By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Organisers of assemblies and protests in Macau who have their activities rejected or restricted by the government will be able to file an appeal to the supreme court without necessarily entrusting a lawyer.
This is stated in the legislation which will be revised to become more clearly defined by the end of this year.
The Third Standing Committee of the Legislative Council agreed unanimously to the proposal submitted by eight lawmakers to add one provision under Article 12 of the 2/93/M law decree in relation to the right of assembly and to protest that states “appellants are not bound to hire an agent or a lawyer”.
According to president of the standing committee, Cheang Chi Keong, the move was to make the article be written more “precisely”, as although provision two had already stated that appeals were to be filed “directly”, it “could be interpreted differently” in which some people deemed “direct appeals” did not necessarily mean the absence of lawyers.
The standing committee also took the opportunity to change some of the wordings in Article 12 which Mr Cheang said could cause “misunderstanding” to people especially those who were not from the legal profession.
Provision 1 states that in response to the authority’s decision to decline or restrict organisation of assemblies or demonstrations, organisers could file an appeal to the “high court” within eight days after being notified of the decision.
However, Mr Cheang said the meaning of “high court” had changed after the Portuguese administration ceased and some would think it referred to the Court of Second Instance.
Hence, the standing committee also added in the revision to replace the word “high court” with “Court of Final Appeal” which would “accelerate the efficiency and serve the best interest for appellants”, Mr Cheang added.
In addition, the standing committee proposed a simplified format for appellants to give a plea at court.
Mr Cheang said the Macau Lawyers Association would be advised about the revision and any comments had to be made before November 30.
Afterwards, the standing committee will prepare the final report before December 10 as demanded by Legislative Council president Susana Chou for voting at the plenary meeting.