Friday, April 19, 2024

Roda Mushkat on Authoritarian International Law: An Unfinished Research Odyssey (CICLR)

"Authoritarian International Law: An Unfinished Research Odyssey"
Roda Mushkat
Cardozo International & Comparative Law Review (Volume 7, Issue 1, pp. 51-118)
Published online: 2024

Abstract: The concept-rich international legal space has expanded in the past few years by incorporating the notion that there is a distinct form of international law possessing authoritarian traits. This notion stands in contrast with the time-honored mainstream variant which is assumed to have liberal-democratic roots and dispositions. A product of the current decade, authoritarian international law has nevertheless left a palpable mark on international legal theory and is believed to have materially reshaped the international legal landscape. The primary aim of this Article is to summarize the achievements made in analyzing the dimensions of this new concept and its considerable practical implications, with a view to suggesting some additional lines of inquiry.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

New book review for Daniel Bell et al on Bridging Two Worlds Comparing Classical Political Thought and Statecraft in India and China (University of California Press)

Bridging Two Worlds: Comparing Classical Political Thought and Statecraft in India and China
Daniel A. Bell
University of California Press
Published in January 2023
New book review available in April 2024 (Click here for details)

Abstract: The rise of China and India could be the most important political development of the twenty-first century. What will the foreign policies of China and India look like in the future? What should they look like? And what can each country learn from the other? Bridging Two Worlds gathers a coterie of experts in the field, analyzing profound political thinkers from these ancient regions whose theories of interstate relations set the terms for the debates today. This volume is the first work that systematically compares ancient thoughts and theories about international politics between China and India. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the growth of China and India and what it will mean for the rest of the world.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Thomas Cheng on Competition Law and AI (CUP book chapter)

"Competition Law and AI"
Thomas Cheng
in Ernest Lim (ed), Phillip Morgan (ed), The Cambridge Handbook of Private Law and Artificial Intelligence, (Cambridge University Press, March 2024), pp. 472-491
Published online: March 2024

Summary: The legal treatment of autonomous algorithmic collusion in light of its technical feasibility and various theoretical considerations is an important issue because autonomous algorithmic collusion raises difficult questions concerning the attribution of conduct by algorithms to firms and reopens the longstanding debate about the legality of tacit collusion. Algorithmic collusion, namely, direct communication between algorithms, which amounts to express collusion, is illegal. Intelligent and independent adaptation to competitors’ conduct by algorithms with no direct communication between them, which is tacit collusion, is generally legal. There should be ex ante regulation to reduce algorithmic collusion.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Hui Jing on Regulating donation-based crowdfunding platforms in Hong Kong: A trust law framework (Common Law World Review)

"Regulating donation-based crowdfunding platforms in Hong Kong: A trust law framework"
Hui Jing
Common Law World Review
Published online: March 2024

Abstract: With the advance of technology, several crowdfunding platforms have emerged in Hong Kong to host informal public donation appeals. Unlike charitable crowdfunding activities, these appeals focus on crowdfunding to provide relief to specific individuals or groups in need. Due to the recent emergence of online informal public donation appeals and their lack of public benefit, regulatory bodies have not paid much attention to their regulation. However, recent media coverage highlighting scandals of maladministration of donation funds in the context of informal public donation appeals has impelled regulators to establish a systemic framework to govern crowdfunding platforms that host informal public donation appeals. This article addresses two main aspects of this topic. First, it discusses the operation of crowdfunding platforms that host informal public donation appeals and the risks associated with them. Second, it explores the feasibility of utilising trust law to regulate the administration of donation funds by these crowdfunding platforms.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

New book by Angela Zhang: High Wire - How China Regulates Big Tech and Governs Its Economy (Oxford University Press)

High Wire - How China Regulates Big Tech and Governs Its Economy
Angela Zhang
Oxford University Press
Published in April 2024
432 pp.

Description: In High Wire, Angela Huyue Zhang provides a comprehensive and sophisticated overview of how China regulates its enormous tech sector. By closely scrutinizing the incentives and interactions among the key players, Zhang introduces a dynamic pyramid model to analyze the structure, process, and outcome of China's unique regulatory system. She showcases the shrewd self-regulatory tactics employed by Chinese tech titans to survive and thrive in an institutional environment plagued by endemic fraud and corruption. She also reveals how the Chinese State has given a helping hand to digital platforms by offering them indispensable judicial support.

Through a robust analysis of the tumultuous 2020-2022 tech crackdown, Zhang explores the model's profound impact on three vital pillars of Chinese platform regulation, including antitrust, data, and labor enforcement. As Zhang demonstrates, the tech crackdown has led to the private sector's retreat and the state's advancement in the tech industry. These regulatory shifts have also steered investors from consumer tech businesses toward hardcore technologies that are essential for China's bid to overtake the United States in innovation.

More than just a study of China, Zhang offers a global perspective by comparing China's regulatory landscape with rapidly moving developments in the United States and the European Union. This comparative analysis reveals the shared regulatory challenges all face and sheds light on the future direction of Chinese tech regulation. Finally, she peers into the future of China's tech governance, specifically focusing on the burgeoning realm of generative artificial intelligence.

Providing an unparalleled deep dive into China's rapidly evolving digital economy, High Wire is a must-read for those interested in how the manifold ways in which China regulates and governs its economy.

Professor Angela Zhang’s “High Wire” Book Talk Series: Please click here for details.
Book Trailer: Please click here to view on YouTube.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Ryan Whalen awarded the 2024 Microsoft Research AI & Society Fellow (Copyright Protection for User Data in the Era of LLMs)

Congratulations to Ryan Whalen, who awarded the 2024 Microsoft Research AI & Society Fellow.

Background on the prize: The Microsoft Research AI & Society Fellows program supports interdisciplinary AI research in the context of societal impact. The program offers opportunities for fellows from fields beyond core computer sciences to join and support interdisciplinary research conversations with Microsoft Researchers. By facilitating these new collaborations, Microsoft aims to scale the impact of collective research efforts at the intersection of AI & Society. For more information on the award, click here.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Jiajun Luo on Authoritarian Legal (Ir)rationality: The Saga of ‘Picking Quarrels’ in China (The ECLR Hub)

"Authoritarian Legal (Ir)rationality: The Saga of ‘Picking Quarrels’ in China"
Jiajun Luo (PhD candidate)
The ECLR Hub
Published online: March 2024

In response to an apartment fire in Urumqi which killed eleven residents in November 2022, Shanghai residents took to the city’s Urumqi Road, protesting peacefully against China’s zero-covid policy. While the protests resulted in the official end of nearly all Covid-19 related restrictions, several participants were detained and sentenced for picking quarrels and provoking trouble (Criminal Code Art. 293). Photo by Cinea467

It is widely reported that the utilization of the crime picking quarrels (寻衅滋事) by Chinese authorities has resulted in the imprisonment of thousands for their online expressions, ranging from complaints about traffic police to criticisms of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on social media platforms. Moreover, this catchall category extends beyond speech-related offenses, serving as a tool for political suppression since 2013 and targeting various civil groups in China, including feminists and human rights lawyers.

However, picking quarrels is not confined to politically sensitive cases. Authorities also employ it to...

Please click here for full article on the ECLR and click here for draft paper on SSRN.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Giuliano Castellano on Don’t Call It a Failure: Systemic Risk Governance for Complex Financial Systems (LSI)

"Don’t Call It a Failure: Systemic Risk Governance for Complex Financial Systems"
Giuliano Castellano
Law & Social Inquiry (First View, pp. 1-42)
Published online: March 2024

Abstract: The probability that an event will avalanche into an impairment of essential services constitutes a “systemic risk.” Owing to the inherent complexities of modern societies, the outbreak of a novel disease or the failure of a financial institution can rapidly escalate into an impact significantly larger than the initial event. Through the lens of complex system theory, this article draws a parallel between financial crises and disasters to contend that the regulatory framework for financial systemic risk is unequipped to address its fundamental dynamics. Epitomized by the market failure rationale, financial regulation is premised on a reductionist view that purports both systemic risk and law as external to the actions of market participants. Conversely, this article advances a twofold conceptual framework. First, it shows that systemic risk emerges from the same complex dynamics that generate the financial system. Second, it understands law as an agent of complexity, thus contributing to the emergence of finance and its inherent instability. Normatively, this conceptual framework reveals the limits of current regulatory approaches and constructs a holistic risk governance framework that is akin to the one adopted to govern disaster risks.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Yun Zhao and Hui Chen on Enhancing access to digital justice: digital governance of dispute resolution and dispute prevention in online commercial activities (Journal of International Dispute Settlement)

"Enhancing access to digital justice: digital governance of dispute resolution and dispute prevention in online commercial activities"
Yun Zhao, Hui Chen
Journal of International Dispute Settlement (idae001, 2024)
Published online: February 2024

Abstract: This article examines relevant theories and practices concerning the strengthening of access to digital justice and explores pathways to expanding the application of online dispute resolution (ODR) to dispute prevention in online commercial activities. It focuses on how to enhance both efficiency and fairness in four stages of commercial activities, namely, deal-making (contract formation), contract performance, dispute resolution, and the enforcement of final results. At the deal-making stage, the application of e-signatures is analysed with respect to the prevention of compliance and security risks. The best practices of smart contracts and blockchain technology are also investigated to promote relevant innovative designs in the digital governance of online contract performance. In addition, top-down and bottom-up ODR platforms are compared in terms of their respective patterns for enhancing efficiency and fairness, as well as their differing potential for institutionalization. Finally, existing ODR self-enforcement models are explored, with emphasis on the ‘preauthorization’ model and the example of Taobao.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Zhao Yun and Yu Jiaying on Legal Status of Lunar Stations (Journal of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics Social Sciences Edition)

"Legal Status of Lunar Stations"
Zhao Yun and Yu Jiaying
Journal of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics Social Sciences Edition Vol.37 No.2 March 2024
Published online: February 2024

Abstract: Currently, lunar activities are entering a new phase - the planning and construction of lunar stations. However, the international law on lunar stationing activities needs to be further developed, while the legal status of lunar stations is the primary issue to be considered. Reflection on the legal status of lunar stations arises from the peculiarity of lunar station activities: they are carried out on celestial bodies, with the long-term objective of the sustainable development of human society, and they involve the use of a fixed area on the surface of a celestial body and create a de facto scope of activities. Lunar station activities in conformity with the Outer Space Treaty are categorized as free exploration and use of the Moon for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, without exclusive and permanent use of the lunar surface, and are open to other States on the basis of reciprocity. It is suggested that future ILRS activities can be conducted in either a “non-exclusive” or “temporary” manner to fulfill international legal obligations, and that the importance of “basis of reciprocity” and the scope of “visit” should be clarified. The following aspects of lunar stations need to be considered as specific factors in determining the legal status of the station: 1) the purpose and the size of the scope of a lunar station; 2) the mobility of a lunar station; 3) the duration of a lunar station; 4) the notification, update and sharing of lunar station information.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Peter Chau on Commentary on “Responsibility for Health and the Value of Choice” (Palgrave Macmillan Book Chapter)

"Commentary on “Responsibility for Health and the Value of Choice”"
Peter Chau
in Hon-Lam Li (ed), Lanson Lectures in Bioethics (2016-2022): Assisted Suicide, Responsibility, and Pandemic Ethics, (Palgrave Macmillan Cham, February 2024), pp. 109–120
Published online: February 2024

Abstract: This chapter is a commentary on T. M. Scanlon’s Lanson Lecture in Bioethics. It discusses whether the existence of disagreement affects the justifiability of “libertarian paternalism” and whether Scanlon’s “Value of Choice” account fits better with our considered judgments on allocation of health resources than luck egalitarianism.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Shane Chalmers and Desmond Manderson on Vortext (Law & Literature)

Shane Chalmers and Desmond Manderson
Law & Literature
Published online: February 2024

Abstract: This article introduces the special issue of Law & Literature on “Colonial Legal Imaginaries | Southern Literary Futures”. The aim is to advance two imperative tasks. The first, analytic, task is to pay attention to the diversity of colonial imaginaries across the very different terrains, literatures, and epistemologies of the so-called South. Rather than continue to impose a Eurocentric canon on the domain of law and literature, the argument here is that we need to better immerse ourselves in the diversity of colonial imaginaries from places whose experiences were as different as Indigenous Australia, India under the Raj, African game reserves, or the post-conquest Americas. The second, ethical and aesthetic, task is to accept literature’s invitation not simply to document colonial, or for that matter post-colonial, ideologies, but to reimagine them. The realms of literature and art represent a crucial opportunity to talk back to power through the very modalities of fantasy and imagination, myth and story, that have been so indispensable to its maintenance. Each author in this collection wholeheartedly contributes to these two tasks, combining an analytical expansion of the past with a creative ethical engagement with the present and the future.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Taorui Guan on Cooperative Federalism and Patent Legislation: A Study Comparing China and the United States (CJIL)

"Cooperative Federalism and Patent Legislation: A Study Comparing China and the United States"
Taorui Guan
Chicago Journal of International Law (vol. 24, no. 2 (2024), pp. 259-304)
Published online: February 2024

Abstract: How should patent legislative power be allocated between central and local governments in order to construct a patent system conducive to promoting innovation? A comparative analysis of the models of the U.S. and China sheds light on this question. The early American states established their patent systems before the formation of the federal system, but the U.S. Constitution arrogated patent legislative power to the federal government, ending the era of decentralized patent systems. This centralized structure ensures uniformity in rules but might hinder the system’s adaptability and ability to experiment. In contrast, as China’s patent system evolved, its patent legislative power spread from the central to the local governments. This shift led to the coexistence of dual-level patent legislative structure. Currently, twenty-nine out of thirty-one province-level authorities (93.5%) and twenty-one out of 323 city-level authorities with local legislative power (6.5%) have established local patent laws. China’s patent system is not entirely decentralized but rather, semi-decentralized, as the locales not only implement their local patent laws but also must enforce the central government’s national patent laws. China’s semi-decentralized patent legislation model embodies significant features of cooperative federalism, where the central and local governments share the national power to handle affairs and collaborate to address issues. Yet, the central government maintains a dominant position in this cooperative relationship, as a consequence of China’s unitary state structure. Compared to the current centralized patent legislation model in the U.S., China’s semi-decentralized patent legislation model has the advantage of making statutory law more adaptable to local specificities and promoting local competition and institutional innovation. However, it also faces challenges, such as increased costs due to inconsistency; efficiency decline stemming from rent-seeking behaviors; and the risk that local protectionism will create anti-competitive effects.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

New Book edited by Po Jen Yap and Mathias Siems: The Cambridge Handbook of Comparative Law (Cambridge University Press)

The Cambridge Handbook of Comparative Law
Edited by Mathias Siems, Po Jen Yap
Cambridge University Press
Published in February 2024
780 pp.

Book Description: Comparative law is a common subject-matter of research and teaching in many universities around the world, and the twenty-first century has aptly been termed 'the era of comparative law'. This Cambridge Handbook of Comparative Law presents a truly global perspective of comparative law today. The contributors are drawn from all parts of the world to provide different perspectives on how we understand the 'law' and how it operates in practice. In substance, the Handbook contains 36 chapters covering a broad range of topics, divided under the following headings: 'Methods of Comparative Law' (Part I), 'Legal Families and Geographical Comparisons' (Part II), 'Central Themes in Comparative Law' (Part III); and 'Comparative Law beyond the State' (Part IV).

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

New Book Edited by Kelley Loper et al: Gender, Sexuality and Constitutionalism in Asia

Gender, Sexuality and Constitutionalism in Asia
Edited by Wen-Chen Chang, Kelley Loper, Mara Malagodi, Ruth Rubio-Marín
Bloomsbury Publishing
Published in January 2024
384 pp.

Description: This book analyses the equal citizenship claims of women and sexual and gender diverse people across several Asian jurisdictions. The volume examines the rich diversity of constitutional responses to sex, gender and sexuality in the region from a comparative perspective. Leading comparative constitutional law scholars identify 'opportunity structures' to explain the uneven advancement of gender equality through constitutional litigation and consider a combination of variables which shape the diverging trajectories of the jurisdictions in this study. 
     The authors also embed the relevant constitutional and legal developments in their historical, political and social contexts. This deep contextual understanding of the relationship between sex, gender, sexuality and constitutionalism greatly enriches the analysis. The case studies reflect a variety of constitutional structures, institutional designs and contextual dynamics which may advance or impede developments with respect to sex, gender and sexuality. As a whole, the chapters further an understanding of the constitutional domain as a fruitful site for advancing gender equality and the rights of sexual and gender diverse people. 
     The jurisdictions covered represent all Asian sub-regions including: East Asia (Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea), South East Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia), and South Asia (India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). The introductory framework chapter situates these insights from the region within the broader global context of the evolution of gender constitutionalism.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Ziyue Zhou and Kwan Yuen Iu on Catalyst for Common Law Evolution: Experiment with ChatGPT and a Hypothetical Common Law Jurisdiction (Asian Journal of Law and Economics)

"Catalyst for Common Law Evolution: Experiment with ChatGPT and a Hypothetical Common Law Jurisdiction"
Kwan Yuen Iu and Ziyue Zhou (PhD candidate)
Asian Journal of Law and Economics
Published Online: 5 January 2024

Abstract: This paper aims to carry out empirical analysis of the viability of large language models (LLMs), specifically ChatGPT, in simulating the common law system and facilitating its evolutionary processes. Drawing on the Theory of Rules Evolution, it is understood that common law generates efficient rules by natural selection through constant litigation. Nonetheless, this evolutionary mechanism faces several hindrances. The process of change is typically slow and incremental. Courts often have to wait for a case that’s deemed ‘appropriate’ before they can change the law, leading to extended delays. Additionally, courts frequently struggle to make efficient decisions due to limited information. Other factors that decelerate the creation of efficient rules include judicial bias, unequal distribution of resources among litigating parties, and the diminishing presence of a competitive legal order. This study first assesses ChatGPT’s capability to embrace the essence of the common law system, namely the doctrine of stare decisis. We then assess its potential to overcome the hindrances in common law development and promote efficient rules. Through a series of meticulously designed hypothetical cases set in a virtual jurisdiction called the “Matrix Kingdom,” we observed that ChatGPT mimic the functions of a common law court by citing, following, and distinguishing its own precedents, but it accomplishes this with significantly fewer resources and in less time. This implies that humans can introduce hypothetical legal situations, enabling LLMs to replicate the natural selection process observed in the common law system but with a significantly accelerated pace. Given that LLMs are trained with diverse information sources, not just the factual contexts of cases, they could potentially lower the informational constraints in decision-making. As such, LLMs might significantly contribute to the evolutionary processes of common law development. However, it is important to remain cautious of certain limitations, such as the potential for AI Hallucination and inherent biases in LLMs, which require careful consideration and management.

Monday, March 11, 2024

HKU LAW Junior Academic Fellows: Call for Applications

HKU Faculty of Law has established a pre-doctoral fellowship, which will be awarded to law graduates in and from Hong Kong who have recently obtained a master degree in law from a leading international law school. Recipients of the fellowship will serve as a junior academic fellow in the Faculty of Law for up to one year with a competitive salary, during which they will be required to perform limited teaching duties. The fellows are expected to devote their time primarily to securing a place in a doctorate degree programme at a top global law school. Depending on whether they secure a scholarship elsewhere for their doctoral study, fellows may be awarded a scholarship under this fellowship programme that contributes towards the cost of their doctoral study. This is a highly competitive new initiative of the Faculty of Law designed to identify academic talent with strong potential for success in doctoral studies. No more than two successful candidates will be selected each year.

Interested candidates may send their CV and a personal statement to Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Taorui Guan on Intellectual Property Legislation Holism in China (University of Pennsylvania Asian Law Review)

"Intellectual Property Legislation Holism in China"
Taorui Guan
University of Pennsylvania Asian Law Review, (vol. 18, (2023), pp. 81-140)
Published online: December 2023

Introduction: Over the past forty years, Western policy makers, commentators, and scholars have followed the development of China’s intellectual property system with interest. Many Western countries have exported intellectual products to China, and the protection that China’s intellectual property system provides affects these countries’ gains.  Some of them, particularly the United States, complain that China does not provide sufficient protection of intellectual property rights. When scholars study China’s intellectual property system, they tend to focus on whether the Chinese government has granted intellectual property rights to some particular kinds of intellectual products and whether it has effectively enforced these rights. Over the years, there have been studies claiming that the level of protection of intellectual property rights in China is inadequate, but more recent research has suggested that the opposite might be the full article here.

Friday, March 8, 2024

James WC Lee on Anti-Corruption in a Party-State: Constitutional Implications of China's Supervisory Reform (Asian Journal of Comparative Law)

"Anti-Corruption in a Party-State: Constitutional Implications of China's Supervisory Reform"
James WC Lee (HKU Undergraduate Research Fellowship Programme)
Asian Journal of Comparative Law Volume 18 , Issue 3 , pp. 389 - 406
Published in December 2023

Abstract: The 2018 amendments to the People's Republic of China (PRC) Constitution saw the establishment of a system of supervisory commissions, which is a landmark development not only for anti-corruption, but also constitutional law in China. After providing an overview of the background and legal framework of the reform, this article discusses its constitutional implications from three perspectives. First, the reform alters the long-established state structure and creates interesting dynamics of institutional interactions among various branches of state structure. Second, it marks a reversal from the principle of ‘party-state separation’ and raises difficult issues of interface and transition between the party disciplinary system and the formal legal system. Finally, it legalises the previously extralegal practice of shuanggui (‘double specifications’) and affects the individual rights of those subject to investigation. The article concludes with some brief reflections on what this development indicates for the future of the rule of law in China, and highlights the potential for further research.