Hong Kong Royal Instructions 1917

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The Hong Kong Royal Instructions 1917[1] was one of the principal constitutional instruments of Hong Kong when it was a British Crown colony and dependent territory; the other principal constitutional instruments were the Hong Kong Letters Patent 1917, the Hong Kong Letters Patent 1960, the Hong Kong Letters Patent 1982, and the Hong Kong Letters Patent 1991 (No. 1).[2] The Hong Kong Royal Instructions 1917 has been amended many times since its coming into force by instruments titled 'Hong Kong Additional Instructions [year]'.

The Hong Kong Royal Instructions 1917 superseded the royal instructions issued on 6 April 1843, all additional instructions amending the 1843 royal instructions, the 1888 royal instructions (replacing the 1843 royal instructions and all additional instructions amending the 1843 royal instructions), and all additional instructions amending the 1888 royal instructions. The royal instructions issued on 14 February 1917, as amended from time to time, formed part of the basis for Hong Kong's system of government until the transfer of the territory's sovereignty on 1 July 1997 to the People's Republic of China.

Issued under the royal prerogative, and subordinated to the Hong Kong Letters Patent 1917, the Hong Kong Royal Instructions 1917 set out such matters as the constitution of the Executive Council and the Legislative Council, and in particular made provision for the latter's procedures, and for the enactment of laws.

After the transfer of sovereignty to China, the Hong Kong Royal Instructions 1917 ceased to have legal effect, being superseded by the new Basic Law.

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  1. ^ The long title is 'Instructions to Our Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over Our Colony of Hongkong and Its Dependencies or Other Officer for the Time Being Administering the Government of Our Said Colony and Its Dependencies'
  2. ^ While other post-1917 letters patent only contain provisions amending the 1917 letters patent, the ones issued in 1960 and 1982 and the first one in 1991 contain a stipulation that any act done before the amendment concerned coming into force and contrary to that amendment remains valid.

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