Friday, May 7, 2021

Melissa Loja on Recent Engagement with International Human Rights Norms by the Courts of Singapore, Malaysia, and Philippines (International Journal of Constitutional Law)

International Journal of Constitutional Law
Published in March 2021
Abstract: This article makes two claims about international human rights norms in three English-speaking courts in Southeast Asia. First, the courts are engaging with the norms, contrary to the prevailing view that the four-walls and dualist doctrines maintain a stranglehold on the region. Singapore courts relied on foreign case law applying the European Convention on Human Rights to rationalize a liberal interpretation of arbitration agreements; Malaysia’s Court of Appeal based its decision on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Human Rights Declaration, despite lack of legislative incorporation; and the Philippine Supreme Court applied the Convention on the Protection of Persons against Enforced Disappearances (CPPED) as evidence of customary international law, notwithstanding that the government had repeatedly refused to ratify CPPED. Second, their engagement is characterized by inconsistency and arbitrariness as it is governed more by exigency than by human rights philosophy. The Philippine court invoked universality to give direct but selective effect to the norms. In the name of pluralism, Malaysian courts gave direct effect to the norms, but the effect has been transitory. In Singapore, the norms have teleological effect in private law cases involving commercial and investment interests, but not in public law cases involving individual and political rights. The lack of principled practice and the ensuing uncertainty undermine the ethos of human rights and raise the question of whether more practice makes right.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Frederick Long & Syren Johnstone on Applying ‘Deep ESG’ to Asian Private Equity (Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment)

"Applying ‘Deep ESG’ to Asian private equity"
 Frederick J. Long & Syren Johnstone
Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment
Published online in February 2021
Abstract: At this stage of Asia's development there is a need, and an opportunity, to establish a validation methodology that better gauges ESG implementation and sustainability aspirations in Asian private equity. Private equity, like major public market and debt investors such as Blackrock, has adopted language that suggests a proactive approach to ESG management. However, process-oriented ESG compliance presently far outstrips evidence of tangible contributions to ESG objectives and outcomes. This article describes a taxonomy of common approaches to ESG investment practices in Asian private equity and discusses their shortcomings. It then presents ‘Deep ESG’ as an alternative approach that operationalizes ESG and sustainability metrics more holistically than existing frameworks. The Deep ESG framework enables a higher level of market-led intentionality that better informs institutional investors, regulators, communities, and employees as they evaluate private equity's ‘balance sheet’ of ESG outcomes. By investing in tools for goal setting, measurement and evaluation and applying them consistently across all target and portfolio companies, private equity managers can pivot away from a defensive approach by working with stakeholders to shape constructive solutions to urgent sustainability goals.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Eric Ip on The Political Determinants of China's New Health Constitution (Medical Law Review)

"The Political Determinants of China's New Health Constitution"
Published in March 2021
Abstract: The Basic Healthcare and Health Promotion Law 2019 became the new constitution of China’s health system in June 2020, giving legal effect to ambitious health reform programmes like Healthy China 2030. The concurrent outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 must not distract us from appreciating the fact that this Law will comprehensively overhaul the health regulatory framework of the world’s most populous country during the coming decade, if not beyond. This article offers an original evaluation of the Law in its political context. The Law commendably promises to safeguard the right to health, assist citizens to live a ‘complete cycle of life’, and promote health using the resources of the public health system. However, it is also deeply politicised, guaranteeing extensive and penetrative political control in health campaigns, digitalised health data, the governance of health institutions, and the resolution of medical disputes. This can be explained by the consequential roles played by epidemics in China’s historical dynastic cycles, but even more so by powerful tendencies of centralisation on the part of the Leninist Party-state. The Law’s potential is thus subject to the overriding caveat that the Party-state’s existence and influence over law and public health must be secured.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Amanda Whitfort on Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance (OSCO) amendments & Species Victim Impact Statement (SVIS)

An important step towards the acceptance of wildlife crime as organised and serious crime has been achieved with the CE providing her consent, under Article 74 of the Basic Law, to a private member's Bill to amend OSCO being presented in LegCo.

The Bill co-drafted by Amanda Whitfort and introduced to LegCo by lawmaker Elizabeth Quat in March 2021 requests the amendment to OSCO, which provides for a combination of enhanced enforcement and deterrent methods to investigate and prosecute serious wildlife crimes.

Unlike serious offences under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance or the Theft Ordinance, offences under the Protection of Endangered Species Ordinance, Cap 586, have not been classified as ‘specified offences’ in Schedule 1 of OSCO. This has been a significant omission, given the organised nature of the transnational trade in endangered species. Despite the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Interpol endorsing a ‘follow the money’ approach, focusing on the syndicates behind wildlife smuggling, enforcement in Hong Kong has traditionally focused on the mules in the supply chain, when offenders are caught red-handed trying to smuggle in the species. Failure to include Cap 586 offences in Schedule 1 of OSCO has also meant Hong Kong courts are not empowered, under the Ordinance, to confiscate the proceeds of organised crime’s wildlife trafficking.

The Hong Kong government increased the maximum penalties for wildlife crime in 2018. Unfortunately record-breaking seizures of smuggled wildlife have continued unabated. The OSCO amendment would go further to allow Hong Kong to effectively deter the criminal networks funding the extinction of endangered species.

Here is the link to the White Paper which convinced EQ to take up the Bill:

There is an SCMP story on it last week:

Amanda Whitfort will be giving a talk on the OSCO amendments and my SVIS (species victim impact statement) project on 7 May on Zoom at HKU.   Details are as follows:

Speaker: Ms Amanda Whitfort

Title: New Law Reform Initiatives to Improve the Protection of Endangered Species in Hong Kong

Zoom details:

Topic: E&B Seminar Series

Time: May 7, 2021 04:00 PM Hong Kong SAR

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID916 7592 6608


Amanda Whitfort on Hong Kong’s Leading Role in the Global Extinction Crisis, as Hub of Illegal Wildlife Trade, and the Legal Amendment that could Change that (SCMP)

23 April 2021
  • The scales and carcasses of tens of thousands of pangolins are shipped illegally through Hong Kong every year
  • Existing laws do little to stem this trade, but a proposed law change to treat wildlife smuggling as organised crime could make a big difference
Pangolins have clever defence mechanisms. When threatened they curl up into a tight ball – the name pangolin is derived from the Malay word pengguling, meaning “one who rolls up” – the hard scales covering their bodies overlap to create an “armour”. Like skunks, pangolins can spray a noxious fluid from glands near their anuses to keep predators at bay.
      Sadly these protective tools can’t deter humans, who have poached the anteater-like creatures to near-extinction, the trade fuelled by false claims in traditional Chinese medicine that pangolin scales relieve ailments from asthma to poor kidney function, and can improve lactation. On top of that, in China and Vietnam pangolin meat is considered a delicacy. 
     The legislative reform, says Amanda Whitfort, associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, would facilitate the use of powers by enforcement authorities to tackle wildlife crime that are currently reserved for serious crimes such as drug and arms trafficking.
      It would allow the investigation of persons or materials with connections to organised crime as well as the confiscation of proceeds of crimes, she says, and could serve as a powerful disincentive to wildlife criminals, preventing the reinvestment of profits to fund further criminal activities.
... Click here to read the full text. 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Benjamin Chen & Zhiyu Li on Judicial Legitimation in China (Cornell International Law Journal)

"Judicial Legitimation in China"
 Benjamin Minhao Chen & Zhiyu Li
Cornell International Law JournalVolume 53, Issue 2, pp. 169 - 206
Published in April 2021
Abstract: China’s judiciary is becoming increasingly professionalized, and its courts are enjoying a degree of autonomy they have not enjoyed since the Revolution. By promulgating abstract interpretations of the code and through the selective publication of cases, Chinese judicial institutions today function as policymaking bodies on both national and local scales. But are they able to legitimize social policy? This question has received little attention from legal scholars, but its answer is important for our understanding of the judicial role in the governance of modern China.
     We field a survey experiment that seeks to measure the persuasiveness of courts vis-à-vis administrative and non-regulatory actors. We find that courts are sometimes able to induce support for the policies they endorse. We also find, however, that this ability is not unique to courts and is at least equaled by administrative bodies.
     Our results have profound implications for the future of judicialization in China. They illuminate the potential of litigation as a tool for fostering social change. But they also explain why the regime does not rely on judicial institutions to convince the public of the rightness of government policy: other governmental entities are as persuasive as courts, if not more so. More broadly, the empirical findings presented here suggest that while the Chinese party-state might find it advantageous to operate through law, it does not necessarily have to govern through courts.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Chris Szabla on "Contingent Movements? Differential Decolonisations of International Refugee and Migration Law and Governance" (new book chapter)

"Contingent Movements? Differential Decolonisations of International Refugee and Migration Law and Governance"
Chris Szabla
Abstract: No single international organisation oversees and enforces global migrant rights or plans and facilitates migrant movement. Migrant rights are fragmented among, inter alia, human rights and labour law. Why does no clear, comprehensive international regime exist to integrate migrant law and provide oversight for all migrants as international refugee law and institutions do for refugees? Scholars have cited a 1951 US decision to withdraw support for a migration regime that involved communist participation. But the Cold War explanation sidesteps, among other things, the creation of an intergovernmental migration regime outside the communist world. Both the refugee and migration regimes subsequently paralleled one another’s development, but architectural differences ultimately rendered one more robust. This chapter shows how decisions that shaped the differences between these regimes were not entirely determined by the Cold War, while demonstrating how decisions related to another overarching historical force—decolonisation—resulted in the expression of these differences.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Stephen Thomson and Eric Ip on Hong Kong's Legal Response to Covid-19 ( new OUP encyclopedia book chapter)

Stephen Thomson and Eric Ip
in Jeff King and Octavio Ferraz (eds), The Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to Covid-19 (Oxford University Press, 2021)
Abstract: Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the HKSAR had experienced several months of civil unrest following the introduction of a bill to the Legislative Council of the HKSAR regarding extradition matters. The protests, which were at their most intense in the second half of 2019 and which included violent clashes between protestors and police officers, vandalism of public property, and the shutting down of major infrastructure in Hong Kong, sparked a series of major political and constitutional events. The unrest eventually led to the enactment of the National Security Law for the HKSAR by the PRC authorities which is arguably the most significant constitutional development in the territory since the resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong by the PRC on 1 July 1997.    
      It is against this backdrop that Covid-19 arrived in the HKSAR in January 2020. With prior experience of a similar, though globally less severe, outbreak of infectious disease, in the form of SARS in 2003, the HKSAR implemented control measures relatively early in the Covid-19 pandemic which kept reported cases at comparatively low levels by international standards.  Just over 11,000 positive cases have been officially reported of a population of approximately 7.5 million people, and officially reported daily deaths never exceeded single digits.  Although no general 'lockdown' was implemented in the manner of other countries and territories, the HKSAR's 'success' in controlling Covid-19 has nevertheless been achieved through the use of controversial means such as 'ambush' lockdowns of residential blocks, government quarantine camps, and some of the most stringent quarantine and isolation strategies seen anywhere in the world. Additionally, elections to the HKSAR's Legislative Council were postponed for at least one year in the name of public health protection.​ ... Click here to access the full encyclopedia book chapter. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Michael Jackson on DOJ Secures ‘Joint Enterprise’ Enforcement (Part II) (Boase Cohen & Collins blog)

"DOJ secures ‘joint enterprise’ enforcement (Part II)"
 Michael Jackson
Boase Cohen & Collins blog
Published on 15 April 2021
In Part I, we outlined the recent decision of the Hong Kong Court of Appeal (“HKCA”) in Tong Wai Hung ([2021] HKCA 404) in which the court ruled that the doctrine of “joint criminal enterprise” (as it has been styled by the Court of Final Appeal – hereafter “JCE”) is of general application to all offences in Hong Kong, unless excluded by statute; secondly, and more specifically, that it applies to unlawful assembly and riot, contrary to ss.18 and 19 respectively of the Public Order Ordinance (“POO”); and thirdly, that presence at the scene is not a necessary requirement of joint enterprise liability. In this part, we offer some additional thoughts on Tong, and ask what will actually need to be proved to impose liability for unlawful assembly or riot on parties to a joint enterprise (assuming the correctness of the latter two rulings).
     Presumably consideration is being given to appealing the decision. In the meantime, the following comments are offered by way of critique of the legal analysis and reasoning offered and relied on in Tong and to elaborate its effect, and not to suggest that the social instability which the HKCA addressed in its judgment and perceived by it as a motivating reason for ensuring the doctrine of joint enterprise liability is available in relation to ss.18 and 19, is anything less than a legitimate and pressing concern of the criminal law... Click here to read the full text. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

New KE Initiative from GRF: Hong Kong Historical GIS (1900-1933) (Dr Michael Ng)

Hong Kong Historical GIS (1900-1933)
This digital humanities project is to apply GIS technology to portray the geographical landscape of the commercial activities on Hong Kong Island from 1900 to 1933. The objective of this project is to convert the conventional archival directories and the historical block-maps into GIS data to provide spatial distributions and visualization of commercial entities on Hong Kong Island in a web-based map.
     The GIS datasets are drawn from a GRF Research Project of Dr Michael Ng (Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong), in collaboration with digital geographers Dr Edwin Chow (Texas State University), Prof David Wong (George Mason University) and Carlo Chan (University of Sheffield). The primary materials adopted from the Research Project to create this web-based GIS mapping project are old directories of Hong Kong and block-maps of Hong Kong in 1901. The historical directories list both public and private entities such as banks, merchants & traders, law firms, shipping firms, government offices, schools, churches, hotels, clubs and registered societies and associations. While the historical directories cover both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon side, the block-maps, however, illustrate only the geographical landscape of the urban areas of Hong Kong Island (around today’s Western District to Tai Hang). Therefore only the spatial-temporal data of Hong Kong Island on the early twentieth century is included in this GIS database at the moment. It is hoped that interested scholars will further conducting GIS research analysis on Kowloon Peninsula in the future.
     In this GIS database, various business activities are grouped into categories for browsing purpose, names of companies & organizations and keywords of business description can also be searched. Spatial distributions of business entities are displayed with associated spatial data, overlay of the 1901 historical map is provided to visualize the original geographical phenomena.
     The "Hong Kong Historical GIS (1900-1933)" system is now to open to use by the public via Digital Initiatives section in HKU Library's website (

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Douglas Arner et al on Decentralized Finance (Journal of Financial Regulation)

"Decentralized Finance"
Dirk A Zetzsche, Douglas W Arner, Ross P Buckley
Journal of Financial Regulation, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.  172–203
Published in September 2020
Abstract: DeFi (‘decentralized finance’) has joined FinTech (‘financial technology’), RegTech (‘regulatory technology’), cryptocurrencies, and digital assets as one of the most discussed emerging technological evolutions in global finance. Yet little is really understood about its meaning, legal implications, and policy consequences. In this article we introduce DeFi, put DeFi in the context of the traditional financial economy, connect DeFi to open banking, and end with some policy considerations. We suggest that decentralization has the potential to undermine traditional forms of accountability and erode the effectiveness of traditional financial regulation and enforcement. At the same time, we find that where parts of the financial services value chain are decentralized, there will be a reconcentration in a different (but possibly less regulated, less visible, and less transparent) part of the value chain. DeFi regulation could, and should, focus on this reconcentrated portion of the value chain to ensure effective oversight and risk control. Rather than eliminating the need for regulation, in fact DeFi requires regulation in order to achieve its core objective of decentralization. Furthermore, DeFi potentially offers an opportunity for the development of an entirely new way to design regulation: the idea of ‘embedded regulation’. Regulatory approaches could be built into the design of DeFi, thus potentially decentralizing both finance and its regulation, in the ultimate expression of RegTech.

Douglas Arner et al on Regulating Artificial Intelligence in Finance: Putting the Human in the Loop (Sydney Law Review)

"Regulating Artificial Intelligence in Finance: Putting the Human in the Loop"
Buckley, Ross P.; Zetzsche, Dirk A.; Arner, Douglas W.; Tang, Brian W.
Sydney Law Review,  Vol. 43 Issue 1, pp. 43-81
Published in March 2021
Abstract: This article develops a framework for understanding and addressing the increasing role of artificial intelligence ('AI') in finance. It focuses on human responsibility as central to addressing the AI 'black box' problem -- that is, the risk of an AI producing undesirable results that are unrecognised or unanticipated due to people's difficulties in understanding the internal workings of an AI or as a result of the AI's independent operation outside human supervision or involvement. After mapping the various use cases of AI in finance and explaining its rapid development, we highlight the range of potential issues and regulatory challenges concerning financial services AI and the tools available to address them. We argue that the most effective regulatory approaches to addressing the role of AI in finance bring humans into the loop through personal responsibility regimes, thus eliminating the black box argument as a defence to responsibility and legal liability for AI operations and decisions.

Douglas Arner et al on Regulating Libra (Oxford Journal of Legal Studies)

"Regulating Libra"
Dirk A Zetzsche, Ross P Buckley, and Douglas W Arner
Oxford Journal of Legal StudiesVolume 41, Issue 1, Spring 2021, pp. 80–113
Published on 1 December 2020
Abstract: Libra is the first private cryptocurrency with the potential to change the landscape of global payment and monetary systems. Due to the scale and reach provided by its affiliation with Facebook, the question is not whether, but how, to regulate it. This article introduces the Libra project and analyses the potential responses open to regulators worldwide. We conclude that perhaps the greatest impact will come not from Libra itself, but rather from reactions to it, particularly by other BigTechs, incumbent financial institutions and governments around the world.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Simon Young on Political System Transformation in Hong Kong (Verfassungsblog)

Simon Young
Verfassungsblog: On Matters Constitutional 
Published on 13 April 2021
China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and Standing Committee of the NPC (NPCSC) decided in March 2021 to transform Hong Kong’s political system. Within a couple of months, the Hong Kong government will amend local laws to enable elections for a reconfigured Election Committee (EC) and Legislative Council (LegCo) to be held, respectively, in September and December 2021, ahead of the Chief Executive (CE) election in March 2022.

Reforming Hong Kong’s electoral system
The CE is Hong Kong’s political leader, accountable to both the central government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The CE is nominated by EC members, elected by the EC, and appointed by Beijing. The EC was first established in 1998 with 800 members divided equally across four sectors. In 2012, it was expanded to 1,200 members. EC members are elected by almost 250,000 voters, most of them individuals, some corporate. To run for CE a nomination by one-eighth of the EC members is needed, and the successful candidate needs more than 50 per cent support. The CE is not allowed to be a member of a political party. The new reforms will increase the size of the EC by another 300 members, add a new sector for Hong Kong members of national bodies, abolish individual voting, and give EC members the power to nominate LegCo members. ...  Click here to view the full text.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Weixia Gu on Multi-Tier Approaches and Global Dispute Resolution (Japanese Yearbook of International Law)

"Multi-Tier Approaches and Global Dispute Resolution"
Weixia Gu
Japanese Yearbook of International Law
Published in 2020, Volume 63, pp. 147-166
Introduction: There are many ways disputes in the commercial world can arise, and as many ways they can be resolved.   Just as different methods of alternative dispute methods have attracted more and more attention.
     The Queen Mary University of London and White & Case LLP 2018 International Arbitration Survey ("QMUL Survey 2018") findings reveal that "there has been a significant increase in the combination of arbitration with ADR.   Nearly half of the participants to the 2018 survey preferred the hybrid approach, as compared to just 35 percent in the 2015 survey findings.   This is unsurprising in view of the benefits of using mediation as a prerequisite to starting arbitration.   The mediation step allows for a "cooling off" period for parties, thereby avoiding the escalation of disputes for adversarial resolution as an immediate recourse.   It also has a filtering effect: only the "truly" contentious issues in dispute proceed for resolution by arbitration.   Overall, thus, the mediation prerequisite increases the prospects of preserving the parties' commercial relationship.  Indeed, the QMUL Survey 2018 findings support the general dispute-avoidance mentality of business parties.  Within the in-house counsel sub-group, it is reported that there is "a clear preference" for the twinning of international arbitration and ADR (60 percent) over international arbitration as a stand-alone mechanism.
        As the 2018 Pound Conference Report further reveals, there is now a global interest in using mixed mode of dispute resolution.  Hybrid dispute resolution usually features a combination of mediation and arbitration into a dispute resolution framework with multiple stages.  These multi-layered modes of dispute resolution can thus be called "multi-tier dispute resolution" ("MDR").  However, despite its widespread popularity, the development of MDR has followed different pathways around the world.  This essay aims to provide a global survey of the development of MDR.  The essay comes in four parts.  Part I would first introduce the concept and procedure of MDR.  Part II then explores how MDR is developed around the world from a regulatory perspective.   Afterwards, Part III would turn to examine the specific situation in some of the world's most prominent legal jurisdictions in the East and West.  Last but not the least, Part IV provides some comparative observations on the trend in the global future of MDR.   

Qiao & Hills on "Here’s How Transferable Development Rights Outweigh Lantau Reclamation Plan in Ending Hong Kong Housing Crisis" (SCMP Opinion)

    Concrete Analysis by Qiao Shitong and Roderick Hills Jr.
    31 March 2021

    Housing in Hong Kong is among the least affordable in the world. And the problem is not lack of land, but lack of development. Three quarters of Hong Kong’s land is vacant, and much of this is reasonably buildable territory.
         In particular, Hong Kong contains 1,414 hectares (3,494 acres) of brownfield sites and another 1,200 hectares of country development land reserved for indigenous villagers of the New Territories that is all suitable for high-density residential construction. Click here to read the full text. 

    New KE Initiative: HKU "Species Victim Impact Statement (SVIS) Initiative" (Amanda Whitfort)

    HKU "Species Victim Impact Statement (SVIS) Initiative" : giving wildlife a voice in courts

    What are Species Victim Impact Statements?
    Species Impact Victim Statements (SVIS) explain to lawyers and judges the harm that wildlife crime has done to individual animals, species and ecosystems.​
          A human victim of crime can make a victim impact statement alerting the court to the harm suffered as a result of the crime.
          Non-human victims of wildlife crime have no similar voice in court. In the absence of training in ecology and conservation science, it is difficult for prosecutors and judges to assess the impact of wildlife crime.
    Where harms are underestimated, defendants receive inadequate sentences that do not effectively deter wildlife offending.
         Species Victim Impact Statements help to ensure informed sentences for wildlife crimes.

    New Books by HKU Faculty of Law 2020-2021

    2020-2021 is a fruitful and prolific year.  More than 20 books were written by our HKU Faculty of Law legal scholars.   Congratulations to these new book authors!

    Thursday, April 15, 2021

    AIIFL Newsletter (April 2021)

                               AIIFL News Issue 2 - April 2021
                                MESSAGE FROM AIIFL 

    I hope you all had a lovely holiday and welcome to our third issue of AIIFL News! At the outset I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Dr Kuzi Charamba,
    who has joined AIIFL as our new Post-Doctoral Fellow in FinTech, RegTech and Digital Financial Transformation. He will be focusing on research in the area of digital finance, financial inclusion and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Kuzi has taught a number of courses at McGill during his PhD / DCL studies, including winning McGill’s Teaching Tomorrow’s Professor Award. He also has extensive research experience, in particular with the One Earth Future Foundation in Denver, Colorado, USA, as a Visiting Scholar in Residence at the University of Colorado Law School, and research assistant to several leading professors at McGill.

    Douglas Arner AIIFL Director | Email


    Looking Back Looking Forward: Finance, Technology and Regulation in 2021

    In the first episode of Series 2 of Looking Back Looking Forward, Professor Douglas Arner looked at the big picture trends for finance, technology and regulation in 2021. In this Episode 2, he focuses in on one of these: how cryptocurrencies and digital assets are increasingly becoming a new asset class in the traditional financial system, subject to a wide range of regulation just like other aspects of finance. 
         The episode discusses the evolution of crypto, blockchain and digital assets over the past decade, highlighting that - regardless of price volatility - both the blockchain and digital assets now have a significant place in the financial system, a place that is likely to increase with the launch of not only Diem but also an increasing range of central bank digital currencies. 
         For more information on the University of Hong Kong's financial technology programme and all the episodes of Looking Back Looking Forward, visit and discover the transformation of information technology's ever-growing impact on finance. 

    We are seeking to expand our world leading team in the area of FinTech, RegTech and Digital Finance. 

    Post-Doctoral Fellow in Finance, Technology and Regulation Applications close: 31 July 2021, HK Time 

    The post will be based in AIIFL and will work closely with the HKU-Standard Chartered Foundation FinTech Academy. Applicants should possess a Ph.D. degree in Law, Computer Science, Engineering, Business, Finance or any other areas related to finance, technology and regulation; knowledge and ideally experience of issues relating to FinTech, RegTech and digital finance; strong communication and organizational skills; sensitivity and commitment to cultural awareness; and the ability to work with a high degree of independence. They should also demonstrate proven ability to develop and pursue a coherent agenda of legal research and/or interdisciplinary scholarship; significant experience of presenting research at domestic and international conferences; and exceptional potential to develop a body of high-quality publications in scholarly journals. More details and online application are available HERE

    Research Assistant Professor in FinTech / RegTech Applications close: 30 June 2021, HK Time 

    The HKU-Standard Chartered Foundation FinTech Academy, with the aim to cultivate interdisciplinary research in FinTech, has established a Research Assistant Professor Scheme. The post will be based in AIIFL and will work closely with the HKU-Standard Chartered Foundation FinTech Academy. Applicants should have a Ph.D. degree in the field of Law, and have demonstrated promise of a high level of ability in research in the field of FinTech (including but not limited to Blockchain, Cyber Security, RegTech, InsurTech, WealthTech, Financial Intelligence, AI and Data Analytics). More details and online application are available HERE 


    How the Rise of China Challenges Global Regulation? (9 April 2021) 

    Angela Zhang, the author of Chinese Antitrust Exceptionalism: How the Rise of ChinaChallenges Global Regulation, will share her views on the topic of “How the Rise of China Challenges Global Regulation?”, followed by an open discussion among participants moderated by Professor Heiwai Tang on 9 April 2021. Details and registration 


    AIIFL reports and publications 

    White Paper: Advantages of Security Token Offerings 

    AIIFL jointly published a new report on Security token offerings (STOs) with Deloitte and HKbitEX. STOs are essentially an offering of securities in a blockchain environment that involves the creation of, and transaction in, digital blockchain tokens. The offering can be applied to financial or non-financial assets and with the token backed by these assets. 
         Following on from the first paper “Security token offerings: The next phase of financial market evolution?” issued on 15 October 2020, this paper identifies pain points of traditional capital raising channels faced by market participants, and considers how security token offerings (STOs) are able to address some of these problems. 
         The full report is available HERE 

    Selected articles, books and reports from the AIIFL team 

    Digital Finance, COVID-19 and Existential Sustainability Crises: Setting the Agendafor the 2020s Douglas W. Arner, Ross P. Buckley, Andrew M. Dahdal, Dirk A. Zetzsche 

    Harmonizing the Public Policy Exception for International Commercial Arbitration along the Belt and Road, Chapter 7 Weixia Gu 

    Arbitration in Comparative Perspective (Chapter 21) Comparative Dispute Resolution Weixia Gu 


    A Fresh Opportunity to Tackle Big Issues (Richard Cullen)


    HKU Excellence Awards for 2020

    Teaching Innovation Award - Team Award

    FinTech Professional Certificate | edX

     Congratulations to Douglas Arner, David Bishop, David Lee, Ellen Seto and SM Yiu.

    Watch the award video HERE

    Congratulations to Kelvin Kwok and Ernest Lim for the nomination of their article "Optimal Deterrence, the Illegality Defence, and Corporate Attribution" for the Concurrences Antitrust Compliance Awards 2021 as an Academic Initiative. This article has also been awarded the Faculty Research Output Prize 2020.


    BIS Innovation Summit 2021: Banking on a New Digital Ecosystem - New Opportunities, Business Models and Regulation
    Panel discussion: Douglas Arner, Henry Ma, Kahina Van Dyke and Noah Pepper on 23 March 2021 Watch it HERE

    Syren Johnstone, William Magnusan and Christine Jiang participated in the "Perspectives on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Regulation" on 22 March 2021

    Giuliano G. Castellano presented his latest research on commercial law and financial regulation in a talk delivered for the University College London LLM Programme on 8 March 2021.
    The working-paper about the talk is available HERE

    Douglas Arner, Seen-Meng Chew, Henry Chong and Lin Shi discussed "The Current Development and Outlook of the Security Token Market" at the Asian Structured Credit Virtual Summit 2021 on 16 March 2021
    Watch it HERE

    CMEL Newsletter (March 2021)

    CMEL is established jointly by the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong. Its primary vision is:

    • to become a focal point for international research excellence in the area of medical ethics and law;
    • to co-ordinate and provide teaching and training to university students and professionals;
    • and to promote and disseminate its expertise to the benefit of the public.
    The Centre’s objectives are to promote excellence in the fields of research, teaching, knowledge exchange and professional training. The Centre will collaborate, as appropriate, with institutions, professional bodies and scholars in Hong Kong and internationally in order to pursue these objectives. CMEL has recently issued the latest newsletter. To view click: CMEL March 2021 Newsletter.

    Highlights of the March newsletter:
    1. Doctor’s conviction of Gross Negligence Manslaughter in Hong Kong and CMEL’s forthcoming webinar on this topic
    2. (Webinar) Gross Negligence Manslaughter: Should it apply to healthcare practitioners?
    3. Watch our Book Talk with the Editor and Contributing Authors
    4. Ombudsman found Hong Kong government’s monitoring mechanism for high-demand vaccines inadequate
    5. Recent publications
    6. Reusing health insurance data of the dead
    7. Canadian-funded project on regulation of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare