Lawyer Monthly - October 2022

Undertakings Ordinance (Cap. 59) (‘FIUO’), the Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (Cap. 509) (‘OSHO’) and the subsidiary legislations by increasing the maximum penalties and imprisonment terms for offences committed by proprietors of industrial undertakings, employers or occupiers of premises. It will also require the courts to take into account the business turnovers of wrongdoers convicted on indictment in determining the level of fines to be paid, with the allotted time where prosecution for a summary offence or an indictable offence remains triable summarily extended from six months to one year. It remains to be seen whether these new changes, if enacted, will lead to the intended reduction of industrial accidents through the enhanced deterrent effect of increasing maximum penalties. One significant impact among the others is that operational costs of all contractors are likely to be higher, owing to an increase in insurance premiums as a direct result of associating the level of fines with business turnovers. There is no doubt that the costs will be raised, resulting in increased tender prices. Do you have any personal predictions for what might be seen in 2023 and beyond? Both the bills were introduced into the Legislative Council in March and May 2022 respectively and are anticipated to pass into law by 2023. Rumour has it that the proposed security of payment legislation will be discussed in the Council in early 2023 for enactment later on in the year. Beyond local construction into large-scale cross-region infrastructure investment, Hong Kong shoulders the responsibility in the country’s Outline Plan for the Greater Bay Area in becoming an international legal and dispute resolution centre in the Asia-Pacific region. This will support the country in global governance, such as by supporting the Mainland China and overseas enterprises for ‘coming in’ and ‘going global’ under the Belt and Road Initiative. It is envisaged that further reforms and development will continue to take place to bring the jurisdiction into line with the plan and provide new opportunities in Hong Kong. EXPERT INSIGHT 69 About John Lau John Lau is a Chartered Civil Engineer, a Chartered Structural Engineer, and a Chartered Surveyor with over two decades of experience in the construction sector. He is trilingual in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, and is an independent mediator, adjudicator and arbitrator who is on the panels of various leading alternative dispute resolution bodies. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Arbitrators, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He holds two masters’ degrees in law, both with distinctions and is active in dispute resolution matters – being conversant with arbitration, adjudication, mediation and other ADR methods – coupled with his solid knowledge in construction law and in-depth engineering practitioner experience. Contact John Lau Independent Arbitrator, Adjudicator and Mediator 1601, 16/F, Nan Fung Commercial Centre, 19 Lam Lok Street, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR E:

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