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Hearing arrangements to be reviewed

Chief Justice Andrew Cheung has instructed that the Judiciary should immediately review the overall arrangements of handling cases involving a large number of litigants and observers at all levels of courts.   The Judiciary made the statement today in response to enquiries on the arrangements for the hearing of a case involving 47 defendants at the West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts, emphasising that the review is subject to the safeguarding of the due administration of justice.        The statement pointed out that the courts must adjudicate cases in accordance with the law and court procedures, adding that the courts have always sought to complete the hearing of each case as soon as practicable to ensure efficient administration of justice.   Regarding the case in question, the Judiciary explained that all 47 defendants must be heard before the same magistrate according to court procedures as they were charged with the same offence under the same case.   The case was first

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Basic public services to resume

The Government today announced that its departments will resume some basic public services from January 28 in addition to the continued provision of emergency and essential public services.   It made the announcement after considering the needs for the functioning of society and the economy, adding that its ultimate goal is to resume full public services when conditions permit.   The special work arrangements for government employees has been implemented since December 2 last year. Aside from staff providing emergency and essential public services as well as those involved in anti-epidemic efforts, all government employees were arranged to work from home.   Despite the epidemic's impact, the Government said it has the responsibility to maintain the continued functioning of the community and the economy.   To meet the needs of the public and enterprises, bureaus and departments will resume some basic public services from January 28 upon implementation of targeted measures to reduce social contact and measures for infection control.   Government departments will separately announce the services that will be resumed, relevant arrangements and details.   In view of the need to reduce people flow and social contact, bureaus and departments will adopt flexible measures to reduce the number of staff working together in an office as far as possible.   The Government appealed for public understanding as the waiting time for public services may be lengthened or applications may need a longer processing time due to the possible adjustment in some offices' opening hours.   It also encouraged people to use alternative means, such as the post, drop-in boxes or online channels, to receive the services they need.   Meanwhile, employers are urged to make flexible work arrangements for employees in accordance with their operational needs, including allowing them to work from home when appropriate.
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