On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong ceased to be a colony of the United Kingdom and became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The creation of the HKSAR had a number of important impacts on the legal structure and system including:

the existing constitution consisting of the Letters Patent and Royal Instructions (1842-1997) was replaced by the Basic Law;

the sources of law changed from a combination of Letters Patent, English Acts, legislation and common law to the PRC Constitution, the Basic Law, legislation and common law; and

the pre-July 1997 court hierarchy was modified and the Privy Council was effectively replaced by the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.

The above arrangements reflect the one country, two systems framework embodied in the Basic Law. This chapter explains briefly the Hong Kong legal system and some of the more relevant areas of law relevant for carrying out business in Hong Kong. It also briefly describes construction law in Hong Kong, and some matters concerning Mainland China.

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