Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Clement Chen & Anne Cheung on The Transparent Self under Big Data Profiling: Privacy and Chinese Legislation on the Social Credit System (Journal of Comparative Law)

"The Transparent Self under Big Data Profiling: Privacy and Chinese Legislation on the Social Credit System"
Yongxi Chen & Anne Cheung
The Journal of Comparative Law
published in Feb 2018
Volume 12, Issue 2, pp. 356-378
Introduction: Big data is one of the buzz phrases of the 21st century, concerning not only the digitalisation of data on billions of individuals, but also what those in power are able to do with that data.  The defining characteristic of big data is the capacity to search, aggregate and cross-reference large datasets for analysis to identify previously undetectable patterns, as well as the power to profile individuals, calculate risks, and monitor and even predict behaviour.  When big data is harvested by governments, the worry is that the totality of individuals' lives will be captured, that citizens will be monitored and that the Orwellian state will become a reality.
     In China, such a worry seems far from unfounded given the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) roll-out of its powerful Social Credit System (SCS).  Launched at the national level in 2014, the system's aim is to assess the trustworthiness of Chinese citizens in keeping their promises and complying with legal rules, moral norms, and professional and ethical standards.  It is essentially an all-encompassing, penetrative system of personal data processing, manifested by the comprehensive collection and expansive use of personal data with the explicit intention on the Chinese government's part of harnessing the ambition and power of big data technology.  The SCS rates both business entities and individuals.  According to its blueprint, the records that are collected can be extensively used by the authorities and business entities alike for a variety of purposes broadly related to 'encouraging trustworthiness and punishing untrustworthiness'.
     Whilst the use of big data analytics in the context of credit scoring and the rating of individuals is not unique to China, in other jurisdictions it is usually confined to the financial arena and regulated by law.  What differentiates China is the scale of the data collected, the scope of its use and, particularly important for the purposes of this article, the apparent lack of a comprehensive legal system to protect personal data.  Despite the introduction of the Cyber Security Law in 2016 in relation to online data, the extension of civil law protection to consumer data in 2013, and the criminalisation of the unlawful gathering, receipt and sale of personal data in 2009, personal data as a general subject has yet to be clearly defined and effectively protected under Chinese law.   The rights that data subjects are entitled to under a personal data protection regime are rarely mentioned in China and are, at best, provided for under scattered sector-specific laws.
     Given the inadequate protection afforded to personal data in China, the country is an ideal social laboratory for big data experimentation, data intelligence and mass surveillance.  Individuals risk being reduced to transparent selves before the state in this uneven battle.  They are uncertain about what contributes to their social credit scores, how those scores are combined with the state system and how their data is interpreted and used.  In short, the big data-driven SCS is confronting Chinese citizens with major challenges to their privacy and personal data.
     Although the State Council's Planning Outline for the Construction of the Social Credit System ('SCS Outline' hereafter) sketches out an ambitious blueprint, it is the pilot legislation implemented at the local level since 2014 that has institutionalised the collection and use of social credit-related data.  To analyse China's emerging SCS under existing international legal principles concerning personal data protection, this article identifies and compares typical examples of relevant legislation at the local level and discusses their implications for personal data protection.  It argues that existing legislation and proposed regulations require substantial revisions to mitigate the impact of the SCS on data privacy and other interests critical to individual citizens.
     The article begins by mapping out the background to the construction of China's big data social laboratory and the SCS.  The next section examines the system's social management aim and comprehensive sanction system, as well as its nature as a collaborate project between the authorities and the business sector.  The section which follows then summarises the legislative history and evolving concept of social credit and analyses the nature of individuals' rights to personal data protection under China's uncoordinated legal framework.  The article then reviews local social credit legislation with reference to the three cardinal principles of personal data protection most closely related to data subjects' control over the processing of their data: firstly, the data collection principle,;secondly, the data usage principle, and thirdly, data subjects' right to access and correct their own data.  The final section concludes that although local legislation provides nominal rights of access to, and a few restrictions on, the collection and use of data, it has largely failed to secure meaningful control over personal data for individuals.  These legislative defects relate to the very purpose of the SCS and to extra-legal restrictions inherited from the pre-reform party-state regime.

Clement Chen on Taming the Right to Information and the Public Interest Test under China's FOI-like Law (Journal of Comparative Law)

"Taming the Right to Information: Motive Screening and the Public Interest Test under China's FOI-like Law"
Yongxi Chen
The Journal of Comparative Law
published in Feb 2018
Volume 12, Issue 2, pp. 203-215
Introduction: Promoting government accountability to the public is a core value common to freedom of information (FOI) laws around the world.  FOI law is primarily understood as an empowering tool for the civil society, for it enables citizens to take over the initiative in making government information available, in particular information necessary for the public to judge government performance, participate in public policy-making, and call administrative agencies to account for violations of law, corruption or maladministration.  That value is often echoed by Chinese officials who push through transparency reforms, and emphasized by jurists who hail the introduction of the Regulations on Open Government Information (ROGI) 2007 as a landmark improvement of the government-citizen relation or a major advance in 'democratic politics' in China.  Persistent denials of access to information concerning abuse of power and policy-making affecting crucial public interests, however, casts serious doubt on the adherence to this value in the ROGI's implementation.
     It is usually through two principles that a FOI law entrench the public accountability value.  The first is the 'requester-blind' principle which grants all members of the public a universal right to information irrespective of their identities and motives in accessing the information.  It ensures that all requesters are treated equally without any bias against those whose motives may not be favoured by officials.  It is a corollary of the essence of FOI law, i.e. government information should be disclosed by default, and should not be withheld unless it falls within the limited and statutorily prescribed regime of exceptions.  The second principle is that of subjecting exceptions to the public interest test.  This intends to ensure reducing the areas of secrecy to minimum and releasing information whose disclosure serves the public interest, including in particular accountability enhancement, that overrides the secrecy interests protected under the exemptions.  Although the ROGI is compatible with these two fundamental principles, its wording creates ambiguities which have been employed by government agencies to the detriment of this legislation's function in making the government accountable to the public.  The General Office of the State Council (Guowuyuan Bangongting, 'SC General Office' here after) issued interpretations of the ROGI to introduce a test of the requesters' needs, which actually screens the motives for access.  Agencies also tend to ignore the public interest associated with disclosure and shirk the balancing test.
     Being the sole external review body that enforces the right to information, the Chinese courts have a pivotal role to play in scrutinizing government decisions concerning these two principles.  Effective judicial scrutiny is important for the full functioning of the ROGI and and successful outcomes of the transparency reform.  The public interest test pertaining to information disclosure best illustrates the courts' view on what the values of transparency are in a society and a polity, and how important such values are when compared to the secrecy interests in a given circumstance.
     This article investigates the extent to which the public accountability value has been fostered by the ROGI by illustrating and assessing the judicial approaches to the motives of access and to the public interest test.  The section which follows criticises the problematic judicial responses to the SC General Office's interpretations, and identifies the discriminative treatment of three major sets of motive in access to information. The subsequent section summarizes Chinese judges' unique understandings of the public interest test in the FOI context, and examines the major categories of public interest that the courts have identified under two exemptions respectively.  The final section generalizes from its finding of the convergent results of both tests that there is a prevailing judicial policy to uphold 'defensive transparency' which is attached to the requester's own rights of the person and property ('personal or property right' hereafter), but to refrain from supporting 'civic transparency' - that is, the transparency to be unconditionally enjoyed by every citizen in respect of public scrutiny of government performance.  The Chinese courts have largely failed to yield their review power to uphold the pro-accountability value embodied in the ROGI, but have cooperated with administrative agencies in taming an otherwise politically significant right to information into a mediocre instrument for private interest assertion.
     In basing the investigation on representative cases, this article continues to use the methodology developed by the author in previous studies of the right to information in China.  Cases are collected from three sources that complement each other.  The first source is case collections published by the Supreme People's Court ('Supreme Court' hereafter) or compiled under its supervision.  The cases reported in these collections, called 'referential cases', are widely considered by the Chinese legal community to reflect to varying extends the intentions of the Supreme Court and its departments in guiding local courts on the adjudication in a particular field of law.  The second source is mainstream legal databases, including China Judgment Online, the official portal designated by the Supreme Court to publish the judgments rendered by courts at all levels, and ChinaLawInfo, the country's most comprehensive commercial databank.  In consideration of the overrepresentation of certain regions in the databases and the post-2013 spiralling of number of judgments on open government information (OGI) litigation, the scope of search is restricted to the judgments of the second instance in eight provincial units.  The selected units are dispersed across the country with different levels of industrialization.  Appeal judgements often involve more detailed examination of important legal issues than judgments of the first instance, and are more suggestive of mainstream judicial approaches.  The third source is news reports in fifty-nine Chinese media outlets which enjoy either great popularity or an appreciation of their professional quality, plus the 'Transparent China Online', a portal dedicated to news on OGI.  It should be pointed out that OGI cases reported by the media ('media-reported cases' hereafter) are more representative than reports of adjudicative practice in two senses.  First, they encompass cases whose judgements are withheld from online publication by the courts for various discretionary  reasons, including for instance the political sensitivity or inconvenience of the case.  Second, they are more evenly distributed geographically than those retrieved from the databases and Supreme Court-managed collections.  Searches within the three sources have yielded 289 cases which were adjudicated before the end of 2015 and which concern the issues discussed in this study.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Asia’s First Interdisciplinary FinTech Professional Certificate Program @ HKU

HKU presents Asia’s first interdisciplinary Professional Certificate Program in FinTech on edX platform starting on  15 May 2018. 
     FinTech – short for Financial Technology – is transforming the world of finance, especially in Asia at a rate never seen before. It is essential that professionals working in finance, technology, regulation or FinTech and students studying related subjects are equipped with in-demand FinTech knowledge and skills in today’s world of finance. 
     The FinTech Certificate Program compiles a series of three courses providing students with the tools to understand the interaction of finance and technology across the financial system as well as insight into the major technologies involved and the emerging business models and players in the industry. The first course Introduction to FinTech commences on May 15 and will be followed by two courses, FinTech Ethics and Risks and Blockchain and FinTech: Basics, Applications and Limitations, which will open over the coming year. 
     Each course brings together leading experts in FinTech from a range of backgrounds, including professors, market professionals and entrepreneurs. Designed by leading academics from a range of disciplines with input from industry leaders including among others SuperCharger, the Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, PwC, the Asia Capital Markets Institute, the Standard Chartered Bank, Thompson Reuters, and other partners in financial services, FinTech startups and Techfins sectors. In each course, you will gain greater understanding of the key trends in finance, technology and regulation, to better prepare for not only the opportunities but also the risks and challenges, including to traditional financial institutions and business models and those working in them.
  • Introduction to FinTech (6 Week Course offered by HKU Faculty of Law) Starts on May 15 2018 (Enroll NOW
  • FinTech Ethics and Risks (6 Week Course offered by HKU Faculty of Business and Economics) Commences on May 2019 
  • Blockchain and FinTech: Basics, Applications and Limitations (6 Week Course offered by HKU Department of Computer Science at the Faculty of Engineering) Commences on May 2019 
     Course trailer: https://youtu.be/dV9bih05Xk8

Introduction to FinTech is a 6-week online course. In the course, you will learn about the major areas of FinTech including Money and Payment, Digital Finance and Alternative Finance. You will be introduced to major technological trends: Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, AI and Big Data and see how they impact economies, markets, companies, and individuals. You will examine the role of Regulation and the implication of RegTech in the new world of data driven finance.
     Register at: https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-fintech (Registrations are free with a paying option for a course certificate.)  More details: https://www.hkufintech.com For enquiries, please contact at enquiry@teli.hku.hk.

Friday, May 18, 2018

HKU Team Awarded Powell Gilbert Runner-up Prize at Oxford IP Law Moot 2018

L-R Kelvin Cheung, Esther Mak, Cedric Yeung, Alice Lee (coach)
Congratulations to HKU IP Moot Team which was awarded the Powell Gilbert Runner-up Prize for Best Written Submissions (Joint 2nd Place) in the 16th Annual Oxford International Intellectual Property Moot 2018​.
     The 16th Annual Oxford International Intellectual Property Moot 2018 was successfully held in Oxford from 15th to 17th March 2018. This year the Moot was extremely competitive, having received a record high of 66 written entries. The HKU Team consisted of Cheung Siu Hin Kelvin (PCLL), Mak Hoi Kay Esther (PCLL) and Yeung Chi Chung Cedric (LLB 4), and was coached by Ms Alice Lee and Mr Jason Yu. The HKU Team successfully proceeded to the oral rounds, beating University College London, University of Ottawa and University of Alberta in the preliminaries and was awarded the runner up prize for Best Written Submissions. ​ 
   The Team would like to express their sincere gratitude to Professor Anselmo Reyes, Ms Winnie Tam SC and past members of the HKU IP Moot Teams for their kind assistance. The Team must also give their heartfelt thanks to their two Team Coaches, who gave continuing support and guidance to the Team throughout the competition. ​

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Richard Cullen on The New US Perception of China (IPP Review)

"The New US Perception of China"
Richard Cullen
IPP Review
April 26 2018
The American perception of China has gone through an intriguing transition over the last century. Once, compassion was dominant. Today, increasing hostility is prominent with rumbles of a serious trade war in the air. These US views have significantly shaped the discernment of China around the world over the last 100 years. They continue to do so ... 
     My aim in this essay is: to look at how this discontented transition from empathy to antipathy has come to pass; to examine what it has to tell us about the state of China and the US today; and to consider where it may be leading.
     It is a fact that China, within its remarkable and enduring history, did not develop a system of governance where the governed played any sort of democratic role in selecting those who would govern. Such a system did evolve in a partial but significant way in ancient Greece around 200 years before China’s unifying Qin Dynasty was established in 221 BC. That experience in Greece has, over many centuries, fundamentally shaped the development of Western views (especially during The Enlightenment) on the best form of political governance. China meanwhile has retained a top-down authoritarian governance system to this day, in keeping with its millennial, traditional understanding of how best to govern. As we will see, that governance system has performed exceptionally well over the last 40 years by delivering an unparalleled improvement in the livelihood of millions, notwithstanding any democratic deficit.
     As the American perspective on China has moved from bewilderment to increasing antipathy, the American account of what has happened constantly stresses that the US and its allies are engaged in a recommenced battle to protect democratic values from a fresh authoritarian challenge spearheaded by China. In fact, this outward justification is energized, above all, by the deeper challenge to US global political supremacy now unfolding. The focus on telling the enfolding story, as seen from Washington, makes very good sense: a respected Harvard academic and former senior member of the State Department, Joseph Nye, recently observed in the journal Foreign Affairs that “a strong narrative is a source of power.”
     The current edging towards a Sino-American trade war is one manifestation of the significant, geopolitical mood change being examined in this essay. This very important trade quarrel is mentioned peripherally but it is not dealt with in any central way, here.
The Rise of a Superpower and the Retreat of Another
... This transition from one dominant world power to the next proceeded with minimal resentment. Although the superpower “torch” was moving out of the British Empire, the new dominant power was closely related in terms of ethnicity, language and deeply shared traditions. Moreover, the UK soon enough found itself in need of vital US assistance to secure the defeat of Germany in World War I. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the UK was able to rely on its own mature understanding of the changes underway and thus avoid too much counter-productive, national swaggering.
It is now around 100 years since that fundamental international transition. During this period, the US has played a pivotal military role in stopping the German–Central Powers’ assault on Europe in World War I. In World War II, the US role was still more crucial in defeating the unspeakable rise of Nazism and destroying the barely less horrific Japanese onslaught across East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific...
Pax Americana & Sharp Power
... By the end of World War II, the US was outstandingly dominant, despite the cost of fighting the war. The narrative of how it has deployed that strength since has a positive side (the Marshall Plan in Germany, for example) plus an accompanying, grim side, which gathered distinct momentum as the Cold War began.
   This US supremacy ushered in an era within the Western Hemisphere, especially, of continued peace subject to American oversight. It also facilitated foundation building for the new global trading system. As we will see, China has, over the last 40 years, taken exceptional advantage of this comprehensive global restructuring.
   This US ascendancy was built on immense power, which included the capacity, regularly used, to shape transnational outcomes to a remarkable extent.
   This era has regularly been referred to as Pax Americana drawing on terminology extending back the Pax Romana of the early centuries of the Roman Empire (after 27 AD). In like manner, it was said, the clear dominance of American military, economic and political power provided the means for the US to oversee an era of extended peace particularly after World War II.
   Fairly recently, certain leading US commentators have critically analyzed what they call China’s sharp power. This sharp power is juxtaposed with two other long, commonly used, political terms — soft power and hard power. Christopher Walker and Jessica Ludwig in their article “The Meaning of Sharp Power” in the journal Foreign Affairs in November 2017 argued that sharp power “is not principally about attraction or even persuasion; instead, it centers on distraction and manipulation.” Soft power is a term coined by Joseph F Nye in 1990, which he has more recently defined in the following way: “soft power is the ability to affect others by attraction and persuasion rather than through the hard power of coercion and payment.”
    In fact, the US has itself deployed all three powers — soft, sharp and hard — for many decades... Click here to read the full text. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Johnstone & Goo Report on Improving Corporate Governance in Hong Kong (HKICPA)

May 2018, 705 pp
Introduction (Executive Summary)
Hong Kong’s emergence as a global financial centre has brought far greater attention to its role in the global market place and the standards it engages as compared to other leading global centres. Markets compete on a range of factors, amongst which the corporate governance (CG) system is of particular importance because it impacts on market integrity, and hence market success. Where the affairs of publicly listed companies are undertaken in a way that fall short of expected CG standards, or where the mechanisms of control and redress are inadequate to curb misbehaviour, confidence in the market may be damaged, and the market becomes less efficient. CG is therefore an integral part of a market that a CG system must serve. 
     This Report was commissioned by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) to make recommendations on how Hong Kong’s CG system may be further developed to improve the long-term competitiveness of the Hong Kong public market. The recommendations are to be based on an independent, comparative study of shareholder rights, remedies and protections and board processes within the context of public listed companies. As many listed issuers are not incorporated in Hong Kong this presents special issues as regards standard setting and enforcement. 
     To assess the strengths and weaknesses of Hong Kong’s CG system in the global context, this study investigated the CG system in Hong Kong and each of the United Kingdom (UK), the United States, Mainland China and Singapore. The CG system in each of these jurisdictions has undergone developments and experiences, successes and failures that are shaped by its historical, political, legal, market, and social and cultural contexts. The different influences of these factors are important to recognize for the purposes of forming recommendations within a Hong Kong framework – what works, or fails, in one jurisdiction might fail, or work, in another. 
     The comparative analysis undertaken in this Report has led to a total of 28 recommendations being put forward. Reflecting one of the guiding concepts of this study to produce practical and implementable recommendations, only two require a change to legislation, with another four possibly requiring legislative change subject to the outcome of a further consultative process. All recommendations are consistent with overarching objectives of fostering competition and regulatory efficiency. 
     The remainder of this Part I of the Executive Summary provides an overview of the study’s main findings. Part II outlines each recommendation made and provides a summary Table of all recommendations found in Section 4 of this Report. Part III summarizes the approach taken to the topic of CG and the formation of recommendations. Part IV summarizes the analysis that gives rise to the 28 recommendations via an abridged text of the detailed analysis found in Section 3 of this Report...
     For media coverage of this Report, see SCMP and CFO Innovations. To download the full report, click here.

Alexa Lam on Enforcement of Hong Kong’s Securities Law: The Underpinning Philosophy (new book chapter)

Alexa Lam
in Robin Hui Huang & Nicholas Calcina Howson (eds), Enforcement of Corporate and Securities Law: China and the World (CUP, 2017), pp. 359-368
Introduction: Enforcement of the securities law is an important function in serving the communities we live in. Demand for enforcement is not always matched by an increase in resources. In Hong Kong, the securities regulator – the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), increased its resourcing in terms of headcount by 40 per cent since 2007. But the regulator’s workload also increased. Their investigation workload increased by 240 per cent, and litigation work increased by over 500 per cent. And just for the year 2014, their investigation caseload increased by over 50 per cent. This is certainly an exponential increase in demand for enforcement services. In addition, there are also limitations to what the law by itself can achieve. Existing laws and regulation do not always provide the perfect solutions and tools that policy makers and regulators desire. The regulator simply cannot afford to wait for the perfect powers to be available, if they ever will be, before it does the job it is expected to do. Legal reform and new legislation take time and resources, not to mention the challenges of overcoming the political hurdles and getting the requisite support to pass a bill at the Hong Kong legislative body. Despite the challenges, this must be right, because there is no guarantee that even an all-powerful regulator with far-reaching powers can achieve its mandate or be able to avoid unintended consequences. In this chapter, I will explore my belief that it is less of a question of how much power you have, and more about how you use what you have to achieve a fair and balanced result of protecting investors and market integrity. The regulator should have a very clear idea of what exactly it wishes to achieve based on a good understanding of the industry it regulates. The technical challenge for enforcement is how it can continue to be effective without getting bogged down when the workload outstrips its resourcing capacity and how to avoid delays that cause its work to simply be out of time and thus irrelevant. The trite saying that justice delayed is justice denied continues to ring true. In my view, much can be achieved within the legal confines of the regulatory framework with the judicious use of strategic thinking, creativity and determination. Hong Kong has quite effectively put this into practice. This is my main takeaway.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Ryan Whalen on Boundary Spanning Innovation and the Patent System (Research Policy)

Ryan Whalen
Research Policy
Published on April 19, 2018
Abstract: This article discusses the importance of boundary spanning innovation, demonstrates the drawbacks of popular metadata based boundary spanning measures, and proposes a new full text semantic similarity measure of boundary spanning. It subsequently uses the semantic distance boundary spanning measure to demonstrate that boundary spanning innovation has become more common in recent decades, and show that these boundary spanning inventions pose challenges for the traditional specialized-examiner patent examination model. Examining the applications for inventions that span technical boundaries takes longer and requires more back-and-forth with the patent office than their comparatively simple peers. Finally, this article discusses potential reforms to the patent examination system to help address these challenges.

Ryan Whalen on the Office of Alternative Medicine and the Endorsement Effects Innovation Policy (Science and Public Policy)

Ryan Whalen
Science and Public Policy
Published on 24 April 2018
Abstract: This article demonstrates how science and technology policy can have an ‘endorsement effect’ that legitimizes and increases the salience of scientific research areas. The validation and increased attention provided by state funding policies can support the discursive boundary work of interested parties as they seek to situate research fields within mainstream science. Increased validity and attention can subsequently lead to increased research activity, above and beyond that funded by the state. This article demonstrates the endorsement effect by examining how the founding of the NIH’s Office of Alternative Medicine affected both the discourse surrounding the legitimacy of alternative medicine, and the production of alternative medicine-related patents. The existence of this endorsement effect suggests that policymakers should consider both the direct effects that innovation policy might have on researchers’ incentives as well as the endorsement effects it can have on the research system.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Zetzsche, Buckley, Barberis & Arner on Regulating a Revolution: from Regulatory Sandboxes to Smart Regulation (Fordham J of Corp & Fin L)

Dirk A Zetzsche, Ross P Buckley, Janos N Barberis and Douglas W Arner
Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law  
2017, Vol. 23, Issue. 1, pp. 31-103
Abstract: Prior to the global financial crisis, financial innovation was viewed very positively, resulting in a laissez-faire, deregulatory approach to financial regulation. Since the crisis the regulatory pendulum has swung to the other extreme. Post-crisis regulation, plus rapid technological change, have spurred the development of financial technology (FinTech). FinTech firms and data-driven financial service providers profoundly challenge the current regulatory paradigm. Financial regulators increasingly seek to balance the traditional regulatory objectives of financial stability and consumer protection with promoting growth and innovation. The resulting regulatory innovations include RegTech, regulatory sandboxes, and special charters. This Article analyzes possible new regulatory approaches, ranging from doing nothing (which spans being permissive to highly restrictive, depending on context), cautious permissiveness (on a case-by-case basis, or through special charters), structured experimentalism (such as sandboxes or piloting), and development of specific new regulatory frameworks. Building on this framework, we argue for a new regulatory approach, which incorporates these rebalanced objectives, and which we term 'smart regulation.' Our new automated and proportionate regime builds on shared principles from a range of jurisdictions and supports innovation in financial markets. The fragmentation of market participants and the increased use of technology requires regulators to adopt a sequential reform process, starting with digitization, before building digitally-smart regulation. This Article provides a roadmap for this process. Click here to download the full article.

Enrol in HKU's Free "Introduction to FinTech" MOOC

Free HKU Online Course – HKU brings you Asia’s 1st FinTech MOOC – Introduction to FinTech on edX platform starting May 15, 2018.
  • Introduction to FinTech is a 6-week online course created by HKU with the support of SuperCharger, the Centre for Finance, Technology and Education, UNSW Sydney, Microsoft, the Standard Chartered Bank and other industry leaders.
In the course, you will learn about the major areas of FinTech including Money and Payment, Digital Finance and Alternative Finance from a team of renowned academics and practitioners in international business, finance, law and technology. You will be introduced to major technological trends: Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, AI and Big Data and see how they impact economies, markets, companies, and individuals. You will examine the role of Regulation and the implication of RegTech in the new world of data driven finance.

The key instructors of the course include:
  • Douglas Arner, Kerry Holdings Professor in Law, The University of Hong Kong (Course Director and Chief Instructor)
  • Janos Barberis, Founder, SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator
  • Huy Nguyen Tran, CEO of The Disruptive Group & Co-founder of CFTE, Center for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship
  • Ross Buckley, Professor of International Finance Law, University of New South Wales
  • Brian Tang, Managing Director, Asia Capital Markets Institute (ACMI)
  • Henri Arslanian, FinTech & RegTech Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) - China & HK
Keep up-to-date on “industry knowledge”.  Don’t miss out on potential opportunities. Enroll NOW! Register at: https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-fintech (Registrations are free with a paying option for a course certificate.) More details: https://www.hkufintech.com. For enquiries, please contact enquiry@teli.hku.hk.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

HKU Legal Scholar Urges New Animal Welfare Law in Hong Kong

"HKU legal scholar urges new Animal Welfare Law in Hong Kong"
HKU Press Invitation - 27 April 2018. Associate Law Professor Amanda Whitfort of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) will renew her call on the Hong Kong government to expeditiously introduce a duty of care to benefit all animals in the city at the III Global Animal Law Conference to be held on HKU campus on May 4 and 5, 2018.
     Associate Professor Whitfort will present a paper The 2010 HKU/SPCA Review of Animal Welfare Legislation in HK: Where are we now and where do we need to be? in the first session of the conference at 10:20 am on May 4, Friday.
     The replacement of Cap 169, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance with a new Animal Welfare Law, which imposes a positive duty of care for animals was the primary recommendation for law reform in the HKU-SPCA Review of Animal Welfare Legislation in Hong Kong published by Associate Professor Whitfort and Dr Fiona Woodhouse in 2010. On the back of the findings in that report the government has amended Cap 139B to introduce a duty of care for dogs in commercial breeding, which came into effect in March 2017.
     While the introduction of a duty of care towards breeding dogs is an important first step, the amendments in Cap 139B only effect a limited number of animals. The amended law does not apply to other species or to animals kept as pets, or for other reasons. Only with the full implementation of the report’s primary recommendation to replace Cap 169 with a new Animal Welfare Law, will Hong Kong law be in a position to adequately address the instances of cruelty and poisonings seen in the territory in recent weeks.
     Professor Mike Radford of the University of Aberdeen, who was instrumental in assisting the UK government in incorporating duty of care provisions in the United Kingdom’s Animal Welfare Act in 2006, will present his paper on 'A Duty to Care: the case for animal welfare legislation' on the second day of the conference on May 5, Saturday at 9:10am. Members of the media are invited to cover the Conference.
Date:    May 4 and 5, 2018 (Friday and Saturday)
Venue:  Large Moot Court, 2/F., Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
    Amanda Whitfort was recently interviewed on RTHK Radio's 123 Show with Noreen Mir (2 May 2018). To listen to Whitfort's RTHK Podcast (15 minutes) on Animal Cruelty Law with Annalie Chow, click here (2 May 2018).  Whitfort was also interviewed on RTHK's Newswrap on 4 May 2018.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Angela Zhang, Author of the Best Asian Antitrust Academic Article, 2018 Concurrence Antitrust Writing Awards

Congratulations to Angela Zhang whose article “The Antitrust Paradox of China, Inc.” has been recognised as the best academic article in Asian Antitrust in the 2018 Concurrence Antitrust Writing Awards.  These awards reward the best articles published in peer-reviewed journals in 2017.  The Antitrust Writing Awards aim to "promote competition scholarship and to contribute to competition advocacy".  Each year around 100 articles are selected by the Editorial Committee and the readers nominate 20 of these articles.  The Board finally elects 10 winning articles in 10 individual categories.  
     Dr Zhang's article (download here) was published in the New York University Journal of International Law and Politics (2017, Vol 50).  The abstract reads as follows:
Common ownership by the Chinese State caused a stir in Europe recently. During its review of a joint venture involving a Chinese nuclear power company, the European Commission (“Commission”) held that it would treat all Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the energy sector as a single entity. This decision carries significant legal and practical implications for both businesses and the regulator. It also contradicts the Commission’s previous approach to European SOEs. In this Article, I argue that the legal framework under the E.U. Merger Regulation (EUMR) is unsuited to deal with the anticompetitive effects of state ownership. While the delineation of the boundary of an undertaking is a prerequisite for merger review, ownership and control are not absolute. Importantly, the extent to which the coordination by the Chinese State has lessened competition is a quantitative question, rather than a qualitative one. Consequently, a bright-line approach to defining an undertaking is both over and under-inclusive. To address the European Union’s dilemma in handling Chinese SOEs, I propose that the Commission should view national security review as a complement to its merger review. The optimal regulatory response to Chinese acquisitions hinges not only on economics, but also, perhaps more importantly, on politics.

Friday, April 27, 2018

HKU Jessup Team Ranks 11th in Washington DC and Wins Top Oralist Award

From left: Coach Ms Astina Au, Jason Ko, Natalie So, Brian Lee, Michelle Sum, and Sakinah Sat
Congratulations to the HKU Jessup Team for achieving 11th place in the preliminary round of the 59th Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Competition, held in Washington, DC from 1-7 April 2018, where 121 teams competed. Demonstrating outstanding advocacy skills, team member, Natalie So, was crowned the top oralist in the International Rounds Top 100 Oralists. "The Jessup" is known internationally as the most prestigious public international law mooting competition for law students, where teams, having won their respective regional round, represent their country in a mock case before the International Court of Justice. The 2017-2018 competition problem involved a dispute between two fictional countries, Anduchenca and Rukaruku, concerning issues related to the validity of an arbitral award, the law of the sea, international arms disarmament, and the use of force.
    This year 600 law schools from 100 jurisdictions competed in the competition.  The HKU team won the Hong Kong regional championship in February 2018, capturing the best memorial prizes for both the applicant and respondent teams.
     At the International Rounds, the team defeated Argentina, Pakistan, Indonesia and Armenia in the preliminary round, before losing to the United States in the advanced rounds. The team members, Jason Ko Lun, Natalie So Tsz Ching, Brian Lee Chun-Hin, Michelle Sum Hiu-Yan, and Sakinah Sat are all students studying in the PCLL programme.  Brian and Jason ranked 17th and 75th respectively in the the list of top 100 best oralists.
     The team thanks Professor Po Jen Yap, Eva Sit, Tim Parker, Lester Lee, Adrian Lai, Terrence Tai, Kevin Lau, Isaac Chan, Jeff Chan, Winky So, Victor Lui, Sunny Hor, Henness Leung, Angel Cheng and Jonathan Lee for their kind assistance, and express their indebtedness to team coaches, Astina Au and Peter Barnes, barristers at Parkside Chambers, for their unfailing support.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Hong Kong Team Wins at the Global Legal Hackathon (NYC, 21 April 2018)

L-R: Alison Li, Edelweiss Kwok, Sally Yiu
@DecodingLawHK #GLH2018 @hkuniversity
Congratulations to the winning Hong Kong team, Decoding Law, at the Global Legal Hackathon, held in New York City, 21 April 2018.  Fourteen teams competed on the stage and only four winners were recognised.  The Hong Kong team won in the public service category for their innovative project that uses machine learning and AI technologies to make reading legislation easier for the ordinary person including unrepresented litigants.  
The team comprises of HKU and CUHK law students, software developers and data scientists. The three HKU team members, Alison Li, Edelweiss Kwok, and Sally Yiu are currently studying in Year III of the combined law and business degree programme (BBA(Law) & LLB).  In her interview for the ABA Journal, Ms Yiu said she was "impressed to see so many talented minds collaborate and come up with feasible solutions to solve certain legal problems in society."  For other news stories of the event, see New York Law Journal and Artificial Lawyer.  This was the first ever Global Legal Hackathon to be held.  The other three winners were from the United States and Hungary.  The official press release can be viewed here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Guanghua Yu on Open Access in the Economic Sphere or the Political Sphere: Evidence from Japan (Law and Development Review)

"Open Access in the Economic Sphere or the Political Sphere: Evidence from Japan"
Guanghua Yu
Law and Development Review
2018, Volume 11, Issue 1
Abstract: The article uses the case of Japan to argue that the theory of open access order advocated by North and his colleagues goes beyond what is necessary. Although their theory of open access order explains the West relatively well, it does not always apply to contemporary non-Western countries. Similar to the case of India examined elsewhere, the case of Japan reveals that what is more important to economic and human development is the open access in the economic sphere and the interconnected institutions in the areas of property rights protection and contract enforcement, financial market, rule of law, and human resource accumulation. In other words, countries without open access in the political sphere may also be able to achieve a great deal of success in terms of economic and human development if they ensure open access in the economic sphere and devote adequate resources to establishing the necessary interconnected institutions examined in this article. Further research elsewhere on Singapore and China will shed more light on this debate.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Xianchu Zhang on Class Action in China (new book chapter)

"A Question of Class Action in China"
Xianchu Zhang
in Robin Hui Huang (ed.), Enforcement of Corporate and Securities Law: China and the World (Cambridge University Press, Aug 2017), pp.123-137
Introduction: Public investor protection has been a serious concern in China's security market.  The recently initiated overhaul of the Securities Law has triggered a new round of debate on introducing class action as a legal mechanism into China to improve the condition of investor protection.  Although the idea was raised a long time ago, and a promise was made in as early as 2005 by Shang Fulin, the then chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to establish such a system by 2010, the latest draft amendment submitted to the national legislature seems to retreat from the commitment.  Some experts have warned that failure to adopt class action rules this time would be self-defeating to the very purpose of the amendment.  This chapter will briefly examine the practice, policy and debate in this regard in the past two decades and reflect the difficulties and institutional challenges concerning the introduction.

Xianchu Zhang on the Transparency Challenge to China's Socialist Market Economy (Journal of Comparative Law)

"Transparency Challenge to China's Socialist Market Economy"
Xianchu Zhang
The Journal of Comparative Law,
2017, Vol. 12, Issue. 2
published in 2017
Introduction: Transparency has been recognised as a global norm in both governance of the state and functioning of the market economy. Some studies have suggested that by 2020 'market and business transparency will be universally accepted across the G20 countries and beyond as critical to economic resilience and sustainable value creation.'
     Recently, transparency in China has become a focal point in the international controversy on China's market economy status following the expiry in November 2016 of the 15-year transitional period (2001-2016) under Sec. 15 of the Protocol of China's Accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The United States (US), the European Union (EU) and Japan announced their decision not to grant China its coveted status as a full market economy because China's domestic laws and legal interpretations had not made sufficient progress towards their understandings of the standards of a 'market economy.'  Their concerns included serious worries about China's market transparency. China responded by launching a legal action in the WTO to fight for its claims in December 2016. As a result, China's market status, including its transparency condition, is going to be judged in due course within the WTO mechanism. 
     International concerns with China's lack of transparency have also been reflected in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) encouragement that China be more transparent in its foreign exchange operations, a joint expression of deep anxiety by major developed countries with China's new legislation on anti-terrorism, cyber-security and foreign charities for their potential to impede trade and investment, expression of disappointment in the recent Group 20 (G20) meeting for lack of transparency in China top leaders' explanation of the country's economic downturn and related governmental measures, doubts raised about China's claim to be a leading economy of the world given 'an alarming lack of transparency', and the criticism made of China's autocratic measures without transparency in dealing with its financial market shocks.
     Transparency has been long identified as one of the crucial benchmarks of a market economy, and the current paper critically examines the major concerns in this regard given that China sees itself as a market economy of a special kind - a socialist market economy.  These concerns include China's WTO commitments, renewed pledges made in recent years for further reform, and the institutional challenges to be faced in improving conditions for greater transparency.  The paper argues, however, that even after nearly 40 years of keeping with the authoritarian ideology of the Communist Party of China (CPC),  rather than in accordance with market demands.  As a result, there is a considerable institutional gap for the Party-State to overcome if China's economic rise is to be matched by general recognition of China as a leading economy in the world...

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Roda Mushkat on the Case Study Method in International Legal Research (J Juridical Science)

"The case for the case study method in international legal research"
Roda Mushkat
Journal for Juridical Science
2017, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp. 143-182
Abstract: The exploration of international law has gradually but perceptibly evolved into an increasingly multifaceted enterprise. A notable development, albeit not yet on a large-scale, has been the adoption of empirical approaches relied upon in the Social Sciences for purposes of description, explanation and evaluation. A genuinely rich body of theoretical insights has consequently taken shape, providing a more robust foundation than previously available for pursuing knowledge and engaging in policy action. Much of the information generated has been obtained via the examination, often elaborate in nature, of specific cases. However, the technical underpinnings of this scientific endeavour leave something to be desired, as illustrated by a juxtaposition of methodological requirements with prevailing practices and offering concrete examples of greater technical rigour observed in neighbouring disciplines.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

New Issues: SSRN Legal Studies Research Paper Series (HKU)

Vol. 8, No. 3: Mar 14, 2018
Vol. 8, No. 4: Arp 20, 2018

Vol. 8 No. 3: Mar 14, 2018

Cora Chan, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Ernest Lim, National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law
Cora Chan, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Satyam Mukherjee, Northwestern University
Ryan Whalen, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Thomas K. Cheng, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Shitong Qiao, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Angela Huyue Zhang, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law, King's College London

Vol. 8 No. 3: Apr 20, 2018

Uzma Ashraf Barton, AIIFL, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong, Georgetown University Law Center, Law & Economics Center, George Mason University

David S. Law, Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law, Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science
Chien-Chih Lin, Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica, Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica

Henry Chang, The University of Hong Kong - Law and Technology Centre

Thomas K. Cheng, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Thomas K. Cheng, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Friday, April 20, 2018

Melissa Loja Presents Paper at 112th American Society of International Law Annual Meeting

PhD student Melissa Loja presented a paper on the New Voices in International Law panel of the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington DC from 4-7 April 2017. Based on work done for her dissertation, Ms Loja’s presentation focused on the legal significance of international agreements between non-state actors. She discussed international agreements that national petroleum corporations, such as Petronas, PetroVietnam, PetroleumBrunei and China National Offshore Oil Corporations, enter into to manage disputes over petroleum resources that are shared by states across maritime zones and boundaries.
    The panel commentator, Professor Laurence Helfer, Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of International Law, remarked that Ms Loja’s paper makes a concrete and original contribution to international law, because it presents primary data that have not been made known before, and it enables a granular examination of actual practices in international law.

Canada's Air Defence Identification Zone and the Battle for the Arctic (Herbert Aclan Loja)

Canada's Air Defence Identification Zone and the Battle for the Arctic
By Herbert Aclan Loja
When I mentioned to Professor Brian F. Havel that the Canadian Defence Department is expanding the Canada air defence identification zone (ADIZ) boundaries westward, northward, and eastward, he quipped that the battle for the Arctic has begun. The northeastward expansion in particular is critical to Canada’s long-term strategic position. The expanse of the expanded ADIZ covers a continuum of both territorial and extraterritorial airspaces. It blankets the airspaces superjacent Canada’s land territories, internal as well as interconnecting waters and territorial seas of the Arctic archipelago of the Provinces of Nunavut and Northwest Territories as well as the contested or disputed territorial and non-territorial domains.[1] 
     Canada defines ADIZ as the ‘airspace that extends upward from the surface in those areas of Canada and off the coasts of Canada, the boundaries of which are specified in the Designated Airspace Handbook.’[2] This innocuous phraseology, when associated with the pertinent circulars, regulations, and other issuances, really means that Canada, using ADIZ as a device, can control all aircraft flying through the defined airspace area by means of identification procedures. 
     The Canada ADIZ boundary expansion has at least four crucial implications. It envelops the airspaces above the Northwest Passage, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the northern coast of Yukon and Canada’s Arctic archipelago, and portion of the Hans Island. The ADIZ’s northern breadth also somewhat generally follows the outlines of the sector of the Arctic which Canada has pushed rather ambivalently to be considered as Canadian territory. 
     The Northern Passage, the meandering sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the Canadian Arctic, was until recently non-navigable.[3] That changed when the warming sea temperatures began melting the ice sheets which once blocked the passage.[4] Canada, a state party to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), considers the waters of the Northwest Passage as internal waters.[5] The United States (US), a state not party to the UNCLOS, treats the passage as international waters.[6] Other states, even those parties to the UNCLOS may follow or has even followed the US position and regard the passage as international strait.[7] If treated as international strait, ships can navigate through the passage and aircraft can fly through its superjacent airspace practically unhampered with at best minimal (or even non-existent) Canadian control over security and environmental matters.[8]
     While the EEZ off the northern coast of Canada’s Arctic archipelago does not seem to be very problematic, Canada’s maritime delimitation issues with neighboring states over the continental shelf and the extended continental shelf are far more challenging. In particular, the Russian Federation has continued the mapping, sampling, and marking of the sea floor to strengthen its claim to the continental shelf and the extended continental shelf.[9] 
     Canada and Denmark delimited their continental shelf between Ellesmere Island and Greenland in the 1970s by employing an adjusted median line.[10] However, territorial sovereignty over the Hans Island, which lies between points 122 and 123 of the continental shelf delimitation line along the Nares Strait, remains unresolved with both states taking turns performing flag raising ceremonies on the island.[11]
     Senator Poiriers first articulated the Arctic sector theory in 1907.[12] The theory posits that all ‘land, water, or ice’ within the longitudes which correspond to the projection of Canada’s landmass all the way to the common point at the North Pole shall be considered as Canadian territory.[13] The same rationale should likewise apply to the claims of all states contiguous to the Arctic.[14] Canada has not clearly indicated its avowal or disavowal of the theory in relation to the territorial status of the lands and waters in the Arctic.[15]
     Canada has gradually addressed these strategic concerns and objectives without unnecessarily unnerving its neighbors through an asymmetric way of extending its influence over the contested land, maritime, and aerial domains. The broadening of its ADIZ shores up its position in these areas as Canada can now exert control over the air volume of even the domains outside its territory. All aircraft, whether civil or state, irrespective of the intention to enter Canadian airspace have to comply with Canadian ADIZ regulations on the submission of flight plan, radio communications identification protocols, periodic altitude and position reporting and other requirements when flying through the Canada ADIZ area. [16] In addition, the enlarged ADIZ gives Canada the flexibility to use the coordinates as limits for sea defence applications. These ADIZ characteristics are not uniquely Canadian and can be found in other ADIZs as well especially in Northeast Asia.
     With the broadened ADIZ, Canada is now able to control not just the entry of foreign ships in the waters of the Northwest Passage but also the flight of foreign aircraft over the superjacent airspace, protect its EEZ in the north pending delimitations of the continental shelf and extended continental shelf, maintain its position in the territorial tussle over the Hans Island, and send a subdued message that it is not abandoning the sector theory and its future expressions or mutations.
    The revised Canadian ADIZ appears as a measured response to protect Canada’s territorial sovereignty and consolidate Canada’s claims on both aerial and maritime domains. The Russian Federation is not expected to overly react as the northward extension essentially embraces only the Canadian EEZ. Neither would Denmark as the geographic coordinates of the Canadian ADIZ northeast expansion pass roughly midway above the airspace of the Hans Island. But the US response in the form of freedom of navigation missions will present Canada with the usual neighbourly discomfort.
     Canada’s expanded ADIZ will take effect on 24 May 2018 at 9:01 UTC, just in time for the coming of the summer when the sea temperature heats up in earnest and the Northwest Passage becomes more navigable. With the world attention focused somewhere else on Syria, the battle for control of the Arctic has quietly begun.

About the author:
The author is a PhD Candidate under the supervision of Professor Simon N.M. Young at the University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law. He is currently a graduate research trainee under the supervision of Professor Brian F. Havel at the Institute of Air & Space Law, McGill University, Faculty of Law.

[1] See Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) 2/18, 1 February 2018 (NAV CANADA) <www.navcanada.ca/EN/products-and-services/Service%20Project%20Announcements/SPA-2018-ADIZ-EN.pdf> accessed 10 April 2018.
[2] Canadian Aviation Regulations SOR-96-433 (current to 26 March 2018) Part VI – General Operating and Flight Rules, para 600.01.
[3] J. Lewis Robinson, ‘Northwest Passage’ The Canadian Encyclopedia <www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/northwest-passage/#h3_jump_3> accessed 16 April 2018.
[4] ibid.
[5] ibid.
[6] Carolyn Beeler, ‘Who controls the Northwest Passage? It’s up for debate’, quoting Michael Byers, PRI’s The World (4 September 2017) <www.pri.org/stories/2017-09-04/who-controls-northwest-passage-its-debate> accessed 14 April 2018.
[7] ibid.
[8] See United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (concluded at Montego Bay 10 December 1982, came into force 16 November 1994) 1833 UNTS 397, Part III – Straits Used for International Navigation; See also, François Côté and Robert Dufresne, ‘The Arctic: Canada’s Legal Claims’, Parliamentary Information and Research Service, Library of Parliament, Canada, Publication PRB 08-05E (24 October 2008) 3.
[9] See for instance, Côté and Dufresne (n 8) 5.
[10] Agreement relating to the delimitation of the continental shelf between Greenland and Canada (with annexes) (signed at Ottawa 17 December 1973, came into force 13 March 1974) 950 UNTS 147, Art I. 
[11] David H. Gray, ‘Canada’s Unresolved Maritime Boundaries’ (Autumn 1997) IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin 61, 68-69; See also Ryan Kristiansen, ‘Desolate Dispute: A Study of a Hypothetical International Court of Justice (ICJ) Decision’ (Summer 2013) 13(3) Canadian Military Journal 34, 39-38.
[12] Cf: Donat Pharand, The Law of the Sea of the Arctic: with Special Reference to Canada (University of Ottawa Press 1973) 134 fn 116.
[13] Ivan L. Head, ‘Canadian Claims to Territorial Sovereignty in the Arctic Regions’ (1963) 9(3) McGill Law Journal 200, 202-203.
[14] ibid.
[15] Donald M. McRae, ‘Arctic Sovereignty: Loss by Derelection? in William C. Wonders (ed), Canada’s Changing North (Revised edn, McGill-Queen’s University Press 2003) 427, 430; See also Gray (n11) 65. 
[16] See Canadian Aviation Regulations SOR-96-433 (n 2) paras 602.145 – 602.46 and in relation see Designated Airspace Handbook 95 (M6) <www.navcanada.ca/EN/products-and-services/Documents/DAH_Current_EN.pdf> accessed on 10 April 2018 and AIC 2/18 (n 1).

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Book by Shahla Ali: Court Mediation Reform: Efficiency, Confidence and Perceptions of Justice (Edward Elgar)

Court Mediation Reform Efficiency, Confidence and Perceptions of Justice
Shahla Ali
Edward Elgar
March 2018, 296 pages
Description: As judiciaries advance, exploring how court mediation programs can provide opportunities for party-directed reconciliation whilst ensuring access to formal legal channels requires careful investigation. Court Mediation Reform explores comparative empirical findings in order to examine the association between court mediation structure and perceptions of justice, efficiency and confidence in courts.
‘Shahla Ali's work is an innovative meta-analysis of the trends in the institutionalization of mediation at the macro level. It has an ambitious approach that had not been attempted yet, and paves the way for other future research, as well as providing guidance to policy makers and professionals.’ Luigi Cominelli, The University of Milan, Italy

‘Professor Shahla Ali has performed a valuable service for conflict resolution policy makers around the world. Providing diverse and mixed data reports of the uptake and resistance to court (and some private) mediation programs in ten different legal systems, she artfully surveys important legal, social and cultural differences in the uses and effectiveness of voluntary and mandatory mediation programmes. While some seek efficiency, others seek efficacy, through party-tailored solutions or regional integration dispute resolution schemes. Different programme motivations (and the varied role of lawyers) provide variation, not uniformity, in the use of mediation to resolve civil, family, labour and commercial disputes. A must-read for any dispute system designer, or court administrator or mediator.’ Carrie Menkel-Meadow, University of California, Irvine and Georgetown University Law Center, US

‘Professor Ali's book offers the most comprehensive, qualitative study and insights on Global Court Mediation I have encountered. It should be in the hands of every court in the world.’ Judge Dorothy Nelson, United States Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Douglas Arner Speaks at FinTech Policy Forum in Jordan (Alliance for Financial Inclusion)

The Alliance for Financial Inclusion  (AFI)
2 April 2018
FinTech innovations can complement financial inclusion by broadening financial access “at scale” and improving the quality of financial services through “efficiency”, concluded 130 policymakers and regulators from 50 countries and over 45 institutions who are attending the FinTech Policy Forum, jointly organized by the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) on 2 April 2018 in Amman, Jordan...
     Prof. Douglas Arner — leading authority on the issue of FinTech laws and regulations — started the proceedings on a reassuring note saying that “the idea of technology transforming finance is not new, not unfamiliar, and as a result, nothing to be afraid of.” Technologies such as the telegraph, ATM and computer have contributed to the transformation of finance. Smartphones are amplifying this transformation through rapid penetration across the globe with a potential to provide financial services “at scale.”
     However, scale can create “risk blind spots” for regulators. FinTech companies can move from “too small to care” and “too large to ignore” to “too big to fail.” Prof. Arner suggested to build and facilitate a 21st century infrastructure for supporting market functions; develop appropriate regulatory responses and apply graduated regulatory requirements to firms based on their level of risk; and use regulatory sandboxes and other test-and-learn approaches as an opportunity to test new approaches.
     With the emergence of FinTech as a key catalyst for financial inclusion, the Forum aims to highlight the need for a paradigm shift in regulatory and policy approaches, as well as share practical solutions that can bring financial services to the most vulnerable segments of society. There are 1.1 billion people who lack legal identity and women globally who cannot access financial services. As a result, they are restricted in obtaining formal financial services, while there are 65.6 million forcibly displaced people globally, one of the highest levels of displacement the world has witnessed. At the same time, there are 200 to 245 million MSMEs in developing countries with restricted or no access to finance — an estimated credit gap of $2.1 to $2.6 trillion. ...
     Click here to read full text. 

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