Editorial﹕Ruling on small houses: now the ball is in the government's court

【明報專訊】HEARING an unprecedented court case demanding judicial review of the New Territories indigenous villagers' right to build small houses, the High Court has ruled partially in favour of the applicants. This ruling, which carries important clarifications on what is meant by the "lawful traditional rights and interests of the New Territories indigenous inhabitants", upholds only the right that these villagers can exercise to build small houses on private land. This implies that the government does not have an obligation to reserve government land for indigenous villagers to build small houses. Although the ruling has not solved the string of problems that stemmed from the Small House Policy or boosted land supply for society dramatically, it has at least provided an important vantage point for tackling the small house controversy.