“The Evolution of the Small House Policy in Hong Kong’s New Territories" by Mr. Malcolm Merry

This seminar reviews the evolution of the Small House Policy in Hong Kong’s New Territories from 1899 to 1972 based on the speaker’s forthcoming book “The Unruly New Territories: Small Houses, Ancestral Estates, Illegal Structures and Other Customary Land Practices of Rural Hong Kong” (HKUP, 2019).

After a survey of the pre-1899 situation, the speaker explains how policy and law developed during the twentieth century under the pressures of indigenous demands, cycles of economic recession and expansion, war, population increase and political uncertainty. Understanding the historical background allows a contextual assessment of the current state of affairs, including the impact of Article 40 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the recent judgment in Kwok Cheuk Kin v Director of Lands [2019] 2 HKC 538.

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