The Legislative Council is the legislature of the HKSAR. Articles 66 to 79 of the Basic Law provide for, among other matters, the Legislative Council’s formation, term of office, powers and functions. The main functions of the Legislative Council are to enact, amend or repeal laws; examine and approve budgets, taxation and public expenditure; and raise questions on the work of the government. In addition, the Legislative Council is also given the power to endorse the appointment and removal of the judges of the Court of Final Appeal and the Chief Judge of the High Court, as well as the power to impeach the Chief Executive.
The Legislative Council has 70 Members, with 35 Members returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections, and 35 Members by functional constituencies. The President of the Legislative Council is elected by and from among Members of the Legislative Council. Except for the first term, the term of office of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR is four years. The sixth term commenced on 1 October 2016. Due to the severe COVID-19 epidemic situation, the Chief Executive in Council has decided to postpone the 2020 Legislative Council General Election, originally scheduled for September 6, 2020, for a year to September 5, 2021, in order to protect public safety and public health as well as ensure elections are conducted openly and fairly. According to the decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on 11 August 2020, the sixth-term Legislative Council of the HKSAR will continue to discharge its duties for no less than one year until the commencement of the seventh-term Legislative Council. The decision also stated clearly that the seventh-term Legislative Council of the HKSAR will have a term of four years after it has been formed in accordance with the law.
The Legislative Council normally meets weekly. Its business includes: tabling of subsidiary legislation and other papers; reports and addresses; questions; bills; and motion debates. From time to time, the Chief Executive attends a special Council meeting to deliver a policy address and to answer questions on the work of the Government from Members. All Council meetings are open to the public and the proceedings are recorded in the Official Record of Proceedings of the Legislative Council (Hansard), and are broadcast live on the Legislative Council website.
Through a committee system, Members of the Legislative Council perform the important functions of scrutinizing bills, approving public expenditure and monitoring the Government's work. There are three standing committees (Finance, Public Accounts and Members' Interests). Bills Committees are formed by the Legislative Council House Committee as the need arises to study legislative proposals. There are also 18 Legislative Council Panels which receive regular briefings from the Government and examine the effectiveness of Government policies and measures.
The Legislative Council Redress System receives and handles complaints from members of the public who are aggrieved by Government actions or policies. It also deals with public representations on Government policies and legislation as well as other matters of public concern.