Building Authority Internal Guidelines: Not Exemption Policy

Technic Investment Co Ltd v Appeal Tribunal (Buidings) ([2012] 3 HKLRD 245, CFI) was an application for judicial review in respect of enforcement action taken against unauthorised building works at two neighbouring properties. The applicants argued that the Building Authority had not followed its internal policy for the period in question when taking the action. They also argued that it had misinterpreted its policy in respect of the action taken against canopies. The applicants failed.

The internal policy was  not published and so there was no question of a legitimate expectation. The policy in question was purely an internal guideline to prioritise the deployment of limited resources. It was not a de facto exemption policy. As far as the canopies were concerned, there was no public law argument that the selection criteria had been improperly applied. In any event, the criteria were not to be construed as if they were statutes.

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