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

    Cora Chan on "Can Hong Kong Remain a Liberal Enclave within China? Analysis of the Hong Kong National Security Law" (Public Law)

    "Can Hong Kong remain a liberal enclave within China? Analysis of the Hong Kong National Security Law"
    Cora Chan
    Public Law
    Published in April 2021, pp. 271-292
    Abstract: In 2020, the Chinese government enacted a national security law (NSL) for Hong Kong that has raised doubts over the extent to which Hong Kong can retain its liberal status. The guarantee of that status is a core part of the "one country, two systems" policy stipulated in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and elaborated upon in Hong Kong's post-handover constitutional document, the Basic Law. This article examines the key provisions of the NSL, assesses its likely impact on the institutional and legal frameworks protecting Hong Kong's autonomy and freedoms, and explores what principles the Hong Kong courts—which are common law courts that follow the liberal rule of law tradition—should adopt in adjudicating the NSL, which is a product of China's socialist legal system. It argues that although the NSL undoubtedly weakens the ability of the Basic Law to function as a legal framework for protecting rights and the ability of Hong Kong institutions to check rights encroachments, if the courts properly construe the law, a natural consequence will be that its constricting effects on Hong Kong's autonomy and freedoms can be moderated. Whether Hong Kong's liberal constitutionalist character can be maintained in the NSL era therefore depends, inter alia, on how ready its courts are to apply the legal principles mandated by their constitutional role and how Beijing responds.

    Monday, March 29, 2021

    Emily Lee on Digital Financial Inclusion: Observations and Insights from Hong Kong's Virtual Banks (Law and Contemporary Problems)

    Emily Lee
    Law and Contemporary Problems
    2021, Issue 84, pp. 
    Abstract: This Article examines issues affecting virtual banks, specifically those issues related to the financial technology (fintech) disruption and dealing with alternative banking and finance. It covers an expansive interpretation of Hong Kong regulatory law regarding the requirements for the authorization of virtual banks, with an accompanying study and critique of the financial industry’s collection and storage of digital data in relation to privacy, drawing inspiration from international norms. It then discusses those regulations in terms of their effect on digital financial inclusion. Finally, it evaluates some potential challenges facing fintech lenders, virtual banks included, in a regulatory environment that promotes digital financial inclusion while seeking to manage financial consumerism. This Article adds to the literatures of banking, finance, information technology management, and consumer protection law enforcement by analyzing the latest digital financial inclusion developments in Hong Kong, following the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s (HKMA) issuing of virtual bank licenses in 2019 in an effort to promote financial inclusion and fintech innovation.
         This Article focuses on the connection between financial inclusion and digital financial inclusion as it assesses the role of virtual banks in Hong Kong’s financial inclusion agenda because this connection may be key to virtual banks’ success. This Article undertakes the original contribution of examining why Hong Kong’s inflexible capital requirement, unclear demands on digital banking innovation, and outdated laws against technical risks may render its financial inclusion policy less effective.

    Sunday, March 28, 2021

    Richard Cullen on Hong Kong's New Political Realities After 2019 Watershed Year (China Daily)

    China Daily
    Published on 10 March 2021
    Intense disputation within the LegCo in May 2019, which involved open physical intimidation by Opposition members, played a significant role in laying the foundations, through the example, for the coming mass public protests — and violent civil upheaval — initially directed against the HKSAR Government’s proposed new Extradition Bill.
         This was, in fact, a needed bill justified by imperatives. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of the leading G7 group of countries had urged Hong Kong, in 2008, to reform its visibly inadequate extradition regime. According to Reuters, the FATF confirmed, in September 2019, that the lack of expected extradition provisions was an obstacle to tackling money laundering and terrorism. By then, however, the SAR government had withdrawn the bill following very large protest marches in June. The purpose of the bill had spuriously but very effectively been recast by the Opposition, with extensive media support, as a mass threat to personal freedoms in the HKSAR.
         It was in June 2019 that Hong Kong’s multi-month insurgency began, spinning off from the mass marches, to become an exceedingly violent anti-government, anti-China movement. It is now clear that it was robustly financed (from offshore and onshore), thoroughly planned and highly organized.
         The audacious physical aggression within LegCo in May had not stopped consideration of the Extradition Bill. The fierce protest-riot on June 12 ultimately did so, however, by shutting down the operation of LegCo completely. A fateful blow to Hong Kong’s basic constitutional order was struck. Now an enduring insurrection was underway, one which would include a perverse attempt to fire-bomb us all onto the road of everlasting democratic bliss.
          That the need for this radical restructuring (both the Election Committee and LegCo) is deeply felt in Beijing is scarcely surprising. These reforms are not, however, rash or reckless. They also convincingly signal enduring support for the distinctive role of the HKSAR within China... Click here to read the full text. 

    Friday, March 26, 2021

    Simon Young on Constitutional Review of Hong Kong's National Security Law (LAWFARE)

    Published on 4 March 2021
    Since its establishment in 1997, Hong Kong’s apex court, the Court of Final Appeal, has demonstrated a strong approach to constitutional review in human rights cases. It has struck down laws and executive acts found to be in violation of protected fundamental rights and freedoms. But in the wake of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, is that changing?
         In HKSAR v. Lai Chee Ying (2021) HKCFA 3, the court ruled it had no jurisdiction to constitutionally review the controversial National Security Law (NSL), which created new national security offenses in Hong Kong punishable by up to life imprisonment, a high-level security committee, new law enforcement bodies, and new police powers including surveillance powers without judicial authorization. The court’s decision meant it could not consider whether any NSL provision was incompatible with Hong Kong’s constitution, known as the Basic Law, or the Hong Kong Bill of Rights (HKBOR), which implements the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and has constitutional status.
         The court could have taken several different approaches to the constitutional review of the NSL. It chose an option that, on its face, appeared conservative and weak. But in the current political environment, the court’s approach was a wise strategic decision: It preserved the court’s judicial independence, enabled the continued protection of fundamental rights by common law principles and fended off the risk of executive backlash... Click here to read the full text. 

    Thursday, March 25, 2021

    New Book co-edited by Haochen Sun: The Cambridge Handbook of Copyright Limitations and Exceptions (CUP)

    The Cambridge Handbook of Copyright Limitations and Exceptions
    Edited by Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Ng-Loy Wee Loon and Haochen Sun
    Cambridge University Press
    Published in January 2021, 420 pp.                                
    Book Description:  While copyright law is ordinarily thought to consist primarily of exclusive rights, the regime's various exemptions and immunities from liability for copyright infringement form an integral part of its functioning, and serve to balance copyright's grant of a private benefit to authors/creators with the broader public interest. With contributors from all over the world, this handbook offers a systematic, thorough study of copyright limitations and exceptions adopted in major jurisdictions, including the United States, the European Union, and China. In addition to providing justifications for these limitations, the chapters compare differences and similarities that exist in major jurisdictions and offer suggestions about how to improve the enforcement of copyright limitations domestically and globally. This work should appeal to scholars, policymakers, attorneys, teachers, judges, and students with an interest in the theories, policies, and doctrines of copyright law.
        HKU Law colleagues contribute to Chapters 14 ("Creating a Public Interest Principle for the Adjudiciation of Fair Use and Fair Dealing Cases" by Haochen Cun) and 19 ("From Fair Dealing to User-Generated Content: Legal La La Land in Hong Kong" by Alice Lee and Brendan Clift).

    Tuesday, March 23, 2021

    AIIFL Newsletter (February 2021)


    I am pleased to introduce our second issue of AIIFL News. Best wishes from all of us at the Asian Institute of International Financial Law for a happy, healthy and prosperous the Year of the Ox! 

    Douglas Arner AIIFL Director | Email


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

    In this episode of Looking Back Looking Forward - the first of 2021 and the first of our second series - looking forward, Professor Douglas Arner talks about the key themes for FinTech, RegTech and digital finance in 2021. 

    Looking back, Professor Arner highlights how 2020 marked the key trends for digital finance over the next decade: technology, sustainability, and an ongoing tension between globalisation and fragmentation. Looking at these in 2021, the focus will be on Digital Finance Platforms such as Ant, on normalisation of cryptocurrencies and digital assets, on building better infrastructure including RegTech/SupTech and central bank digital currencies, and on the role of data and cybersecurity.

    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. Watch the video now.

    Master of Law in Compliance and Regulation 

    The Master of Laws in Compliance and Regulation programme was established to respond to needs arising not only in the business sector but in society more broadly. 

    Our students are drawn both locally and from abroad - many with experience in the financial industry, such as securities, banking, asset management, IT, etc. The mix of our students' working backgrounds provide an interdisciplinary platform to transfer knowledge from both the private and public sectors in Hong Kong. of funding for the fellowships scheme, providing HK$1.2 million directly to successful Hong Kong students taking the programme. Info video | Start your application 

    New LITE Lab@HKU Courses: LITE Internships and LITE Lab: LawTech & RegTech Sandbox 

    Law, Innovation, Technology, Entrepreneurship Lab, or LITE Lab@HKU, is a new interdisciplinary and experiential programme based at HKU and co-hosted by AIIFL and the Law & Technology Centre to support the Hong Kong legal innovation and LawTech ecosystem. LITE Lab@HKU’s team is led by Brian Tang (Founding Executive Director) and Stephanie Biedermann (Lecturer). Since its inception, in 2019, LITE Lab@HKU has attracted more than 70 tech companies, startups, social entrepreneurs, and NGOs to apply to work with the more than 40 students enrolled in the LITE Lab@HKU internship and co-designed student research courses. 

    We are very excited to announce that for the semester starting in January 2021, LITE Lab@HKU has launched three new courses, namely two internship courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students, and a new experiential and interdisciplinary undergraduate course (LawTech & RegTech Sandbox) focused on LawTech and RegTech. 

    If you have any questions or would like to discuss collaborations, please contact Brian Tang: Email.


    Selected articles, books and reports from the AIIFL team 

    New Frontiers in Asia-Pacific International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution | Edited by Luke Nottage, Shahla Ali, Bruno Jetin, Nobumichi Teramura 

    How Much Is a Leg Worth in Hong Kong? Proposal for Reforming Personal InjuryCompensation | Felix Chan, WS Chan, JSH Li 

    Dispute Resolution in China: Litigation, Arbitration, Mediation and their Interactions| Weixia Gu

    The Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MICA) and the EU Digital Finance Strategy | Dirk A. Zetzsche, Filippo Annunziata, Douglas W. Arner, Ross P. Buckley

    Sovereign Digital Currencies: The Future of Money and Payments? | Dirk A. Zetzsche, Ross P. Buckley, Douglas W. Arner, Anton N. Didenko, Lucien van Romburg 

    Bankruptcy Law in China 

    Archbold Hong Kong 2021 | General Editor Simon Young 

    Chinese Antitrust Exceptionalism (forthcoming in March 2021) | Angela Zhang 


    Hong Kong TVB’s Money Matters 

    TV show host Melissa Gecolea interviews AIIFL Director and Kerry Holdings Professor in Law Douglas Arner in a Cryptocurrencies series exploring what’s new in the crypto world. Watch it here.

     Podcast: Fintech, payments, and CBDC in China 

    Bhavin Patel, Head of Fintech at OMFIF, the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, speaks with Douglas Arner, Kerry Holdings Professor in Law and Director of Asian Institute of International Financial Law at the University of Hong Kong, and Charles Chang, Deputy Dean of Academics, Professor of Finance and Director of the Fintech Research Centre at Fudan University’s Fanhai International School of Finance. 

    In this two-part series, they discussed the Chinese FinTech space, focussing on payments, regulations and the Chinese central bank digital currency project. 

    Part 1 | Part 2

    Central Bank Digital Currencies 

    Henri Arslanian and Douglas Arner on CBDCs at Digital Davos 2021: Video 


    Hong Kong Insolvency and Restructuring Law and Policy in Times of COVID-19 and Beyond 

    AIIFL’s Kelvin Kwok and colleagues received funding from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Collaborative Research Fund (CRF) of HK$3.11 million for a new project on Hong Kong Insolvency and Restructuring Law and Policy in Times of COVID-19 andBeyond. The project collects data on the impact of the pandemic on businesses in Hong Kong and considers whether reforms to Hong Kong's laws of insolvency and business restructuring are needed. It is led by Wai Yee Wan of City University of Hong Kong School of Law and includes Co-Principal Investigators from HKU Law (Alwin Chan and Kelvin Kwok, AIIFL Deputy Director) and other collaborators from Oxford University and Leeds University. 

    An Empirical Study of Money Laundering Offending in Hong Kong 

    Simon Young and his team are building a database of all the money laundering judgments in Hong Kong with the aim of identifying laundering typologies and to think more deeply about possible reforms of the existing law. Funded by the Hong KongResearch Grants Council General Research Fund. 

    Process Review Panel for the Hong Kong Estate Agent Authority 

    Wilson Chow was appointed a Member of the Hong Kong Estate Agent Authority in November 2020.

     UNIDROIT Working Group on a Model Law on Factoring 

    Giuliano Castellano (AIIFL Deputy Director) was appointed by the International Institutefor the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) to serve as international legal expert in the Factoring Model Law Working Group. UNIDROIT is an independent intergovernmental Organisation, based in Rome; its purpose is to promote the modernisation and the harmonisation of private law and, in particular, commercial law. Among the current projects, UNIDROIT has been tasked to develop a Model Law on Factoring. 


    Digitizing Green Bonds in Hong Kong (4 February 2021) 

    AIIFL and the Blockchain and WealthTech Committees of the ciaFintech Assotion of Hong Kong organized a webinar with global participants to discuss the prospects for digitizing green bonds in Hong Kong. 

    Asia WealthTech Forum (21 January 2021) 

    AIIFL co-hosted the Asia WealthTech Forum along with Virtual FinTech Fair and the Associations of Family Offices in Asia. 

    American Society of International Law, Asia-Pacific Section: Weixia Gu coorganized four Webinars with American Society of International Law: 

    - The Potential Impacts of RCEP on the Asian-Pacific Region 

    - Outstanding Issues of ISDS Reform: Perspectives from Asia-Pacific Stakeholders 

    - National Security in International Law: An Asia-Pacific Perspective 

    - International Law in the Asia-Pacific during the COVID-19 Pandemic Details are available here.

     Digital Assets Project: Workshop (8 January 2021) 

    Giuliano Castellano joined the Digital Assets Project, led by Professor Louise Gullifer (Cambridge) and Professor Jennifer Payne (Oxford) with the support of Fusang Vault Ltd. During the meeting held in January, members of the project updated on their recent activities. Dr Castellano offered an overview of the World Bank’s Note on RegulatoryImplications of Integrating Digital Assets and Distributed Ledgers in Credit Ecosystems(2020)

    UNIDROIT Model Law on Factoring (14-16 December 2020) 

    In December 2020, UNIDROIT held the second meeting on the preparation of a ModelFactoring Law. Giuliano Castellano shared his analysis and research on the regulatory regimes affecting factoring activities. 

    World Bank and NatLaw Forum on Receivables Finance (8 December 2020) 

    Giuliano Castellano presented at a plenary session of the Second Forum “Toward Coordinated Implementation of International Standards on Receivables Finance”. His presentation focused on the role of regulatory reforms to promote receivable finance and supply chain finance in the context of sustainable development and access to credit. Further information on the effort to coordinate secured lending reforms with financial regulation policies, see IFC Coordinating Prudential Regulation and SecuredTransactions Frameworks: A Primer (2020) 

    The Innovating Justice Forum Recognition of LITE Lab@HKU 

    LITE Lab@HKU has been invited to exhibit in the prestigious 2021 annual InnovatingJustice Forum organised by the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law whose theme is "Making People Centered Justice Work". The exhibition will showcase LITE Lab@HKU work, where students are engaged in impactful projects to strengthen access to justice through technological advancements. NGOs interested in collaborating with LITE Lab@HKU on access to justice technology initiatives should feel free to contact Brian Tang, LITE Executive Director at 

    Sunday, March 21, 2021

    CMEL Newsletter (February 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 February 2021 Newsletter.

    Highlights of the February newsletter:
    1. Doctor and patient acquitted of charges arising from the gifting of a watch in Hong Kong
    2. Runaway COVID-19 patient sentenced to four months in jail in Hong Kong
    3. Controversy over proposed new pathway for non-locally trained doctors to practise in Hong Kong
    4. Online book talk with the editor and contributing authors
    5. Recent publication by CMEL member

    Calvin Ho et al on Immunity Certification for COVID-19: Ethical Considerations (Bulletin of the WHO)

    "Immunity certification for COVID-19: ethical considerations"
    By Teck Chuan Voo, Andreas A Reis, Beatriz Thomé, Calvin WL Ho, Clarence C Tam, Cassandra Kelly-Cirino, Ezekiel Emanuel, Juan P Beca, Katherine Littler, Maxwell J Smith, Michael Parker, Nancy Kass, Nina Gobat, Ruipeng Lei, Ross Upshur, Samia Hurst & Sody Munsaka
    Bulletin of the World Health Organization (2021) 99(2): 155–161.
    Abstract: Restrictive measures imposed because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have resulted in severe social, economic and health effects. Some countries have considered the use of immunity certification as a strategy to relax these measures for people who have recovered from the infection by issuing these individuals a document, commonly called an immunity passport. This document certifies them as having protective immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. The World Health Organization has advised against the implementation of immunity certification at present because of uncertainty about whether long-term immunity truly exists for those who have recovered from COVID-19 and concerns over the reliability of the proposed serological test method for determining immunity. Immunity certification can only be considered if scientific thresholds for assuring immunity are met, whether based on antibodies or other criteria. However, even if immunity certification became well supported by science, it has many ethical issues in terms of different restrictions on individual liberties and its implementation process. We examine the main considerations for the ethical acceptability of immunity certification to exempt individuals from restrictive measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as needing to meet robust scientific criteria, the ethical acceptability of immunity certification depends on its uses and policy objectives and the measures in place to reduce potential harms, and prevent disproportionate burdens on non-certified individuals and violation of individual liberties and rights.

    Thursday, March 18, 2021

    New Book by Albert Chen: The Changing Legal Orders In Hong Kong and Mainland China: Essays on "One Country, Two Systems" (CityU Press)

    The Changing Legal Orders In Hong Kong and Mainland China: Essays on "One Country, Two Systems"City University of Hong Kong Press
    Published in February 2021, 440 pp. 
    Book Description: This collection of selected works by Professor Albert H.Y. Chen shows the contours of the author’s scholarship as it developed over 35 years of his academic career, from 1984 to the present. The essays are divided into three sections which cover the three major domains of Professor Chen’s research. Part I covers the legal developments and controversies of “One Country, Two Systems” since the Hong Kong interpretation on “the right of abode” in 1999 to the anti-extradition movement of 2019. Part II shifts to focus on tradition and modernity in Chinese Law, including China’s Confucian and Legalist traditions and how the socialist legal system in China evolved and modernized in the era of “reform and opening”. Part III examines the transplantation of Western thinking and constitutionalism to East Asia in modern times and discusses the achievements and failures of these efforts. In conjunction with an introductory chapter that sets out the basic orientation and paradigm of these legal and constitutional studies and an epilogue that reflects on the main themes, this collection exemplifies the author’s important contributions to the field and provides insight into how the legal orders in Hong Kong and mainland China have changed over the course of Professor Chen’s academic career.  To view the event launching book held at HKU on 2 March 2021, click here.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2021

    CCL's Equality Rights Project and Chinese NGOs Submit Report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

    The Equality Rights Project (under the Centre for Chinese Law) and two other Chinese NGOs jointly submitted a parallel report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women ahead of the adoption of the list of issues for the ninth periodic report of China at its 80th Pre-Session (which will be held in this March). The report covers only Mainland China. It refer to the Ninth Periodic Report of the State Party (SP) and the CEDAW Committee’s Concluding Observation (CO). The List of Issues are ordered according to the articles in CEDAW, together with the two issues that are addressed in Concluding Observation of 2014. The report was published in February 2021. To view the report, click here.