Saturday, January 31, 2015

Lowry Appointed to Standing Committee on Company Law Reform

Professor John Lowry, Chair of Commercial Law, was appointed to the Standing Committee on Company Law Reform (SCCLR) for a term of two years as from 1 February 2015.  The SCCLR "advises the Financial Secretary on amendments to the Companies Ordinance and the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance, as well as amendments to the Securities and Futures Ordinance on matters relating to corporate governance and shareholders' protection, as and when necessary" (Press Release).  It was established in 1984 and has been instrumental in keeping Hong Kong's company laws current, especially the major rewrite of the Company Ordinance in recent years.  The Government thanked outgoing members, including Professor Say Goo, Director of the Asian Institute of International Financial Law, for their contributions to the SCCLR over the past six years.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cullen on Hong Kong's Remarkable Land Revenue Regime

"Hong Kong's Remarkable Land Revenue Regime"
The Asian Business Lawyer
Vol. 14 (Fall 2014), pp. 193-222
Richard Cullen
Abstract: Some claim that Hong Kong is a remarkable tax policy museum while others say it is a centre of tax policy innovation — who is right? In fact, both views are credible. In both cases, these outcomes are the product of a near continuous economic dialectic — and happenstance — set within a particularly relevant culture. Text book policy planning has provided after-the-fact rationales far more than it has generated future policy blueprints. 
     This article explains why the Hong Kong Revenue Regime has such a museum feel. And also how this “arrested development” has produced an “innovative system”. The innovation is unorthodox but real enough. Compared to most other developed jurisdictions: it has involved, above all, applying an instinctive version of “Occam’s Razor” to system review and development: reform has been kept to the bare minimum. Hong Kong thus retains a Revenue Regime which is (formally) low tax, clearly simple (with low compliance costs) and it has generated revenues sufficient to build excellent infrastructure, to provide often first rate government services, to enable Hong Kong to stay virtually debt free and to amass huge Fiscal Reserves. All of these achievements pivot, fundamentally, on Hong Kong’s remarkable, Land Revenue Regime (hereinafter LRR), which has enabled long-term (and continuing) reliance on significant, land-based funding of public revenue. 
     The LRR is certainly not perfect. First, the cost of doing anything in Hong Kong is notably inflated by the very high cost of land; ultimately provided by a de facto monopoly supplier, the Hong Kong Government. Further examples: the poverty gap is far wider than it should be; and planning to cope with the onset of major demographic and other changes is poor. The overall success of the land-based funding of public revenue has, however, also provided the basis for some positive responses to these shortcomings. Moreover, the LRR offers potentially important revenue policy lessons for application beyond Hong Kong — at least, where this may still be politically possible. This article argues that the greatest potential in this regard lies in Mainland China.  Click here to download the full article.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Congratulations to Albert Chen on Book Recognition

Congratulations to Professor Albert Chen, Chan Professor of Constitutional Law, whose recent book, The World of Constitutional Law (憲法學的世界) (China University of Political Science and Law Press 2014) 402 pp., was recognised as one of the Top Ten Rule of Law Books of 2014 by the Legal Daily (法制日報), a leading newspaper on law in China.  The commendation for Professor Chen’s book reads as follows (as translated by Bella Liu into English): "The World of Constitutional Law written by Professor Albert Chen describes the significant moments that are meaningful to the reconstruction of constitutional orders. It is more than a simple display of legal events. The World of Constitutional Law also demonstrates the differences of the legal cultures between the East and the West. In the book, Professor Chen offers a fascinating examination of the dynamic between Confucianism and constitutional law in China, which takes China’s 'native resources' into account. Such manner of investigation is more important than the conclusion arrived in the book. Being mindful of 'native resources' will make us more critical and prudential when trying to draw lessons from 'universal' constitutional practices."  Click here for the original announcement.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Chen Modifies Reform Proposal and Discusses Potential Moderate CE Candidates

Chan Professor of Constitutional Law, Albert Chen, was interviewed by Cable TV on modifications to his political reform proposals.  The first modification in relation to nominations is that rather than voting on the two to three candidates as a group, the nominating committee should vote on each candidate separately to determine if each can pass the 50% threshold requirement.  The second modification relates to the consequences of election nullification by blank votes.  Instead of having the nominating committee elect an interim leader, it would be better if the Chief Secretary served as the Acting Chief Executive for a short period until the new Chief Executive is validly elected.  Both modifications come after Prof Chen met with the Government's Task Force on constitutional reform to explain his reform proposals.  Click here to view the interview in Cantonese.
Source: SCMP
     Separately Prof Chen's extensive interview with South China Morning Post reporter, Stuart Lau, was published in two articles in the SCMP on 26 January 2015.  In the article titled, "Pan-democrats who abandoned confrontation could bag Hong Kong's top job", he names three "potentially acceptable [moderate] candidates: Secretary for Housing and Transport Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, environment undersecretary Christine Loh Kun-wai and Executive Council member Anna Wu Hung-yuk".  In the second article, Prof Chen is quoted as stating, "Some pan-democrats may have a hope, or I'd call it a fantasy, that if they veto [the package] this time, they may, by 2022, get a better or more democratic framework than [last year's]".  He notes that President Xi Jinping is almost certain to still be the country's president by then. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Big Idea: Free Speech (RTHK Radio)

L-R: Profs Hutton, Kerr and Young
The Big Idea
Presenter: Prof Douglas Kerr
Programme 57: Free Speech
24 January 2015
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." While we all might like to be able to express ourselves freely, it is a surprising and radical notion that everyone should have a right to exchange information and ideas. In practice, everyone agrees that these rights, if they exist, are not unlimited. Some information and ideas are protected as the property of individuals or institutions: others may be interdicted on the grounds that disseminating them would be harmful – obscenity, libel, incitements to violence are examples. In any case, can speech ever actually be free? Who are the advocates and who are the enemies of free expression, what are its benefits and risks, and who decides its limits?  To answer at least some of these questions, Douglas Kerr talks today with Simon Young, Professor and Associate Dean of Law at Hong Kong University and a specialist in constitutional and human rights law, and Chris Hutton, Professor of English at HKU, a scholar of language, politics and law and a historian of ideas.  Click here to listen to the programme.

New Article on Judicial Promotion of Civil Mediation

"Ten Years After Halsey"
Civil Justice Quarterly
Vol. 34, Issue 1, January 2015, pp. 77-95
Anna Koo
Introduction: Judicial promotion of mediation has been unprecedented in major common law jurisdictions since the Pound Conference in April 1976 and civil justice reforms between the 1990s and 2000s. Judges raised public awareness of the perceived benefits of mediation and directed far greater use of the process, which helped the mediation industry to flourish. Yet the court’s role in administering mediation set England and Wales and Hong Kong apart from other countries. The judiciary in the United States, Canada, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand embraced compulsory mediation in varying degrees, while their English and Hong Kong counterparts opted for encouraging voluntary mediation backed up by the threat of a costs sanction for unreasonable refusal to mediate. Both jurisdictions lacked empirical research to support the effectiveness of their choice. More regrettably, a clear trend emerged in practice: costs-only hearings with arguments related to mediation proliferated. Often, litigants criticised the other side’s approach to and conduct in mediation. A new type of satellite litigation is brewing. 
     In Halsey v Milton Keynes NHS Trust [2004] EWCA Civ 576, the English Court of Appeal made propositions of the positive and negative reinforcements of civil mediation. It affirmed that the court could not require litigants to proceed to mediation against their will, for this would defeat their right of access to the courts and would achieve nothing except to add to their costs, possibly postpone the time for judicial determination and damage the perceived effectiveness of the alternative dispute resolution (the ‘ADR’) process. The function of the court is to encourage, not to compel, the use of mediation. Further, as it did not consider that the imposition of a costs sanction was tantamount to compulsory mediation, it placed the burden of proof on the unsuccessful party to show that the successful party had unreasonably refused the process. It elaborated on seven non-exhaustive factors that could justify an adverse costs order against the successful party: the nature of the dispute, the merits of the case, other settlement methods attempted, the costs of mediation, delay in setting up and attending mediation, the likelihood of a successful mediation and the impact of the court’s encouragement (the ‘Halsey Guidelines’). 
     Halsey provoked unease within the judiciary as to its lack of power to compel mediation. While the ruling endorsed words of encouragement in mediation orders, it left it up to the court to determine best practices of active case management. By and large, judges followed the Halsey Guidelines, taking into account other relevant circumstances of a particular case and extending the guidance on few occasions. Ten years on from Halsey, Jackson LJ’s Review of Civil Litigation Costs (the ‘Jackson Review’), Briggs LJ’s Chancery Modernisation Review (the ‘Briggs Review’), reflections of Dyson and Ward LLJ who were parties to the decision and a burgeoning body of post-Halsey jurisprudence have devoted considerable attention to greater integration of mediation in the English civil justice system. This article focuses on these new resources and argues that, for the purpose of achieving substantive justice limited by proportionality between the parties and among all court users, the role of the court is being expanded to dispute resolution management, while the decision to attempt ADR and settle out of court remains vested in litigants. For the current judicial policies to be effective, proactive encouragement and imposition of costs sanctions in accordance with a more nuanced reformulation of the Halsey Guidelines go hand in hand...  Contact the author to request a copy of the article.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Design Democracy Hong Kong Launches Mobile App

The Centre for Comparative and Public Law's Design Democracy HK project recently launched a mobile app as the government's second round of consultation on political reform gets underway.  The DDHK mobile app (available on Android and iOS platforms) features three main functions to promote political discussion and debate.  The polling function allows users to express their views on the leading reform questions of the day.  The survey function asks fundamental questions about the direction of the political reform exercise after the Occupy protests.  The vote up/vote down function is meant to be a fun feature that allows users to express views on the performance of the different leading personalities in the political reform debate.  

To download the app on the Google Play Store, click here.  To download the app, on the Apple App Store, click here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Event on Women's Involvement in the Umbrella Movement

Women Occupying, an event by the HKU School of Humanities, Umbrella Forum #2

The battle for suffrage defined the ‘Suffragettes’ in the so-called ‘first wave’ of the modern feminist movement. As we witness the current debates surrounding election procedures, voting rights, and eligibility to run for and hold office in the HKSAR, revisiting the issue of women’s historical involvement in suffrage movements as well as their current commitment to the political sphere here in Hong Kong can help to illuminate an aspect of Occupy Central that has not received sufficient attention. This panel focuses on women’s involvement in the Umbrella Movement, how their participation has been framed by the media, and the way in which the movement has addressed questions of gender and women’s issues.  A large portion of the time will be devoted to open discussion. PANELISTS include: Gina Marchetti (HKU, Moderator), Katrien Jacobs (CUHK), Leta Hong Fincher (HKUST), Yvonne Leung (HKU Student Union), Mirana Szeto (HKU), Puja Kapai (Director of CCPL), and Fermi Wong (Founder of Hong Kong Unison).  DATE: 27 January 2015, 4pm to 6pm.  VENUE: Large Moot Court, 2/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, Pokofulam, HKU.  LANGUAGE: English.  All are welcome.  To view the forum, click below:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Happened to Hong Kong's Right to Resolve its Own Problems

South China Morning Post
21 January 2015
Michael Davis
The Hong Kong government has lately had great difficulty understanding what autonomy is and what its responsibilities are for the high degree of autonomy provided under the Basic Law.  In last summer's white paper, Beijing admonished us that a "high degree of autonomy is not full autonomy".  In his policy address, the chief executive, following Beijing's line, argued that the protester's slogan of "Hong Kong shall resolve Hong Kong's problems" violated the constitution.  The protests in Hong Kong have been driven by the concern that the special administrative region's autonomy is being eroded. In the face of a local government that has been unwilling to defend Hong Kong autonomy, many Hongkongers fear it will be lost and, along with it, the rule of law and other core values. For the protesters, democracy offers the possibility of a government that will represent Hong Kong concerns more effectively in its relationship with the central government.  Click here to read the full article.

New Issue: SSRN Legal Studies Research Paper Series

Table of Contents 

1.  "Constitutions, Constitutional Practice and Constitutionalism in East Asia"
Albert H. Y. Chen, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

2.  "Introduction of Competition and Environmental Regulation in the Electricity Sector in Hong Kong"
Thomas K. Cheng, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law
Jolene Lin, University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

3.  "Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement and Beijing's Failure to Honor the Basic Law"
Michael C. Davis, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

4.  "China & the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The Tibetan Case"
Michael C. Davis, The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sexual Regulation in Asia (Call for Papers)


The Centre for Asian Legal Studies (National University of Singapore) is organising a conference entitled "The Life and Future of British Colonial Sexual Regulation in Asia" for 8-9 October 2015.  The co-conveners of the conference are Dean Hor and Assistant Professor Lynette Chua (NUS) and the event will take place at NUS in Singagpore. Hong Kong Law Journal will publish selected papers in a special focus issue. Scope of the conference: conference organisers hope to bring together scholars who study various facets of same- sex sexual regulation, including recent developments, its colonial legacies, and its future in Asia. The goal is to share insights on new research and collectively showcase contemporary scholarship on a timely issue in the region. The conference papers may focus on one or more of the following related to section 377 ('carnal intercourse against the order of nature') and section 377A ('gross indecency') of the penal code, and other similar provisions inherited from the British by its former colonies in the Asian region: doctrinal analysis of judicial decisions, legislative contestation over repealing/retaining the law, new interpretations of the legal history of the provisions, activist campaigns/litigation efforts, post- repeal developments and further legal reforms, and feminist or other critical analyses of related judgments etc. They could feature one or more jurisdictions that were former British colonies in the Asian region, widely construed to include South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific Islands.  Interested? Scholars who would like to participate in this conference should submit an abstract of 150 words and a biographical sketch of 100 words by April 15, 2015. Proposals should focus primarily on the conference scope and objective set out in this call for papers. Funding may be available for those who are selected (no separate funding application is required). Decisions, including funding availability, will be announced by 15 May 2015. Complete versions of all conference papers must be submitted by 10 September 2015. Abstracts can be submitted here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Reyes Appointed International Judge in Singapore

Congratulations to Anselmo Reyes, Professor of Legal Practice in our Law Faculty, on his appointment as an International Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC).  Professor Reyes, a former Judge of the Hong Kong High Court, was appointed for a three year term beginning 5 January 2015, the day the SICC was officially opened at the commencement of Singapore's legal year.  According to Ian Roberts and Nicholas Sykes (Clyde & Co),   the SICC is a division of the Singapore High Court and "will hear cases which are both international and commercial in nature".  They note that the "establishment of the SICC compliments Singapore's pre-existing ADR institutions (the Singapore International Mediation Centre (opened in November 2014) and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre). Singapore now provides a full suite of dispute resolution options for commercial parties, not just in Asia, but worldwide".  Professor Reyes joins 10 other distinguished international jurists from Australia, Austria, France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.  Assistant Professors Alvin See and Yip Man (Singapore Management University) describe the SICC's objective as "ambitious and visionary"; it is to "determine cross-border commercial disputes that may be governed by foreign law, including disputes that may not otherwise be heard by the Singapore Courts."  The International Judges are appointed "pursuant to the newly amended Article 95 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore".

Lech Garlicki Returns to the Faculty

Professor Lech Garlicki, former Polish judge of the European Court of Human Rights from 2002 to 2012, returns to visit the HKU Faculty of Law this semester.  He will be teaching a course on "Selected Problems of the European Convention on Human Rights", Tuesdays evenings from 27 January to 28 April 2015.  The course offers an introduction to the international human rights law as developed in Europe under the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and under the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.  He will focus on the following areas: the right to life, prohibition of ill-treatment (including modern interpretations of the prohibition of slavery and forced labour), right to personal autonomy (including rights to personal identity) and right to democracy.  Professor Garlicki recently posted on the I-CONnect blog his recommendations for New Year Readings.  He identified the following three books and discussed their importance: F Fabbrini, Fundamental Rights in Europe: Challenges and Transformations in Comparative Perspective (OUP 2014); S Gardbaum, The New Commonwealth Model of Constitutionalism: Theory and Practice (CUP 2013); B Ackerman, The Civil Rights Revolution (Harvard UP 2014).

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Young on Whose Interest the Political Reform Veto Serves

"Democrats must seek talks, as a veto is likely to serve Beijing's interests most"
South China Morning Post
15 January 2015
Simon Young says pan-democrats can "seize the opportunity" by drawing up a list of negotiable demands and seeking talks with the government, to test its commitment to universal suffrage - before they consider a veto
There are growing signs that both the central and Hong Kong governments no longer see universal suffrage in 2017 as a priority. Did they ever? I think they did because it was perceived as a way to confer greater legitimacy on those in power and thereby aid in their ability to govern. However, it seems that after the Occupy protests there is now an indifference if not hesitation in taking this major step in political reform.  If movement towards universal suffrage invites disruptive unlawful protests and interference by foreign governments, then Hong Kong is not ready for universal suffrage, nor is the central government. The signs of this new thinking are telling... Click here to read the full article.

New Consultation on Political Reform - Faculty Contributions

Faculty members have been contributing to the current debate on political reform after the Occupy protests.  The government launched the second round of public consultation on political reform on 7 January 2015.  Michael Davis (left) was interviewed on "Law and Disorder" on the TVB programme, The Pearl Report, broadcasted on 12 January 2015.  Albert Chen has been active in the media advocating his "None of the Above" (NOTA) proposal.  His writings (in Chinese) have been featured on the Orange News website on 5 and 8 January 2015.  He was recently interviewed on the RTHK television programme, The Pulse, with legislator Ronny Tong.  On 13 January 2015, the South China Morning Post published a full-page story on the people's right to veto all candidates featuring the proposals of Albert Chen and Simon Young.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Research on Asian Financial Reform

Global Shock, Risks, and Asian Financial Reform
Edited by Iwan J Azis & Hyun S Shin
Edward Elgar
December 2014, 752 pp
Description: The growth of financial markets has clearly outpaced the development of financial market regulations. With growing complexity in the world of finance and the resultant higher frequency of financial crises, all eyes have shifted toward the current inadequacy of financial regulation. This book expertly examines what this episode means for Asia’s financial sector and its stability, and what the implications will be for the region’s financial regulation. By focusing on legal and institutional frameworks the book also elaborates on various issues and challenges in terms of how financial liberalization can maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of crisis.  Professor Douglas Arner (with PhD students Evan Gibson, Michael Panton, and Uzma Ashraf) contribute three chapters on "Addressing systemic risk in East Asia: financial regulatory design" (RH Weber, DW Arner, EC Gibson & S Baumann), "Financial innovation and development in East Asia: balancing risks and opportunities" (RP Buckley, DW Arner & M Panton), and "Regional financial arrangements: lessons from the Eurozone crisis for East Asia" (E Avgouleas, DW Arner & U Ashraf).  Introductory chapters are available for download here

Zhao Yun in New York on Trade Disputes Between the US and China

Prof Zhao Yun, Director of the Centre for Chinese Law will be speaking on a panel at Brooklyn Law School on trade disputes involving the United States and China on 21 January 2015.  About the Program: The United States and China are major trading partners. Trade issues between the two nations take center stage as leaders negotiate new trade treaties and struggle to resolve disputes under existing legal frameworks. Brooklyn Law School and the Chinese Business Lawyers Association present an evening of dialogue among leading practitioners and professors who will examine current issues in trade disputes between the U.S. and China. Other speakers include two judges from the US Court of International Trade, partners from two leading law firms handling China trade disputes, professors from four law schools, former chairman of Federal Trade Commission, former congressman focused on US-China trade, and a former general counsel of MasterCard.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tim Parker Awarded Cambridge Whewell Scholarship

Congratulations to our alumnus Timothy Parker (LLB 2007; PCLL 2008) who recently completed the Cambridge LLM, first class, and was awarded the Whewell Scholarship for international law, one of the world's most prestigious scholarship of its kind. As a student, Parker was an exemplary mooter on successive Jessup international law mooting teams. As a barrister, he has worked on many important human rights and public law cases and has been counsel to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. At Cambridge, he was a student of Hughes Hall, where he is profiled in their latest magazine. In this interview, Parker recounts his experiences at Cambridge and discusses the future.
1. Did your HKU education prepare you for your academic success at Cambridge? While the pedagogical style of the Cambridge law masters is quite different from the HKU LLB programme, the opportunities open to me at HKU undoubtedly helped to prepare me for the challenges of postgraduate study. In particular, the opportunity to write an undergraduate thesis on an international law topic - which I was privileged to do under the supervision of Prof Hurst Hannum - and taking part in the Jessup moot were formative experiences. HKU also boasts a real breadth of public international law courses in which I indulged widely, laying a strong foundation both for practice and for further studies. 
2. What courses did you take in the Cambridge LLM? Did you write a dissertation? If so, on what? The papers I took for the LLM were: Settlement of International Disputes, International Environmental Law, Law of the World Trade Organisation, and UK and European Human Rights and Civil Liberties. I wrote a thesis for Settlements. It addressed the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in situations referred to it by the UN Security Council concerning non-parties to the Rome Statute. The paper argued that the ICC could not exercise jurisdiction retrospectively in respect of situations referred by the Security Council - i.e. it could not try or convict in respect of conduct antecedent to the referring resolution. This posed a difficulty, which the ICC has yet to confront, in respect of the Security Council's referrals of the situations in Sudan (Darfur) and Libya where the 'situations' were temporally defined in the referring resolutions to include antecedent conduct. However, since the statutory crimes departed materially from the pre-existing corpus of customary international criminal law, they could not be imposed retrospectively without violating the prohibition against ex post facto criminal law. This prohibition was a fundamental human right, and the Security Council lacked power under the UN Charter to authorise its breach. The ICC in turn could not derive jurisdiction from a UNSC resolution which had been adopted ultra vires - at least to the extent of the unlawfulness. In any event, the ICC would be bound under the Rome Statute to decline to exercise jurisdiction where it would otherwise violate the rule against retrospective pensliastion. 
3. What is the Whewell Scholarship? The Whewell Scholarship in International Law is awarded from time to time to a Cambridge LLM student who excels in any three papers designated as specialist papers in international law, together with the Whewell Paper on "Disputed Points and Problems in International Law". The Whewell Paper sets a number of questions covering a range of international law topics but which generally hint at some broader, structural dilemma. The Whewell Scholarship was established in the will of Dr William Whewell, FRS, FGS (1794-1866), who was Master of Trinity College, to support the study of international law. (This was possibly a curious choice for an academic who regularly published across an astounding array of subjects including ocean tides, mechanics, mathematics, physics, geology, astronomy, and economics - while composing poetry in his spare time). A number of notable international lawyers have been elected to the Whewell Scholarship, include Sir Robert Jennings (former President of the International Court of Justice), Sir Derek Bowett, Sir Arthur Watts, Lord Collins of Mapesbury, and Sir Elihu Lauterpacht QC. 
4. What does the Whewell Scholarship entitle you to and do you plan to take up the PhD? 
The Whewell Scholarship entitles awardees to membership in Trinity College and chambers in Whewell's Court (at ordinary rates) for so long as they remain a member of the University. There is also a modest monetary award. I would like to take up a PhD at some stage if I can find time within practice. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Backchat: Chen, Davis and Secretary for Justice on Political Reform

RTHK's Backchat radio programme featured the Secretary for Justice, Rimsky Yuen (LLB 1986; PCLL 1987) on 9 January 2015 to discuss the second phase of the political reform consultation, which runs for two months.  Michael Davis and legislator Joseph Lee also spoke on the programme.  The presenters were Hugh Chiverton and Danny Gittings (PhD candidate).  To listen to the programme, click here.  Professor Albert Chen appeared on the programme the day before (8 January 2015), one day after the launch of the consultation.  Click here to listen to the interview with Professor Chen.

Friday, January 9, 2015

HKU Bulletin: anti-corruption, luxury goods and the new Dean

The December 2014 issue of HKU's Bulletin featured three stories from the Faculty of Law. The first two relate to the cover story of "Growing Pains: Consequences of China's Economic Miracle".
Greasing Palms: A HK$30 Billion Industry
Hong Kong is home to one of the world’s leading anti-corruption agencies, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which celebrates its 40ᵗʰ anniversary this year. Despite that, the city is likely exporting about HK$30 billion in corruption to developing countries, mainly Mainland China, each year.  That is the finding of Dr Bryane Michael, former Columbia University Professor and currently a Senior Research Assistant in the Department of Law, who has advised 27 countries on anti-corruption measures and who has been looking at how Hong Kong compares to the rest of the world...Another major hurdle is the ICAC itself. Professor Simon Young, who has traced the historical development of the agency since its founding in 1974, describes it as being in the throes of a crisis of confidence.... Click here to read the full article.
Rags and Riches in the Luxury Trade
The HiPhone in China makes no bones about which brand it is imitating. It looks like an iPhone and its advertising slogan is ‘Not an iPhone but better than an iPhone’. Does it matter that it uses the Apple brand to promote itself?   Sun Haochen, Assistant Professor in Law, has been considering this issue from both legal and social justice perspectives. He has written two academic papers, lectured to government officials, organised an international conference and is preparing to launch a blog on the topic.  The HiPhone, he explained, is part of the shanzhai phenomenon in China in which companies violate IP laws or take advantage of grey areas by copying others’ property, either directly or in more creative ways. This was not necessarily a bad thing, he said.  Click here to read the full article.
Caught in the Mid-Stream
Professor Michael Hor Yew-meng became Dean of Law on July 1, a day that saw hordes of people protest on the street for greater democracy in Hong Kong. Some members of his Faculty are organisers of the Occupy Central movement to increase democracy, others advocate a more conservative approach. Professor Hor himself was busy getting moved in on that day, but the former National University of Singapore (NUS) Professor has taken a keen interest in the debate. He has no choice.  “The press keeps trying to draw me into one camp or the other,” he lamented. “What I consistently tell them is, what’s the point of me saying I support Occupy Central or I support Beijing? Is it going to solve the problem? Obviously it’s not.  “What the Faculty has done and should continue to do is to preserve freedom of speech and thought, and academic freedom, and maintain a liberal atmosphere so all these different ideas can be developed and flourish and contend with each other.”  Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dean Hor Appointed to Law Reform Commission

Professor and Dean Michael Hor was appointed a member of the Law Reform Commission of Hong Kong for three years from 1 January 2015.  Appointed at the same time were Professor Christopher Gane, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Mr. Robert Pang SC.  The Secretary for Justice thanked Professors Michael Wilkinson and Peter Rhodes for their valuable contributions over the course of their two three-year terms.   The three new appointees are all experts in the criminal law.  It awaits to be seen if this will make any difference in the Commission's ability to bring about criminal law and procedural reform.   Since 1997, only three major statutory reforms in criminal law have been implemented based on studies done by the Commission: widening rules on spousal competency and compellability, raising the age of criminal responsibility from seven to ten years, and a legal regime for covert surveillance and interception.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Lord Phillips to Deliver Next Common Law Lecture (22 Jan 2015)

"Vicarious Liability on the Move"
Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers
Non-permanent Judge, The Court of Final Appeal
22 January 2015, 6:30pm-7:30pm, reception at 7:30pm
Moot Court, 2/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Faculty of Law, HKU
About the lecture: In this lecture, Lord Phillips will consider some important common law developments in the law of tort. In particular, Lord Phillips will explore the expansion of the circumstances in which liability will be imposed on a defendant for the wrongful conduct of a third party. Lord Phillips demonstrates that vicarious liability and the non-delegable duty are 'on the move' by tracing the relevant case law, including a particularly significant case over which he presided as President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.  About the lecture series: The Common Law Lecture Series was founded in 2005, by the Faculty of Law with the kind support of the Court of Final Appeal, to contribute to the learning and development of the common law.  Click here to register for this event.