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Rules for Determining Domicile
(HKLRC Report)

The Law Reform Commission (LRC) released a report containing proposals to reform the law determining a person's domicile.

The report recommends that the existing differentiation between legitimate and illegitimate children should be abolished, and that the domicile of married women will no longer depend on that of their husbands. Other proposals include the abolition of the concepts of domicile of origin and domicile of dependency, which have created many anomalies.

The report explains that a person's domicile connects him with a system of law for the purpose of determining a range of matters, including legal capacity to marry, recognition of overseas divorces or legal separations, personal capacity to make a will and formal validity of a will.

The LRC notes that the concept of domicile is of significance in the Hong Kong legal system and plays a significant role in private international law. However, despite the importance of the concept of domicile, the rules for determining a person's domicile have repeatedly been criticised for being unnecessarily complicated and technical, and sometimes leading to absurd results.

The chairman of the LRC's Domicile sub-committee, Miss Audrey Eu, SC, believes that the recommendations put forward in the report will improve this complex and confusing area of common law by simplifying the concept of domicile and making it easier to ascertain a person's domicile.

Press Release (PDF) (MS Word)
Executive Summary (PDF) (MS Word)
Report (PDF) (MS Word)

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