The Historical Laws of Hong Kong Online is a full-text image database providing access to past revised editions of Hong Kong laws. The database comprises a total of six consolidations of the laws of Hong Kong: 1890, 1901, 1912, 1923, 1937, 1950, and 1964 (last updated to 1989). (Click here for details of individual editions)
With the current Laws of Hong Kong available on the web ( BLIS: Bilingual Laws Information System), the Historical Laws of Hong Kong Online database rightly fills the gap in legal research on the historical development of the law of Hong Kong.
The Historical Laws of Hong Kong Online database allows searching for text in specific fields: Chapter or Ordinance Number, Chapter or Ordinance Title, Marginal Note, and Edition. It also allows full text keyword search of all Chapters or Ordinances.
The text source of this database is the print copies of the revised editions of Hong Kong laws held in the Lui Che Woo Law Library of the University Libraries. All are original copies except v. 2 of 1904 edition, and v. 1 and v. 3 of 1923 edition, which are reprographic copies. Image capture and text creation were done by scanning and OCR (Optical Character Recognition).
Except for the 1964 edition, the physical condition of some of the earlier revised editions did not lend themselves well to the scanning and OCR process. Because of its dated nature, we did not work from perfect original documents. The changes in paper colour, from a white to a yellowed or foxed background made it sometimes difficult for text to be accurately created by OCR. All editions except the 1964 were bound in book format. Scanning was painstakingly done, page by page without breaking these bindings. This together with the brittle condition of some of them has resulted in some text occasionally blocked off in the gutter area.
As laws were amended, updated or repealed, the original printed text may include marginalia, hand-written annotations or typewritten slips pasted in. These have been toned down or excluded as much as possible during scanning in order to capture the original printed text as it was first published.
Print copies of the revised editions contained in this database are held in the Hong Kong Legislation area on the second floor of Lui Che Woo Law Library. The Hong Kong Collection in the Main Library also holds some volumes of some editions.
2. Type Laws of Hong Kong to display a list of revised editions.
The Libraries gratefully acknowledge Professor Peter Wesley-Smith, formerly with the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, for his invaluable comments and advice in the early stages of the development of the database.
The Libraries also acknowledge the Department of Justice for kindly granting copyright clearance for reproducing the consolidated volumes of laws contained in this database, without which this project would not have been realized.