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Hong Kong Annual Report, 1954/Chapter 12

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During the year 1954 fifty four Ordinances were enacted and reference to some of the more important of them is made below. A feature of this year's legislation has been an increase in the number of religious, charitable and educational bodies seeking incorporation; seven Ordinances have been enacted for this purpose, in contrast with two in each of the years 1952 and 1953.

Protection of Wild Birds and Mammals: Ordinance No. 8 implements the recommendations of a committee which was set up to consider existing legislation giving protection to wild animals and birds. The old provisions are retained and further protection is afforded in that the trapping of all birds and mammals (other than rodents) and the possession, sale and export of certain birds and mammals are prohibited.

Prisons: Ordinance No. 17 amends and consolidates the law relating to prisons and is more fully dealt with in Chapter 13. The necessity for new legislation has arisen because new conceptions as to the treatment of prisoners rendered previous legislation obsolete, and the rules enacted in 1925 were inadequate and in certain cases inapplicable. A complete new set of rules was enacted at the same time as the Ordinance.

Housing: Ordinance No. 18 fulfils a long felt need in establishing a Housing Authority charged with the duty of providing housing accommodation for those persons in the Colony living in overcrowded and unsatisfactory conditions. The members consist of Urban Council members, ex officio, and not more than three persons nominated by the Governor. The chairman is made a corporation sole and for the purposes of the Ordinance is given power to acquire, hold and dispose of property, including existing buildings, and to borrow money from the Hong Kong Government or other sources approved by the Governor.

Fire Brigade: The great increase of population and building in the Colony has thrown upon the fire brigade, as in the case of most public service, a very heavy burden and has led to substantial increases in its strength. In consequence it became necessary to revise and extend the provisions contained in the old Fire Brigade Ordinance which was enacted in 1925. Ordinance No. 32 in replacing the old Ordinance makes more precise definition of the constitution, duties and powers of the fire brigade and provides in greater detail for the discipline of its members.

Mining: The old Prospecting and Mining Ordinance, 1906, consisted of only five sections and was entirely inadequate for the proper control and regulation of prospecting and mining. Ordinance No. 33 and two sets of regulations made thereunder fulfil this need and deal fully with all aspects of prospecting and mining and with the safety and welfare of persons employed in mines. Provisions which safeguard the interests of holders of private land, i.e. land held on lease etc., from the Crown are included.

Trade Marks: The revision of Hong Kong's trade marks legislation with a view to bringing it into line with equivalent legislation of the United Kingdom has been under consideration since 1938. The intervention of the war and the loss of all records during the war years have, until recently, made it impossible to introduce the required legislation. Ordinance No. 47 achieves this purpose and follows closely the lines of the Trade Marks Act, 1938, and Singapore legislation. The provisions relating to the defensive registration of trade marks are, however, rather wider. In contrast with the Trade Marks Act, 1938, trade marks consisting not only of words but also of devices are permitted to be so registered, in view of the greater reliance placed on devices by a large section of the public. Furthermore the criterion for such registration is whether the use of the mark in relation to other goods would be likely to detract from the distinctive character of the mark in relation to the goods in respect of which it is registered and used; this criterion is easier to establish and affords a wider scope for such registration than that contained in United Kingdom legislation.

Subsidiary legislation: Towards the end of the year an order was made under the Judgments (Facilities for Enforcement) Ordinance (Cap. 9) allowing facilities for the enforcement of judgments obtained in the Colonies of Sarawak, North Borneo and Brunei with effect from the 1st January, 1955; these Colonies now join the somewhat miscellaneous list of territories which enjoy the benefits of the Ordinance, namely, Ceylon, Bermuda, New South Wales, Victoria, Singapore and the Federation of Malaya. With the exception of this Order and the regulations and rules referred to above under the headings Prisons, Mining and Trade Marks, nothing calls for special mention in the field of subsidiary legislation.