Sunday, September 23, 2018

Congratulations to Dr Odysseas Repousis and Mr. Gary Meggitt on their RPG Thesis Awards

Congratulations to Dr Odysseas Repousis and Mr. Gary Meggitt who have been awarded the University's 2016-2017 Li Ka Shing Prizes endorsed by the HKU Board of Graduate Studies.
     The Li Ka Shing Prizes were established when the Hong Kong tycoon Dr Li Ka Shing made a generous donation to the University in 1990 under the stipulation of awarding six theses, four of which are PhD and two of which are MPhil annually in and after 2005-06.
     Dr Repousis' awarded PhD thesis, "The rise of multilateral investment treaties and the development of customary international investment law", was written under the supervision of Dr James Fry.
   Mr Meggitt's awarded MPhil thesis, "Mediation and ADR Privilege – the Existing Law and Potential Reforms" was written under the supervision of Ms. Janice Brabyn.
     Only one other HKU Law graduate has been awarded the Li Ka Shing Prize (Dr PY Lo, 2010-11), while four students have received the Outstanding Research Postgraduate Student Award (Dr Maria Carrai and Dr Han Zhu, 2015-16; Dr Clement Chen, 2012-13; Dr Robert Morris, 2006-7).

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Buckley, Avgouleas & Arner on "Three Major Financial Crises: What Have We Learned" (AIIFL Working Paper No. 31)

Ross P. Buckley, Emilios Avgouleas, and Douglas W. Arner
UNSW Law Research Paper No. 18-61
September, 2018
Abstract: Few experts predicted the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-1998, or the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and its close companion the Eurozone Debt Crisis of 2010, and we certainly do not pretend to be able to predict the next one. Yet history teaches there will be another crisis and probably sooner rather than later, and, of course, in the decade since the start of the Global Financial Crisis, the Eurozone crisis has been ongoing in many of its dimensions. Fragility that periodically erupts into a full blown financial crisis appears to be an integral feature of market-based financial systems in spite of the advent of sophisticated risk management tools and regulatory systems. If anything the increased frequency of modern crises since the collapse of the Bretton Woods international monetary system and the period of financial internationalization and globalization which has followed, underscores how difficult it is to prevent and deal with systemic risk. We thus seek to compare and contrast these three major crises both to distill the lessons to be learned, and to identify what more can be done to strengthen our financial systems. The following sections will provide an overview of each crisis in turn, considering in particular (i) its causes; (ii) the effectiveness of policy responses; and (iii) the lessons. In the conclusion we seek to draw some common themes from these experiences going forward. Click here to download the full paper.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Kai Yeung Wong (SJD Candidate) Comments on the QT Case (MLR)

"An Incomplete Victory: The Implications of QT v Director of Immigration for the Protection of Gay Rights in Hong Kong"
Kai Yeung Wong (SJD Candidate)
The Modern Law Review
September 2018Vol. 81, Issue 5, pp. 874-889
Abstract: QT v Director of Immigration [2017] 5 HKLRD 166 is the most important decision on gay rights in Hong Kong since the unequal ages of consent between heterosexuals and homosexuals were held to be unconstitutional 10 years ago. The Court of Appeal of Hong Kong affirmed the right of same‐sex couples married or in a civil partnership overseas to be treated on an equal basis with married heterosexual couples. This note considers the strengths and shortcomings of the Court of Appeal's reasoning, in terms of its potential significance both to the rights of sexual minorities and to the wider protection of human rights by means of the common law.  Note that the Court of Final Appeal affirmed the Court of Appeal's decision on 4 July 2018, see [2018] HKCFA 28.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Puja Kapai on Child Protection and Children’s Rights in Hong Kong (RTHK Radio)

Presenters: Hugh Chiverton and Jim Gould
Backchat, RTHK Radio 3
13 September 2018
Description: A report by the Social Welfare Department indicates that child abuse is on the increase, particularly where very young children are involved. In the first six months of this year there were 554 newly reported cases of abuse, compared with 947 for the whole of 2017. Those figures, and several widely reported cases before the courts in the past few months have led to calls for stronger penalties and an overhaul of child protection laws. So how could child abuse be prevented, and how could children's rights be better safeguarded?   Panelists: Puja Kapai, Priscilla Lui, Azan Marwah, and Dennis Ho. Click here to listen to the programme.  Kapai co-organised the Centre for Comparative and Public Law's Conference on Safeguarding Children's Best Interests at HKU on 8 September 2018.

Amanda Whitfort's Letter to the Editor on Wildlife Crimes (SCMP)

10 September, 2018
South China Morning Post
I write to congratulate the Hong Kong government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and Customs and Excise Department on the success of their 10-week operation to combat endangered species smuggling. The joint operation resulted in seizures of HK$19 million (US$2.4 million) in suspected endangered species, as well as 82 arrests.
     This shows the impact proper resourcing would likely have on combating wildlife crime within the territory. With Hong Kong’s annual seizures in endangered species routinely valued as second only to dangerous drugs, isn’t it time the agriculture and customs departments were given sufficient human resources and legislative powers to pursue wildlife offences with as much vigilance as police pursue triad and drug crimes?
      This should start with amending our Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance to target endangered species smuggling. With more adequate powers and resources, we could also start policing the pangolin market.
     As noted in your story, “How Hong Kong shops manage to cash in on pangolin scales” (September 5), traders in Hong Kong do not need permits to sell pangolin scales. While we wait around for the legislative amendment raising pangolin species to Appendix 1 (banning the unlicensed sale of pangolin scales) to take effect in November – two years after 182 countries agreed on a total pangolin trade ban at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – the world’s most trafficked mammal is quickly going extinct.
      This year alone, the authorities have netted over 15 tonnes of smuggled scales within the city. Hong Kong’s role in the extinction of the pangolin should not be a repeat of our shamefully tardy response to ivory trade.  Written by Amanda Whitfort.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Douglas Arner Interviewed on the Sochi Accord on FinTech for Financial Inclusion (Sputnik)

9 Sept 2018
The Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Global Policy Forum (GPF) wrapped up in Sochi this week. The AFI empowers policymakers to increase access to quality financial services for the poorest populations and aims to strengthen market conduct and consumer protection. Sputnik spoke to Douglas Arner, professor of [financial law] at Hong Kong University, who took part in the forum.
Sputnik: What's your opinion about this forum?
Douglas Arner: You know it is something that financial inclusion and financial sector development have long been very important policy objectives and organizations like AFI which try to bring together, in particular, developing countries and emerging markets from around the world to talk about common problems, common experiences, I think are very valuable. I think in the context of this event, seeing a response from 80-90 countries around the world in a week-long event, is really very exciting... Click here to read and listen to the whole interview.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Rebecca Lee and Lusina Ho Awarded Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award 2018

Lusina Ho (left) & Rebecca Lee (right)
Congratulations to Rebecca Lee and Lusina Ho who were awarded the University of Hong Kong's Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award 2018. The award recognises the impact their research has had on the development of special needs trust in Hong Kong. Titling their application ‘Introducing the Special Needs Trust to Hong Kong' (為香港智障人士設立特殊需要信託), the impact from their work can be summarised as follows:
  • Successfully lobbied the HKSAR Government to launch and operate a Special Needs Trust to help care for individuals with intellectual disability. The first of its kind in the world. After initiating and committing to establishing the SNT in two consecutive Policy Addresses, the Government pledged in its 2018 Budget to allocate HK$50 million to establish a dedicated office to launch the SNT.
  • Empowered and partnered with NGOs to campaign for improvement of the legal regime through a variety of activities including the first territory-wide survey on parental opinions on existing financial planning tools for individuals with intellectual disability in Hong Kong, policy papers, academic publications, numerous public forums and media interviews.
  • Influenced and informed policy debates on the protection of people with cognitive impairments in Hong Kong. Raised community awareness on the relevant issues.
  • Sharing of Hong Kong experience with overseas jurisdictions.
     The Faculty KE Awards were introduced in 2011 in order to recognise each Faculty’s outstanding KE accomplishment that has made demonstrable economic, social or cultural impacts to benefit the community, business/industry, or partner organisations. Nominations in each Faculty were considered by an Ad Hoc Faculty KE Award Selection Committee chaired by the Dean, and members included the Faculty representative serving on the KE Working Group, one of the Associate Directors of the Knowledge Exchange Office (KEO), and a member from outside the University. The selection criteria include evidence of the KE project’s link with excellence in research or in teaching & learning of HKU; evidence of an effective engagement process with the non-academic sector(s); and evidence of demonstrable benefits to the community, business/industry, or partner organisations.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Anne Cheung Interviewed on Cyberbullying in Hong Kong (RTHK Radio)

"Efforts to combat cyber-bullying among young people"
Backchat, RTHK Radio 3
6 Sept 2018
The problem of online harassment and abuse, particularly among young people, has been around for a long time, but a recent study by the Polytechnic University has cast light on a practice known as "doxxing", which involves someone's personal details being disclosed on the internet by others, and without consent. More than 20 percent of the victims identified in the study said they'd experienced depression and anxiety. So what should be done about it? A number of academics and legal experts say our current laws for dealing with online bullying are out of date, and new, targeted legislation is required.  Panelists: Anne Cheung, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong; Mark Cheung, Executive Director, Kids4Kids; Wan Lap-man, Supervisor (Services for Youth at Risk), Hong Kong Playground Association; Chester Soong, Director, Hong Kong Internet Society; Cameron Su, Student, Hong Kong International School; and Author of “Memories Cached”.  Click here to listen to the recording of the radio programme.
     HKU's Law and Technology Centre organised a one-day conference on cyberbullying on 4 September 2018.  Click here to access the conference website.  For other media coverage of this event, see SCMP, Young PostMing Pao 1 (Chinese), Ming Pao 2 (Chinese), RTHK (Chinese radio), and Wen Wei Po (Chinese).

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Syren Johnstone on Improving Corporate Governance in Asia (IFLR)

"COVER STORY: Asia raises the bar"
International Financial Law Review (IFLR)
28 Aug 2018
Asia is improving corporate governance. But some companies aren’t jumping at the opportunity.
Market success hinges on many things, not least strong corporate governance standards. As Asian
markets open up to foreign investment, the need for tougher governance is encouraging reform in financial centres across Asia. On the one hand, Asian businesses are facing pressure as domestic investors who have historically been passive when it comes to their investments become more
engaged. On the other, foreign investors expanding their portfolios into Asia look for more transparency and accountability.
    But cronyism is a common feature in family-owned businesses, and the separation of ownership and management is an aspect Asian businesses still need to work on. Figures show that 85% of Asian businesses are family-owned, and out of the world's largest 500 family- owned businesses, nearly 20% are located in the region.
     Recent regulatory changes in a number of Asian countries have tried to target this issue though much more work is needed.
     Syren Johnstone, executive director of the LLM in compliance & regulation at the University of Hong Kong, and the principal author of the HKICPA report along with Say Goo, professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, says progress in this market has focused less on truly innovative changes and more on creeping changes to existing codes. Other areas of progressive change have focused on the role of the industry regulator in relation to the listed market, and an increasing willingness to consider stronger means of enforcement such as through the courts.
     "In the HKICPA report, we have queried the extent to which this succeeds in moving fundamental behaviours away from box-ticking compliance, and have made a series of recommendations we consider will be more effective and efficient," says Johnstone. "The most notable change affecting governance regulation is of course Hong Kong permitting weighted voting rights, subject to some safeguards, though it's too early to tell whether those safeguards will be adequate." 
     Other than the enforcement problem, which is a system design issue, the two biggest issues remain the role of INEDs and abuse by controlling shareholders. "How well the independent director concept really works in Asia, given the different context from its point of origin in the US, remains uncertain," explains Johnstone. "There is a growing recognition that an INED's understanding of their expected role and perception of liability, and their remuneration, need to be better aligned for the concept to have a chance of working properly."
     There have been suggestions that the approach in the UK to empower INEDs should be followed, ie through dual voting and the requirement that the controlling shareholder enters into a relationship agreement that gives INEDs special powers. The HKICPA analysis considered the different mechanisms by which independence is determined or understood, the justification for altering the voting rights attached to shares, and concluded that there are more appropriate mechanisms for empowering the INED concept. Click here to register to read the full text.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Yongxi Chen on Circumventing Transparency, Extra-Legal Exemptions from Freedom of Information and Judicial Review in China (J Int'l Media & Entertainment L)

Yongxi Chen
Journal of International Media & Entertainment Law
2018, Vol. 7, Issue 2, pp. 203-252

Abstract: This paper examines the relation between extra-legal regimes of information control and the right to information created by China’s Regulations on Open Government Information (ROGI) and discusses its implications for legal reforms in a party-state. It finds that the norms that preserve the traditional ways of information control under the socialist system have triumphed over the transparency requirements under the ROGI and inhibited the ROGI’s liberally oriented functions. It argues that the circumvention of transparency requirements is caused by not only the flaws in the ROGI, but also the dualist disposition of power in the party-state and the incomplete legal regulation of the exercise of power.
     Existing literature on China’s transparency reform focuses on the implementation and interpretation of the ROGI alone, largely overlooking the norms that are generated by the party-state authorities in parallel with, or in the place of, the ROGI to exempt information from disclosure. These secrecy norms can be called “extra-legal norms” because they are generally not considered sources of law under the Chinese legal system. Extra-legal norms are nevertheless widely adhered to in practice because of their political importance within the governance structure. It is important to note that freedom of information law is significant primarily because it seeks to establish disclosure as the rule and non-disclosure the exception. The ROGI’s effectiveness hence hinges on the extent to which the primacy of its disclosure requirements is guaranteed over secrecy norms. 
      The paper first identifies three major categories of extra-legal exemptions: (1) documents defining the specific scope of state secrets; (2) directives on the prior approval of information releases; and (3) ROGI implementation measures. It analyzes in depth the nature and validity of each. It then examines, based on a representative sample of cases, judicial review of extra-legal exemptions that fall within categories (1) and (3) but contradict either the ROGI or other laws. After elaborating the gaps in the formal hierarchy of law and the marginal, or even failing, judicial control of invalid norms, the paper further reflects on how its embeddedness in the party-state has impeded an otherwise promising legal reform in the direction of greater government accountability.

Alexa Lam's Inspiring Message to Incoming HKU Law Students 2018-2019

Talk at Faculty Opening Ceremony
31 August 2018
To most of you here, today is a special day. It marks the start of a new chapter of your life. It is a relatively short chapter – you are spending just a few years here, but it will probably be one of the most important chapters, because it is during this time that you will develop the moral and intellectual compass which you will use to navigate your life journey. 
     Your sense of pride and excitement, tempered perhaps by a bit of foreboding, is almost palpable. There is ample justification for this. Not only have you gotten into a prestigious university in the region, you actually managed to enroll in its top 20 world-ranking law school. Once you get over the next few years of lectures, tutorials, assignments and exams, you will join the profession of smart men and women in black robes, funny wigs and lawyer-speak in glamorous downtown Central, where successful professionals spend most of their waking hours. 
     You wanted to do law, and your wish has been granted. I have heard anecdotally that our LLB freshmen are increasingly a sophisticated bunch. Before they stepped foot into Cheng Yu Tung Tower on the first day, they had worked out what courses are the least rigorous and the most likely to yield a good grade, who are the teachers to avoid in the next four years because they are mean with their grades, how they could sail through law school with minimum work, etc. Our Department Head Professor Zhao Yun told us that you all came with top admission scores, which means that at age 18, you already have the ability to grapple with knowledge in a broad range of academic subjects. I therefore cannot believe that you are here just for the purpose of getting a ticket to the exclusive club of legal practice and big money. You would be doing yourself a great disservice, indeed you would be throwing away the opportunity of a lifetime, if you did not take advantage of the environment that university provides to equip yourselves with skills that will enable you to get the greatest intellectual and emotional satisfaction out of not just work but life in general. Life is a long journey – if it is just work and nothing else, it is a journey of hardship. You may become rich, but yours is an impoverished life. 
     To enjoy a rich life (and money does not equate a rich life), you must have passion for what you do and what you believe in. Passion drives your desire to participate, use your creativity, innovate solutions and in the end excel. The joy is not just in the result but the process. Let me illustrate with a story. 
     In the course that I teach, students are required to take part in a moot. They are given a life case – a hearing pending before the Market Misconduct Tribunal on an insider dealing complaint brought by the securities market regulator, the Securities and Futures Commission. Students were told that they should themselves form moot groups of four each - two for the regulator and two the defendants. The facts of the case are set out in a Notice filed by the regulator and available on the Tribunal’s website. Effectively a statement of claim by the regulator, the notice is of course a one-sided document setting out facts and allegations in the regulator’s favour. Other than this, there was very little structure. Students were advised that members of a group could agree among themselves on any additional facts that would give the defendants a good defence. That of course would make the regulator’s case more difficult but it would even the odds and render the hearing more interesting. When students were first told about this, they looked distinctly unhappy. I could just see what was on their minds: "Why does this professor have to be so marfan? Why can’t she just talk about the case in lecture? How am I to figure out a group to join? What a waste of my time!" Some emailed me right after class asking if I could do the grouping for them as they did not know one another. One even questioned if it was not the responsibility of the teacher to set up and assign students to groups. 
    I sent around a list of names of students in the class with their contact email address. In my message I made clear that a student’s ability to organize his group, agree with his group members the facts of the case and a fair allocation of work for each team member, and work with his team members to deliver results would go towards the student’s overall grade. The mention of the word “grade” worked like magic. Everyone rushed to email me with details of his group. As students started working with their group members, I noticed a sea change of attitude. I started getting enthusiastic emails asking for clarification of the Tribunal’s procedures and telling me about the additional facts on which their group had agreed. On the day of the mooting, students came before me, men and women smartly dressed in black, displaying a command of the facts, an understanding of the law, an ability to advocate a seamlessly woven legal argument and a poise and eloquence worthy of the best that this Law Faculty has ever produced. Some even prepared their bundles of documents, which included actual announcements, financial reports and media publications relevant to the company whose shares the regulator claimed were the subject matter of the insider dealing. Their enthusiasm in presenting their case in the best light was almost contagious. After their mooting, brimming with pride and satisfaction, students told me how much they had enjoyed the process, and they thanked one another in their group for a great experience together. 
     The central theme of the story is that in the next four or five years at HKU, there is nothing about learning that is a waste of your time. Learning comes in all forms and modes. Your teacher is only a small part of it. You learn because of your own intellectual curiosity and imagination, which drive thinking, debates, research and analysis. You learn from your peers, and you learn from actual and vicarious experiences. 
     Let me talk about your peers. Your class is big – some 200 students. Apart from those who are “your type”, many come from schools whose students you have never interacted with. Then there are those who went to high schools abroad, and still others who come from Mainland China, or other common law jurisdictions. They are an important part of your learning. In a world where technology continues to disrupt incumbents and open new theatres of opportunities, hard facts and skills that you learn today may become completely obsolete tomorrow. Your role model – the smart men and women in black in downtown Central, could be replaced one day by robot advisers. In Mainland China, they are already experimenting with virtual trials where cases are argued and adjudicated on the web. To stay relevant, you have to be agile and adaptable. Diversity, therefore, is the key to success in the tomorrow’s world. 
     Many of your classmates come from a different history and culture. Get to know them. You will find that there is something that you can learn from one another, or something about them that could help you better understand yourself. Explore the different activities, forums, clubs and programs that are available. They do not have to be law related. They are never a waste of time. Even if in the end you find that you do not enjoy any particular activity, you will have given yourself the opportunity of trying it. Understanding yourself, who you are and what you stand for, is crucial. The next four or five years is a time for you to do that. That is what I meant about building your moral and intellectual compass. You will need that as your guide when you come to crossroads in your life journey. 
     “That all sounds grand, but then what about my law studies? Where do I find to study law, which is my first priority?” Those of you who have been warned about the onerous workload of a law undergraduate may wonder. Let me share with you the provocative words of Lord Sumption, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in a recent debate in Cambridge on the motion “Those who wish to practise law should not study law at university”. Lord Sumption made the comment that “…law is dead easy. Most of it is common sense with knobs on. The difficulty is in the facts. Once you understand and strip away 95% of the facts which are not relevant, the legal solution is obvious…” While that may be over simplifying the process of legal reasoning, and I am certainly not suggesting that the next four years will be dead easy, what Lord Sumption said reminds us that the practice of law requires not just knowledge of the rules in the statue book and in cases – that is the easy part, but more importantly an understanding of the history, culture, values and sensibilities of society that the law serves. That understanding comes from acquiring a broad knowledge of the world and of humanity, and from the sharing of ideas in a liberal environment with a diverse body of contemporaries. 
     So far, I have focused on how you could prepare for a successful legal career and an intellectually fulfilling life. I now wish to say a few words to those of you who are not sure that you want to practice law, or whether you even wish to be here in the first place. I had 20 academic advisees last year. Among them was one who told me that he was studying law only because both his parents wanted it. I have heard similar stories in medical student circles. For these students, I would urge you to look at the next four years as an investment in a richer life ahead. An undergraduate law degree is a rigorous intellectual grounding in legal reasoning, logical analysis and dialectical debates within a historical, cultural, literary and political context that are relevant to the world you live in today. These are excellent tools for almost any other discipline or profession that you may wish to take up later in life. History is full of stories of successful men and women who first trained in law and subsequently excelled in other fields. More than half of the presidents of the United States for instance were trained as lawyers. Your law studies here could well be a prelude to more exciting things to come. Use the time here to open you mind to the ideas and opportunities that a liberal university environment has to offer. You will not be disappointed. 
     With that, let me draw this to a close by wishing you all an enriching experience at HKU.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

HKU Law Awarded Four KE Impact Project Awards 2018/19

The University of Hong Kong's Knowledge Exchange (KE) Funding Scheme for Impact Projects supports projects that have the potential to create social, economic, environmental or cultural impacts for industry, business or the community by building on expertise or knowledge in the University and projects designed to collect evidence for corroboration and evaluation of impacts. Engagement projects that aim to benefit non-academic communities beyond Hong Kong are strongly encouraged. 
    The Faculty of Law was successful in obtaining four awards in the 2018/19 round of funding, each in the amount of or less than HK$100,000. Congratulations to Kelley Loper, who obtained three awards, and Lindsay Ernst. The details of their projects are described below:

Ms Kelley Loper
"Evaluation of the Impact of Research on the rights of LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer) people in Hong Kong"
The proposed project aims to evaluate and strengthen the impact of research on the rights of LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer) people in Hong Kong produced by members of the Faculty of Law, including scholars affiliated with CCPL. It will identify the impact on relevant policy and law reform debates, strategic litigation in Hong Kong, including advocacy by civil society, and also explore ways to enhance ongoing impact by collecting feedback from and identifying resource gaps with various stakeholders.

Ms Kelley Loper
"Development of the Disability Rights Resource Network (DRRN) Website"
The proposed project aims to strengthen dissemination of research output and legal and advocacy resources relating to disability rights, especially the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), to the wider community in general and disability rights advocates in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in particular. It will translate existing materials on the current Disability Rights Resource Network (DRRN) website from English to simplified and traditional Chinese and incorporate new materials based on a survey of the needs of advocates in these three jurisdictions.

Ms Kelley Loper
"Human Rights Hub Website"
The Human Rights Hub website project will identify, compile, and disseminate information on human rights related research, knowledge exchange, and teaching and learning, including human rights experiential learning, in the Faculty of Law, eventually also incorporating work by scholars from other disciplines at the University of Hong Kong. It aims to highlight the Faculty’s and University’s significant strengths in the human rights field, make this work more accessible to non-academic communities, and thus encourage collaboration and enhance local, regional and global impact.

Ms Lindsay Ernst
"Establishment of Migrant Worker Education Platform"
Utilizing the vast knowledge and resources of HKU’s faculty and students, this cross-disciplinary KE project will collaborate with our partners to establish a migrant worker education platform and provide courses (and possibly even certifications) for migrant workers covering topics relating to law, finance, business, technology, communication, health and safety, and other important areas. The impact will directly benefit the general public as migrant workers support many of HK’s families, and having a more professional migrant worker population could have general benefits to nearly everyone in society.

Congratulations to Ho Lok Hei (LLB 2017, PCLL 2018) on His Winning Law Reform Essay

Congratulations to our former student Mr. Ho Lok Hei (LLB 2017, PCLL 2018) who was one of five finalists in the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong's Law Reform Essay Competition 2018.  This year's essay topic asked whether ride-hailing services should be regulated in Hong Kong and, if so, how.  Lok Hei argued that ride-hailing services should be allowed in Hong Kong but regulated to ensure safety to passengers and fair competition with those working in the existing taxi industry.  His paper can be viewed here.
    At an award ceremony officiated by the Secretary for Justice on 26 July 2018, Lok Hei's essay was recognised along four other finalists who were law students from the City University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Kelley Loper Presents Keynote Speech at Two-Day Rohingya Refugees Conference at Dhaka University

"Int'l human rights law the only reasonable framework"
2 September 2018
The implementation of international human rights law is the only reasonable framework on the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of Rohingya refugees in line with international standards, said speakers at an international conference on Rohingya crisis yesterday.
     The criminology department of Dhaka University organised the two-day conference titled “Rohingya: Politics, Ethnic Cleansing and Uncertainty” at the Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Building of the university.
     Assistant professor of Hong Kong University Kelley Loper presented the keynote titled "The Rohingya, the search for solution and the potential of international human rights law" at the conference.
     “In light of the recent persecution on Rohingya people, the persistence of serious human rights violation and protracted displacement of them, several scholars have criticised the human rights movement for failing to play an active role during the time,” said Kelley in her keynote.
     Only the international human rights law provides a pragmatic, practical and principled framework for anchoring and informing more effective and realistic responses to such human rights violation, she said.
     The professor said the process of implementing the law is long and drawn out, involves complex interactions among a range of actors at the international, regional and domestic levels.
     “But human rights law nevertheless provides and indispensable roadmap that may, hopefully, eventually persuade and deliver real change, and overdue justice,” she added... Click here to read the full news report.  For other press coverage of this event, see, New AgeDhaka Tribune, and

HKU Law Welcomes Four New Colleagues in Diverse Areas

Dr Giuliano G Castellano is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, a Fellow of the Asian Institute of International Financial Law (AIIFL), and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 
     Giuliano holds a law degree from Bocconi University (Milan, Italy), a PhD in Economics and Social Sciences (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris), and a PhD in Law (Inter-University Centre for Law, Economics and Institutions, University of Turin).  Before joining HKU, he was based at the University of Warwick, School of Law, where he joined as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor. At Warwick he was also a faculty member of the Central Banking and Financial Regulation Qualification Programme, a postgraduate programme delivered by the Warwick Business School to the Bank of England. Prior to that, he was an LSE Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Law Department (Law and Financial Markets Project), where he taught and researched in the field of financial regulation. 
      Giuliano’s research interests lie in the fields of financial regulation, international financial law, law & finance, and regulatory theory. His work has been published in the Modern Law Review, Law & Contemporary Problems and Fordham International Law Journal. He recently led a three-year research project, supported by the British Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and intended to maximise the impact of his research regarding access to finance. His research has been leading him to collaborate with international organisations, development agencies, and national governments. Since 2010, he has been serving as a Legal Expert for the Italian delegation at the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), Working Group VI (security interests). In this capacity he contributed to the drafting of several international soft-law instruments designed to promote secured credit, including the UNCITRAL Model Law on Secured Transactions, adopted by the UN in 2016. In addition, he is currently involved in legal and regulatory reform projects in a number of jurisdictions, with the intent to foster financial inclusion, access to credit, and financial stability.

     Dr Jedidiah Joseph Kroncke is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law and Deputy Director of the JD programme.  He currently teaches property, equity and trusts, as well as courses in common law reasoning for civil law students.
     Previously, he was a professor at FGV Sao Paulo School of Law and the Senior Fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. Dr Kroncke garnered a range of awards and fellowships as he earned a BA in Asian Studies and Legal Studies from the University of California Berkeley, a JD from Yale Law School, and a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology also from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduate school, he was awarded the Oscar M Ruebhausen Fellowship at Yale Law School, the Samuel I Golieb Fellowship in Legal History at NYU Law and the Berger-Howe Fellowship in Legal History at Harvard Law School. He has been a visitor at the International University College of Turin and the National University of Singapore. 
     Dr Kroncke’s research centres on international legal history and the study of alternative labour and property institutions. His interdisciplinary work draws on the US, Chinese and Brazilian legal experiences, and is devoted to the productive indigenization of comparative legal analysis. He routinely presents his work at leading law schools across the globe, and is a reviewer for several leading international journals as well as the university presses of Oxford and Cambridge.
    His book, The Futility of Law and Development: China and the Dangers of Exporting American Law (Oxford University Press), explores the role of U.S.-China relations in the formation of modern American legal internationalism and the decline of American legal comparativism. Previous publications have addressed law and development, authoritarian law, comparative constitutionalism, and the link between domestic legal innovation and comparative law. He is currently completing a book on the transnational history of the American model of legal education, as well as projects on the evolution of international law and cross-cultural knowledge. He is the first Associate Editor on comparative and non-Western history for the Law & History Review.
     His projects in labour and property include work on cooperative landholding, the role of labor and employment law in development, employee owned corporations, comparative union democracy, and the relationship of property and labor rights in democratization. New projects include republican conceptions of the corporation, versions of economic democracy in debates over universal basic income and job guarantee programs, and the implications of automation for the future acquisition of productive property. He is an active member of the Association for the Promotion of Political Economy and Law, as well introductory associate editor for the Journal of Law and Political Economy.

Jacky CK Yeung joined the Faculty of Law as a full-time Lecturer in July 2018 and will be teaching Evidence and Criminal Procedure in the upcoming academic year. He obtained his BCom (Accounting) degree at Macquarie University and completed our JD, PCLL and LLM (Arbitration & Dispute Resolution) programmes.
     His teaching career began with the appointment as the Teaching Assistant in Accounting and Law in 2012 by the HKU School of Business (currently the HKU Faculty of Business and Economics). After being called to the Bar in 2016, he continued to teach in various tertiary institutions as part-time Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, Instructor and Lecturer until taking up the current appointment.
     Apart from Evidence and Criminal Procedure, Jacky is also developing his research interests in Legal Education, Education Law and Transportation Law. He is exploring opportunities to further participate in scholarly activities related to these areas.

     Dr David Kwok is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law and a member of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies of the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford. His research interests are anthropology of law, comparative environmental law and private law. He is interested in exploring issues relating to legal consciousness, legal culture and legal pluralism in the context of clashing and conflicting legal, social and religious constructs, ideals and practices. He has published in the areas of comparative law, dispute resolution and historical practices of law.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

New Book: Constitutional Courts in Asia: A Comparative Perspective (Albert Chen and Andrew Harding)

Constitutional Courts in Asia: A Comparative Perspective
Edited by Albert Chen and Andrew Harding
Cambridge University Press
September 2018, 365 pp.
Description: The founding of a constitutional court is often an indication of a chosen path of constitutionalism and democracy. It is no coincidence that most of the constitutional courts in East and Southeast Asia were established at the same time as the transition of the countries concerned from authoritarianism to liberal constitutional democracy. This book is the first to provide systematic narratives and analysis of Asian experiences of constitutional courts and related developments, and to introduce comparative, historical and theoretical perspectives on these experiences, as well as debates on the relevant issues in countries that do not as yet have constitutional courts. This volume makes a significant contribution to the systematic and comparative study of constitutional courts, constitutional adjudication and constitutional developments in East and Southeast Asia and beyond.
  • Provides systematic narratives and analysis of Asian experiences of constitutional courts and related developments
  • Introduces a comparative, historical and analytical perspective that shows the international significance of the development of constitutional and legal institutions and their improvement over time
  • Discusses the importance of constitutional adjudication in Asia
Reviews and Endorsement:
'We live in an age of constitutional courts. Yet courts around the world differ markedly in their approach to upholding democracy and human rights. This volume provides a timely and fascinating study of how these differences play out in Asia: from the super-strong judicial review practiced in Thailand, to the weak review found in Japan, it explores the social and political context for these differences, and the extent to which they are likely to remain stable over time. Theoretically and factually rich, it draws on insights from scholars around the world who are experts in Asia. It also combines canonical and new cases to provide a wide-ranging exploration of the variation we now find in 'Asian constitutionalism'.' Rosalind Dixon, University of New South Wales, Australia
'This is an excellent book that discusses the design and operation of constitutional review in East and Southeast Asia. It aptly combines a systematic presentation of the seven constitutional courts existing in the region with theoretical and comparative analysis of the problem. Undoubtedly, the book will serve as an essential reference for academic research as well as for debates on constitutional reform in other countries.' Lech Garlicki, University of Warsaw, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Poland (1993–2001) and of the European Court of Human Rights (2002–12)
'For comparative legal scholars and social scientists, this is a rare and precious book: a conceptually sophisticated and empirically rich collection of case studies and comparative reflections on constitutional courts in Asia. The volume directs attention to the variation that matters most - why have some constitutional courts succeeded in transforming their political environments, creating new forms of constitutional law and politics, while others have failed? Everyone engaged in the study of Asian law and politics needs to read this book.' Alec Stone Sweet, Saw Swee Hock Professor of Law, National University of Singapore

Albert Chen on Constitutional Courts in Asia: Western Origins and Asian Practice (new book chapter)

"Constitutional courts in Asia: Western origins and Asian practice"
Albert Chen
in Albert Chen & Andrew Harding (eds), Constitutional Courts in Asia: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, September 2018), pp. 1-31
Introduction: Whereas law and courts, and to some extent, ideas of the rule of law, have existed in human history for millennia, written constitutions of states only have a history of approximately two centuries, and the earliest constitutional courts were established less than one century ago. The concept and institution of a constitutional court are, thus, relatively new inventions in the legal history of humankind. Yet, in the early twenty-first century, constitutional courts exist and operate in all corners of the world. They are a global phenomenon that deserves scholarly investigation from legal doctrinal, theoretical and comparative perspectives.
     In this chapter, we will first trace the origins and evolution of constitutional courts in the Western world and examine the transplantation of this legal or judicial institution to other continents and cultures (Section I of this chapter). The nature, functions and operation of constitutional courts will then be discussed (Section II). Next, we will focus on constitutional courts in East Asia and consider the history, experience and performance of the seven constitutional courts in this part of the world (Section III). Comparative observations on various features of these courts will be made (Section IV). Finally (Section V), we conclude by reflecting on the lessons and implications of the existence and operation of Asian constitutional courts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Rebecca Lee on The Evolution of the Modern International Trust: Developments and Challenges (Iowa Law Review)

"The Evolution of the Modern International Trust: Developments and Challenges"
Rebecca Lee
Iowa Law Review
July 2018, Vol. 103, Issue 5, pp. 2069-2095
Abstract: As the first generation of wealthy entrepreneurs in Hong Kong begin to age, the issue of how best to transfer their family fortunes to the next generation has emerged. This Article first discusses the recent trends in financial planning for high-net-worth individuals in Hong Kong. It then addresses the growing use and evolution of trusts in wealth transfers from two perspectives, namely, (i) the innovative features of the modern international trust that render the use of a trust more palatable to Hong Kong settlors and (ii) the challenges posed by those features for both the validity of the trust and integrity of the trust concept. As the discussions show, the Hong Kong experience is indeed shared by most trust jurisdictions worldwide and provides the latter useful reference in confronting the controversies arising from the evolution of the trust.