taking on Oct. 12 was invalidated after she took long pauses between words. Photo: HKEJ

High Court to start hearing petition to disqualify Lau Siu-lai

The High Court will decide whether legislator-elect Lau Siu Lai should be disqualified after failing to take a proper oath of office.

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18 on a petition by defeated candidate Jackson Kwan who is seeking Lau’s disqualification on the grounds that her Oct. 12 oath-taking was invalid, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The case will be heard by Justice Thomas Au who ruled on Tuesday that Sixtus Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching could not take their seats in Legco after improperly reciting their oaths of office. 

Kwan lost to Lau in the Kowloon West constituency in September’s Legco elections.

Kwan filed the writ after Legco President Andrew Leung had allowed Lau to retake her oath.

At her first swearing-in, Lau read the oath with long pauses between words, causing it to be invalidated.

The court action came even as the National People’s Congress Standing Committee issued on Nov 7 an interpretation of Article 104 of the the Basic Law which states that all oaths shall be read completely, accurately and solemnly to be valid.

It also said no retaking of the oath is allowed if the administrator of the oath invalidates it.

Lau, founder of Democracy Groundwork, is among a dozen lawmakers-elect considered by Beijing to have violated Article 104 during their swearing-in and should be disqualified.

Lau said she is not worried about her possible disqualification.

She vowed to continue promoting democracy and autonomy through all kinds of platforms.

Meanwhile, Edward Yiu, a newly elected lawmaker from the architecture functional constituency, who also did not complete his swearing-in until the second time, said the additional words he put in his oath did not violate the law.

Separately, HKEJ reports that Leung and Yau are set to appeal the High Court’s decision on their disqualification.

They are seeking an injunction to stop the government from rendering their Legco seats vacant as soon as Thursday morning.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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