Chan Kam Chuen v Secretary for Transport
Court of Appeal
Land Law
30 March 2015

Resumption – Lands Tribunal had no jurisdiction to deal with application for ex gratia payment – Lands Resumption Ordinance (Cap. 124) s. 10(2)(c)

Chan Kam Chuen v Secretary for Transport

[2015] 2 HKLRD 770
Court of Appeal
Civil Appeal No. 321 of 2001
Cheung, Chu JJA and Jeremy Poon J
30 March 2015

X operated a pig farm on land in Yuen Long. The Government resumed the land pursuant to the Railways Ordinance (Cap. 519) (the “RO”) and offered X an ex gratia payment for certain structures on it. X refused and applied to the Lands Tribunal (the “Tribunal“) for an ex gratia payment purportedly under s. 34 of the RO, relying on s. 10(2)(c) of the Lands Resumption Ordinance (Cap. 124) (the “LRO”) which provides that “The Tribunal shall determine the compensation (if any) payable … on the basis of – … (c) the amount of loss or damage suffered by any claimant due to the severance of the land resumed or any building erected thereon from any other land of the claimant, or building erected thereon, contiguous or adjacent thereto.” The Tribunal dismissed X’s application on the ground it had no jurisdiction to deal with ex gratia payments. X appealed.

Held, dismissing the appeal, that:

  • The Tribunal was right to decline jurisdiction. As was apparent from both the RO and the LRO, an ex gratia payment was not part of the statutory compensation scheme. The words “the amount of loss and damages” in s. 10(2)(c) of the LRO referred to statutory compensation. Section 10(2)(c) was not a free-standing claim which could encompass an ex gratia payment.
  • Compensation and ex gratia payments were two different concepts. An ex gratia payment was based on a policy of administrative convenience, to replace the statutory compensation so as to avoid disputes over the amount of such compensation, and the delay and inconvenience involved in the judicial process. If an applicant was dissatisfied with an ex gratia payment offer or compensation, he could lodge a claim in the Tribunal for it to assess the statutory compensation.

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