Monday, October 31, 2016

HKU Law and Journalism Centre Co-Host Media Law & Policy Workshop

From October 17 to 20, 2016, 30 lawyers and journalists from 10 Asian jurisdictions converged in Hong Kong for a 4-day Media Law & Policy Workshop - beset by 2 typhoons. The Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) co-hosted the event with the Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC) at the University of Hong Kong, where both Centres are housed. 
      Participants from across Asia participated in sessions facilitated by media law experts from around the globe on subjects such as the international framework for freedom of expression, contempt of court and court reporting, data protection and data privacy, access to information and protection of sources, national security and sedition and strategic litigation.  Speakers included regionally based practitioners, in-house counsel, Biglaw lawyers, journalists and academics. 
     HR Dipendra, a Malaysian-based lawyer and media defense expert led an engaging session on the frontier of media law for many in attendance: online speech and digital crimes. Overall, Dipendra said many countries have scrambled to deal with freedom of speech on the Internet, taking the traditional methods of dealing with press and suggesting its blanket adoption for Internet publications. But that hasn’t worked as well as they would hope. “I don’t think most countries have worked out how to deal with publications online,” he said. Examples of countries taking traditional print policy and giving it blanket online power include the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. He went on to note that while Internet penetration has risen dramatically for all countries represented at the Workshop, it has not done so hand in hand with press freedom. 
     Peter Noorlander led two sessions during the Workshop, on National Security and Sedition and on Access to Information. In the latter session, he pointed out that Freedom of Information "is not just about Access to Information, but all the laws relating to disposal of information (as well)". When challenged by audience members whose own jurisdictions faced significant challenges in obtaining material from Governments, he pointed out the success that India has recently had in their training of Information Officers nationwide. With proper and sufficient Government support, officers in India now have a systematised method of responding to requests. The discussion which followed his presentation on sedition laws and defences to sedition laws demonstrated the level of regional concern on the potential abuse of national security laws as a pretense to control the free dissemination of ideas and opinions. Noorlander reminded the audience that some of the more high-profile cases in this regard have been solved not through litigation but simply by "going big, going public, making a noise" – to draw international attention to the matter as a means of persuading governments to impose less severe penalties. He noted that victories have also been won in this space by technicalities or procedural irregularities. And while admittedly those victories were pyrrhic – it is important for advocates to understand that there are several strategies to choose from when defending clients in these spaced. 
     Other highlights of the Workshop included a lively lunch talk by the Hon. Mr. Justice Michael Hartmann, a spirited moot court exercise led by Nani Jensen Reventlow, Associate Tenant at Doughty Street Chambers and Fellow of the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and a stimulating dinner talk by Gillian Phillips, Director of Editorial Legal Services at the Guardian News & Media, where she recounted her role advising the outlet about the U.S. National Security Agency leaks by Edward Snowden. 
     In the Workshop de-briefing held on the final day of the event, participants reflected on the similarities facing all jurisdictions represented in the room in terms of challenges to the freedom of expression, collection of information and reporting more generally. Participants also noted that the legal strategies and experiences shared by participants both consoled and inspired them. 
     As one trainer tidily summed it up, “The law presents the challenges. It is up to you all to challenge the law.”
     The Workshop was made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Open Society Foundations and the Hong Kong British Consulate General. Our thanks to all the participants for descending upon Hong Kong despite the onset of Typhoon Sarika and for their patience and understanding when Typhoon Haima arrived just as the Workshop concluded.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Puja Kapai Interview on the Problems with Domestic Helper Contracts in Hong Kong (SCMP)

Rachel Blundy
South China Morning Post
29 October 2016
Domestic helpers in Hong Kong continue to be at risk of abuse from their employers because their “cursory” employment contracts offer limited protection leaving them open to exploitation, a legal expert says.
     Migrant worker welfare groups have long called for better job safety guidelines for the city’s 320,000 foreign domestic helpers.
     But these calls have seemingly been met with resistance by the Hong Kong government. This month lawmakers asked to delay a ban proposed by the Philippine consulate on domestic helpers cleaning external windows, after several fell from window ledges, sometimes fatally.
     Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said more time was needed to draft the new measures, which are due to be reassessed in mid-November.
     Puja Kapai, director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law and associate law professor at the University of Hong Kong, said the employment contract still failed to stipulate maximum working hours and the extent of a helper’s duties.
     A report by Amnesty International in 2013 found that domestic helpers worked an average of 17 hours per day, but some were “on call” 24 hours a day because of the compulsory live-in rule.
     Kapai described the contract as “cursory” and said it offered limited protection for the employee.
     “The idea that a helper should be expected to be at the beck and call of an employer at any time of day is outrageous,” she said. “[The contract] is not a good mechanism to allow the helper to assess the extent of the burden she faces.”... Click here to read the full article.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Albert Chen Interview on Delaying Oath of Two Youngspiration Legislators (China Daily)

"Call to defer oath of pro-independence duo until court ruling"
Joseph Li
China Daily
25 October 2016
Hong Kong Basic Law Committee member Albert Chen Hung-yee said the president of the Legislative Council should defer administration of oath to Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, the two who have pro-Hong Kong independence tendencies, as the government initiated legal action to dispute their status as lawmakers.
     It is understandable that LegCo President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen permitted five lawmakers-elect to take the oath again after their initial oaths on Oct 12 were declared invalid, he said, adding that the LegCo chief should reconsider his decision in view of latest developments.
     Speaking to China Daily in an exclusive interview, Chen, who is also a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, noted that Leung Chung-hang and Yau had carried with them a pro-independence banner and uttered words that insulted China during their oath on Oct 12.
     He envisaged that the government would argue in court that based on their gestures and words, they were not swearing truthfully and their conduct amounted to the offense of "declining or neglecting to take an oath" as stated in Section 21 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance.
     The law also stipulates that once a person, who declines or neglects to take an oath, has entered office, he should vacate it. If he has not taken office, he should be disqualified from entering office.
     In Chen’s opinion, the LegCo president should defer administration of oath for Leung Chung-hang and Yau planned for Oct 26 until outcome of the court judgment.
     "In accordance with the Rules of Procedure, the LegCo president has the authority to set the agenda of LegCo meetings,” said the professor... Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Eric Cheung on Joint Enterprise Murder in Hong Kong (CCPL Occasional Paper)

Eric TM Cheung
CCPL Occasional Paper No. 28
October 2016
Abstract: Since 21 June 1984, Hong Kong courts have faithfully followed the Privy Council decision in Chan Wing Siu (which was adopted by our Court of Final Appeal in Sze Kwan Lung after the handover) to hold a secondary party liable for joint enterprise murder based on his participation with foresight of a real risk of his co-adverturer inflicting grievous bodily harm on the deceased victim, even if he did not so intend. On 18 February 2016, the UK Supreme Court and Privy Council held in Jogee that the common law took a “wrong turn” in Chan Wing Siu by equating foresight with intent rather than treating foresight as evidence of intent. This landmark decision has prompted our top court to grant leave to appeal on 17 May 2016 in Chan Kam Shing to re-examine the Chan Wing Siu doctrine of extended joint enterprise. While pending the appeal hearing, there is yet another interesting development in that the High Court of Australia decided on 24 August 2016 in Miller not to follow Jogee but affirmed Chan Wing Siu. With the help of volunteer law students, a comprehensive survey of our appellate court decisions (both reported and unreported) before and after Chan Wing Siu on joint criminal enterprise resulting in the victim’s death has been done. This paper traces the relevant history of development of the doctrine of extended criminal joint enterprise in Hong Kong and concludes that our top Court should now depart from Chan Wing Siu and Sze Kwan Lung and reinstate the mens rea requirement of intention instead of foresight for joint enterprise murder.  Click here to download the full paper.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Eric Ip on the Foreign Relations Law of Hong Kong and Macau (ICLQ)

Eric C Ip
October 2016, Vol. 64, Issue 4, pp. 953-968
Abstract: The increasing importance of subnational governments in interstate affairs calls for international and comparative law scholars to take subnational foreign relations law more seriously. This article conceives this law as the legal rules that regulate the vertical allocation of foreign relations powers within and across States, and constructs an analytical framework that addresses the questions of why any sovereign would grant extensive foreign relations powers to constituent entities and how such an arrangement plays out in actual practice. This study takes a comparative approach to case studies of the Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of the People's Republic of China: Hong Kong and Macau, which are known for their unusually extensive paradiplomatic powers, which not only defy conventional categories but also surpass those of other substates.

Monday, October 24, 2016

CL Lim and Sarah Grimmer to Deliver Belt and Road Lecture in New International Law Lecture Series (CMS)

On 3 November 2016, 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm, Professor CL Lim and Ms Sarah Jane Grimmer, Secretary General of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre will deliver the inaugural lecture in a new International Law Lecture Series launched by the international law firm, CMS Hong Kong.  The first lecture will be on China's One Belt One Road initiative and opening remarks will be made by Ms Olga Boltenko of CMS Hong Kong.  Attendance is free of charge but is reserved on a first-come-first-served basis.  Seats limited.  The lecture will be followed by refreshments and light snacks.  For more information, click here.

Melissa Loja Comments on the Final Award in the Philippines/China Spratly Islands Arbitration (ODIL)

Melissa Loja (PhD Candidate)
Ocean Development & International Law
2016, Vol. 47, Issue 4, pp 309-326
Abstract: This article addresses the question whether Spratly Islands is “in law a unit … [such] that the fate of the principal part may involve the rest” (Max Huber). The question was pivotal in the Philippines/China Arbitration. The Tribunal addressed it from the perspective of the archipelago provision in the Law of the Sea Convention. This article approaches the question from the perspective of the Japanese Peace Treaty.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

New Book: Regulating Government Ethics (Dr Wu Chonghao, PhD 2014)

Dr Wu Chonghao (PhD 2014)
October 2016, CUP, 314 pp
Description: This book examines government ethics rules and their enforcement in China (as well as in three other jurisdictions for comparative insights). Empirical research methods (involving primarily semi-structured interviews) were employed to explore the dynamics of actual enforcement policies and practices in China. This book formed an analytical framework through reviewing existing theories on government ethics regulation and general regulation literature and analyzing government ethics rules in the US, the UK, and Hong Kong. Using this framework, it seeks to explore the patterns and features of government ethics rules and their enforcement in China. It shows that the inadequacy of government ethics rules per se and the deterrence-oriented criminal enforcement style of government ethics regulation are important but ignored elements of the problem of rampant corruption in China. Such analysis has generated important and practical policy implications for China's government ethics rules and their enforcement.
  • Provides a new perspective on China's fight against corruption, including bribery, embezzlement and fraud
  • Presents a systematic analysis of the government ethics rules in China, such as areas where it is not regulated and where existing rules are not comprehensive
  • Includes rich empirical data on anti-corruption enforcement that provides a better understanding of government ethics rules in China

Saturday, October 22, 2016

New Funding for Two HKU Law Knowledge Exchange Impact Projects 2016-2017

Congratulations to Benny Tai and Amanda Whitfort who were awarded HKU Knowledge Exchange Impact Project Funding 2016-2017.  Each were awarded approximately HKD100,000.  Tai's project, "Post-exam Rule of Law Seminars in Secondary Schools", is part of the Faculty of Law's Rule of Law Education Project which started in 2012 and was recently awarded the Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award 2016.  HKU law students serve as interns to the Project and will conduct school visits and lessons to up to 2,000 secondary school students at 10 to 12 schools.  Whitfort's project, "Wildlife Crime: Knowledge Transfer for Informed Sentencing", aims to develop and provide resources (e.g. dossiers and workshops) to those prosecuting wildlife crime to improve their capacity to inform and assist the court in these cases.
    The Faculty of Law recently published a booklet titled, Knowledge Exchange and Impact 2016.  It profiles 11 case studies and 22 colleagues whose research has had impact in the local and overseas community. The impact has been in the areas of human rights, community legal information, judicial studies, children's issues, animal welfare, competition law, clinical legal education, financial technologies, rule of law education, political reform and actuarial assessment of damages for personal injuries.  In my opening message as Associate Dean (Research), I wrote
"Knowledge exchange (KE) is the sharing of knowledge with non-academic communities to realise meaningful research impact. For legal academics, those communities typically include the courts, government bureaus and bodies, international organisations, law reform agencies, legal practitioners, non-governmental organisations, educational institutions, and, of course, individuals with legal problems.

Our Faculty has a long track record of KE with local and international communities, and this booklet captures more recent impactful work undertaken by colleagues. Going forwards, the Faculty’s KE strategy aims for more international impact that directly contributes to law and policy making. With the assistance of our KE Manager, we will continue our pro-active approach of identifying evidence of and opportunities for research impact.
The booklet can be read and downloaded here.

Friday, October 21, 2016

CL Lim on Chinese Citizenship and the Hong Kong Booksellers Affair (LQR)

"The Sino-British treaty and the Hong Kong booksellers affair"
CL Lim
Law Quarterly Review
October 2016, Issue 132, pp 552-556
Recent events in Hong Kong raise questions which recall the post-war prosecution of the famous Nazi propaganda broadcaster, William Joyce (Joyce v DPP [1946] A.C. 347; [1946] 1 All E.R. 186). Joyce was an American citizen who had acquired a British passport by stating, be it by deliberate misrepresentation or simple mistake, that he had been born a British subject. Pleading his alien status was his strongest defence to a charge of treason committed outside the realm for it would then need to be asked how an alien could be guilty of treason in these circumstances. However, since he had for long lived within the realm and acquired a valid British passport, that defence did not save him. Lord Jowitt L.C., who wrote for the majority in the House of Lords, considered that the true question was not where treason can be committed but by whom (at 357). Their Lordships held that acquiring a British passport, by whatever means, entitled Joyce to the Crown’s protection and thus having sought such protection he owed a reciprocal duty of allegiance to the Crown. The majority of their Lordships considered that this duty of fidelity was owed for as long as the passport remained valid. Lord Porter dissented on the ground that it was for the jury to determine whether William Joyce had renounced British protection by that time, for, while it was assumed that he had entered Germany with it, the passport was never found, and Joyce himself claimed that by then he had decided to become a German citizen. The trial judge had instead directed the jury that the question of Joyce’s continuing allegiance was an issue of law, and because of that Lord Porter would have allowed Joyce’s appeal on the ground that the jury had been misdirected (at 374–382). 
      A similar issue now arises in Hong Kong under Chinese law, in respect of those Hong Kong Chinese residents whom China has for long considered to be "Chinese Hong Kong compatriots". In the recent Hong Kong booksellers affair, the police had received various reports last year concerning an eventual total of five missing persons who had disappeared in the period between October and December. All five were connected to the same Hong Kong bookstore. Allegedly, three had disappeared while present on the Chinese mainland, one while in Thailand and, in the final case of Mr Lee Po, from Hong Kong itself. The whole affair received global press coverage amid ample public speculation that Mr Lee in particular had perhaps been unlawfully removed to the mainland by the Chinese authorities. Mr Lee denies this but his case culminated in the British Foreign Secretary’s report to Parliament in February this year that, although "the full facts of the case remain unclear", "our current information indicates that Mr. Lee was removed to the mainland without any due process under HKSAR law". Mr Hammond concluded that "this constitutes a serious breach" of the Sino-British Joint Declaration (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Six Monthly Report on Hong Kong, July to December 2015, 11 February 2016, at p.3)... Full article available on Westlaw.

CL Lim on Trade Law and the Vienna Convention's Systemic Integration Clause (new book chapter)

"Trade Law and the Vienna Treaty Convention's Systemic Integration Clause"
CL Lim
in J Chaisse & TY Lin (eds), International Economic Law and Governance (OUP 2016) ch 8
Introduction: Professor Mitsuo Matsushita has shown an abiding interest in the systemic problems faced by the multilateral trading system. I recall his interventions on GATT Article XX and, in particular, his keen interest in the challenges posed by regional trade agreements (RTAs). He has spoken often about the RTA problem during events held by the Asia WTO Research Network over the past decade. This tribute to him discusses Article 31 (1) (3) (c) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), or the ‘systemic integration clause’, in light of his concerns. 
     Article 31 (3) (c) has been discussed in the WTO jurisprudence. Panels and the Appellate Body have occasionally had to address questions about the integration of the WTO legal order with WTO Members’ other international legal obligations. But – with some notable exceptions – it is an issue that could benefit from greater attention still. Such benign neglect may be questioned, since this clause could provide a broader approach to external norms than Article XX’s General Exceptions Clause in resolving conflicts between WTO and non-WTO treaties, and between WTO treaty norms and a whole range of non-treaty-derived norms. The utility of the clause in dealing with conflicts between WTO and RTA rules has been a subject of special neglect. 
     The Vienna Convention’s ‘systemic integration clause’, as we shall call it, read together with the Appellate Body’s famous pronouncement in US – Gasoline that the GATT is not to be read in clinical isolation from public international law, deserves close attention as the multilateral trading system continues to grapple with non-trade regulatory issues and the increasing complexity of the WTO’s interrelationship with the RTAs. However, while the existence and applicability of the systemic integration clause in the WTO acquis has been acknowledged and upheld by the Appellate Body, the full manner in which it could be ‘operationalized’ to borrow Philippe Sands’ terminology, remains a matter of conjecture. Part of that difficulty lies as I have said in an incomplete exploration of the clause itself in the trade literature, but it also lies in the clause’s very narrow application thus far in the WTO’s case law.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Kelvin Kwok on the Standard of Proof in Competition Proceedings (LQR)

"The standard of proof in civil competition proceedings"
Kelvin Kwok
Law Quarterly Review
October 2016, Issue 132, pp 541-547
Abstract: Discusses the relevant Hong Kong decisions (of the Court of First Instance recently in Television Broadcasts Ltd v Communications Authority [2016] 2 HKLRD 41; of the Court of Final Appeal in Koon Wing Yee v Insider Dealing Tribunal (2008) 11 HKCFAR 170) and UK decisions (of the Competition Appeal Tribunal in Napp Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd v Director General of Fair Trading [2002] CAT 1; JJB Sports plc v Office of Fair Trading [2004] CAT 17; of the House of Lords in Re H (Minors) [1996] AC 563; Re D [2008] 1 WLR 1499; Re B (Children) (Care Proceedings: Standard of Proof) [2009] 1 AC 11) on the issue of the appropriate standard of proof in civil competition law proceedings. Argues that the application of the civil standard of proof on the balance of probabilities in civil competition law proceedings classified as “criminal” for human rights purposes can be supported by two relevant factors: (i) the workability of the standards in light of the technical nature of the evidence involved; and (ii) the severity of the potential penalty.  Click here to download the paper.

Albert Chen Discusses Government's Court Challenge to Re-taking of Oath by Youngspiration LegCo Members (RTHK Backchat)

Today's RTHK Radio 3's morning programme, Backchat, discussed the latest controversy concerning the two elected Youngspiration members who failed to take the oath of office in the Legislative Council (LegCo) on 12 October 2016.   Professor Albert Chen, Cheng Lan Yue Professor of Constitutional Law, joined the panel and explained the government's position.  He noted that section 21 of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Cap 11) deems a person, who declines or neglects to take an oath duly requested and required, to be disqualified from entering upon his office.  He also said that in addition to bringing a judicial review, the government was also proceeding by section 73 of the Legislative Council Ordinance (Cap 542) which allows any elector or the Secretary for Justice to apply to the High Court against any person who acts or purports to be a LegCo members on the ground that they are disqualified from acting as such.  If proven that the person acted as a LegCo member (or claimed to be entitled to so act) while disqualified from acting in that office, the court may make a declaration to that effect, grant an injunction restraining the person, and order the person to pay such sum not exceeding $5000 for each occasion he so acted while disqualified.  Click here to listen to the discussion.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Arner, Barberis & Buckley's "FinTech, RegTech and the Reconceptualisation of Financial Regulation"

"FinTech, RegTech and the Reconceptualization of Financial Regulation"
Douglas Arner, Janos Barberis (PhD candidate), and Ross Buckley
October 2016, SSRN
Northwestern Journal of International Law & Business (forthcoming)
Abstract: The regulatory changes and technological developments following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis are fundamentally changing the nature of financial markets, services and institutions. At the juncture of these two phenomena lies regulatory technology or ‘RegTech’ – the use of technology, particularly information technology, in the context of regulatory monitoring, reporting and compliance. 
     For policymakers and regulators, the challenge of regulating rapidly transforming financial systems requires increasing the use of and reliance on RegTech. Whilst the principal regulatory objectives (e.g. financial stability, prudential safety and soundness, consumer protection and market integrity, and market competition and development) remain, their means of application are increasingly becoming inadequate. RegTech developments are leading towards a paradigm shift necessitating the reconceptualization of financial regulation. 
     RegTech to date has been focused on the digitization of manual reporting and compliance processes, for example in the context of know-your-customer requirements. This offers tremendous cost savings to the financial services industry and regulators. However, the potential of RegTech is far greater – it has the potential to enable a close to real-time and proportionate regulatory regime that identifies and addresses risk while also facilitating far more efficient regulatory compliance. 
     We argue that the transformative nature of technology will only be captured by a new approach that sits at the nexus between data, digital identity and regulation. We seek to expose the inadequacy and lack of ambition of simply digitizing analogue processes in a digital financial world. The development of financial technology (‘FinTech’), the rapid developments in emerging markets, and the recent pro-active stance of regulators in developing regulatory sandboxes, all represent a unique combination of events, which could facilitate the transition from one regulatory model to another. This paper sets the foundation for a practical understanding of RegTech and proposes sequenced reforms that could benefit regulators, industry and entrepreneurs alike in the financial sector and other industries.  Click here to download the full paper.  The paper was cited recently in Andrew Cornell, "Robocops on the regulatory beat", ANZ BlueNotes, 12 October 2016.  The paper is the fifth most downloaded paper in the SSRN Legal Scholarship Network in the past 60 days.  Arner and Barberis presented the paper at a seminar organised by the Asian Institutional of International Financial Law on 10 November 2016 at 12:15pm, 11/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.   See above for the video of this seminar. The paper was cited by John Humphries in his Forbes article, "The Rise of RegTech and What it Means for Your Business", 14 December 2016.

Buckley and Arner's "From Crisis to Crisis" Now Available in Chinese

Ross Buckley and Douglas Arner's influential 2011 work, From Crisis to Crisis: The Global Financial System and Regulatory Failure (Wolters Kluwer) has now been translated into Chinese.  The 360-page book was translated by Dr Gao Xiang of the College of Comparative Law at the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) and published by CUPL Press.  In Dan Ciuriak's 2014 review of the book in Canadian Business Law Journal, the book is described as follows:
"The authors approach their subject from the humane and sensible perspective that financial markets serve important purposes besides the enrichment of financial institutions and their traders. In this regard, they place well-founded charges that the modern system has failed badly, creating havoc for the productive system, while enriching (at least some of) the wreakers of that havoc.  The study of economics started out grounded in moral philosophy and economists should welcome this invasion of their turf, if only for the pointed reminder."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Launch of the Legal English in Hong Kong Website

Learning ‘legal English’, the specialized language that students encounter in law school, is particularly challenging. Law students must learn to use English forms and structures in such a way as to meet the expectations of members of the legal academic community, consistent with the conventions of the legal discipline. Learning legal English is therefore a process which involves elements of both legal expertise and language expertise. As a result, both lawyers and language teachers have something to contribute in order to support this learning process. This interdisciplinary project combines the expertise of lawyers and language teachers/applied linguists to develop a digital multimedia resource for legal English based on an analysis of the language needs of Hong Kong law students. This resource will target the most common tasks and genres for law students, e.g. essays, legal problem questions, memoranda, dissertations, oral mooting, and provide input in two forms: 1) edited video interviews with legal experts providing advice on legal writing and legal argument; 2) task-based activities created by applied linguists providing language-focused extensions on experts’ observations.
      The aims of the project are three-fold:
  1. To provide an in-depth analysis of the English language needs of Hong Kong law students; 
  2. To develop video-based teaching materials to target these needs, including expert videos, language-focused activities and resources; 
  3. To promote the use of these language-focused materials by law professors in legal skills and content courses.
The team members are Christoph Hafner, John Burke, Katherine Lynch, Anne Scully-Hill and Rajesh Sharma.  For a sample of one of the instructional video for students, see below.  The new website can be accessed here.

Dan Matthews Speaking at the University of Helsinki on Sovereignty in the Age of the Anthropocene

Dr Dan Matthews will be speaking at the University of Helsinki on 19 October 2016 on "The Sense of Sovereignty in the Age of the Anthropocene". The Political Constitutional Theory (PolCon) website describes the seminar as follows:
"The ‘Anthropocene’ names a new climatic regime in which human activity has begun to shape the Earth’s geological, ecological and atmospheric constitution. If the sixteenth century was marked by the West’s ‘discovery’ of new areas of the globe, along with distinct modes of its inhabitation, climatologists have today discovered a new relation that the human has to the earth and its atmosphere. The fact that humans have become a geological force is attributable to the impact of ‘modernity’, the result of industrialisation, technological progress and an enormous expansion of the human population. The political exigencies that this new age of discovery provokes are well known, precipitous and unsettling. This paper will offer some preliminary thoughts on how the changing reality to which the ‘Anthropocene’ signals challenges dominant modes of political and legal thinking. In particular, the paper will suggest that ‘sovereignty’ a concept deeply embedded with the history of modernity and still, in so many ways, constituting the contemporary world, deserves renewed, critical attention. A concept born as the last ‘age of discovery’ got into its stride, can sovereignty still constitute the limit of our legal and political horizons in the age of the Anthropocene?"
For more details, click here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rule of Law Education (ROLE) Project Awarded HKU Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award 2016

We are pleased to announce that the HKU Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award 2016 of the Faculty of Law has been awarded to the Rule of Law Education Project (ROLE).   Launched in April 2012, the project has trained numerous Liberal Studies teachers, secondary school students and social workers and published useful materials on the rule of law.  ROLE has helped to spread knowledge of the rule of law to the public at large. Congratulations to Benny Tai, Johannes Chan, Karen Kong and Isabella Liu.  To learn more about ROLE and watch HKU law students educate secondary school students on the rule of law, watch the video below (in Cantonese).  The ROLE website can be accessed here.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

HKU Law Lectures for Practitioners 2016 (28 Oct 2016)

Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong, 
on behalf of Hong Kong Law Journal Ltd
28 October 2016 (Friday) 
11/F Academic Conference Room
Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus
University of Hong Kong

Morning Session (9:30 am - 12:45 pm)
9:00-9:30 am 

9:30-10:30 am 
"Litigation and the Competition Commission" 
Lester Lee of the Competition Commission 

10:30-11:30 am 
"Privacy and Media Intrusion" 
Allan Chiang (former Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data) 

11:30-11:45 am 
Coffee Break 

11:45-12:45 pm 
"Periodical Payment Orders in Personal Injuries for Future Pecuniary Loss" 
Norman Hui of The University of Hong Kong 

12:45-2:00 pm 
Afternoon Session (2:00 pm - 5:15 pm)

2:00-3:00 pm 
"Current Issues on Takeover Regulation" 
Gail Humphryes of The Securities and Futures Commission 

3:00-4:00 pm 
"The HKEX/SFC Joint Consultation on Listing Regulation" 
Syren Johnstone of The University of Hong Kong/Asian Institute of International Financial Law 

4:00-4:15 pm 
Coffee Break 

4:15-5:15 pm 
"Market Misconduct - Recent Developments" 
Nigel Davis of The University of Hong Kong

Fees: Morning Session or Afternoon Session - HK$800 per session. Whole Day - HK$1,400 including lunch. For registration or enquiries please contact Ms Lydia Bute, 10/F, Faculty of Law Building, Centennial Campus, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong. Tel: 3917 4323 / Fax: 2559 3543 / Email:

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hualing Fu Interviewed on Chinese Corruption and Spying Cases

"China anti-corruption campaign backfires"
Hudson Lockett
Financial Times
10 October 2016
Xi Jinping’s high profile anti-corruption campaign has fallen short of its stated goal and appears to be doing more harm than good to the image of China’s Communist party, according to new academic research and an analysis of official statistics.
The Chinese president’s drive against graft, now nearly four years old, is one of the most powerful and far-reaching campaigns in the country since Mao Zedong’s death in 1976. But a new study suggests that it has backfired, with citizens often blaming local graft on the central government rather than on regional authorities, while an FT analysis indicates that the odds of officials being punished for corruption are slim.
“I don’t see any clear political will” to seriously punish corrupt officials at the grassroots level, said Fu Hualing, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong. “Maybe they understand that is probably very destructive if China does that in every county, every district,” he said. “The whole country would probably be in chaos.”... Click here to read the full article.

Louise Watt
The Washington Post
6 October 2016
Nine days had passed since Jeff Gillis, at home in Houston, Texas, had last heard from his wife. During that phone call, she told Gillis she was extending her business trip in China, but he grew anxious. He filed a missing person’s report with U.S. consular officials whose response left him flabbergasted: His wife, a business consultant, had been detained by Chinese state security agents almost two weeks earlier.
     Now, 18 months later, Phan Phan-Gillis is still detained, charged with spying and awaiting trial in China, consigned to an unknown fate in a highly opaque and impenetrable legal system in which even the charges brought against her remain cloudy. Gillis says that his wife appears to have been accused of spying against China two decades ago, although even her Chinese lawyer says he has been barred by Chinese law from providing details.
     Despite the scant information, Gillis has set about trying to prove his 56-year-old wife’s innocence. He hopes documents he has uncovered will help free Phan-Gillis, known as Sandy to friends. Her lawyer says her trial has been postponed indefinitely from its original Sept. 19 court date.
     The case speaks to both rising suspicion between Beijing and Washington and China’s drive to pursue those accused of crimes occurring outside its borders. Gillis says part of the charge relates to alleged spying carried out within the United States.
      “China probably is now more aggressive in pursuing anyone who can be regarded as harming China’s interests,” said Fu Hualing, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong.
     “If they think there’s a violation of Chinese criminal law and the impact is felt within China they are willing to pursue that and they think that they probably have the capacity to do that now,” he said. “Imagine: The case happened in the ‘90s. It’s not like it happened recently.”... Click here to read the full article.

HKU Faculty of Law Remembers Dr Cheng Yu Tung

Cheng Yu Tung Tower
The Faculty of Law is profoundly saddened by the passing of one of its best friends, Dr Cheng Yu Tung. Dr Cheng was a founding entrepreneur of Hong Kong. His vision and determination have helped to shape the development of Hong Kong into a vibrant international financial centre. We are truly honoured and privileged to have benefitted from Dr Cheng’s visionary efforts which came in the form of his very generous gift and support for legal education. A modern state-of-the-art building which proudly bears his name, the Cheng Yu Tung Tower, has been the new home of the Faculty of Law at the Centennial Campus since 2012. It is the envy of visiting faculty from around the world.
      The generosity of Dr Cheng has also allowed the Faculty to set up the Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professorship and the Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Fellowship, These elite Programmes bring in legal scholars of international eminence to contribute to our teaching and research and to foster collaboration with the very best universities in the world. Back home, the benefaction has enabled us to attract very senior leaders in cutting-edge fields, like securities and finance, to join the Faculty. They bring with them a wealth of experience as well as the potential for collaborative and interdisciplinary research at the frontiers of legal knowledge such as surrogacy, and law and technology. Many students continue to benefit from support in the form of scholarships and sponsorships. With Dr Cheng’s generous gift, the Faculty will continue to bring in top-notch international scholars to nurture our own students, and so carry on this precious legacy of Dr Cheng.
      Our immediate past Dean, Professor Johannes Chan, who cemented the benefaction and oversaw the completion of the Cheng Yu Tung Tower, expresses the sentiments of the Faculty when he says: “Dr Cheng’s generous benefaction to the Faculty and strong support to legal education are a testimony to his vision which spurs the aspirations of generations of law students and legal scholars to contribute to Hong Kong and the international community. His belief in the rule of law as the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s prosperity, as inscribed at the Cheng Yu Tung Tower, will always be fondly remembered”.
      We extend our deepest condolences to Dr Cheng’s family.
Faculty of Law
The University of Hong Kong
11 Oct 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

Arner and Soares's Report on Latin America and a Globalised RMB (Atlantic Council)

A Globalized Renminbi: Will it Reshape Latin America?
Douglas Arner and Andre Soares
October 2016, Atlantic Council, 12 pp
In the past four decades, beginning with Deng Xiaoping’s gradual opening in 1978, China has reemerged as one of the world’s most important economies. Its economic, geopolitical, and financial rise is underscored by key milestones: joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001; surpassing the United States, Germany and Japan to become the world’s most significant exporting nation; and becoming one of the world’s top three global sources of outward foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2015, China became a net foreign investor, sending more FDI out than it took in. China is well on its way to overtaking the United States as the world’s largest economy in absolute gross domestic product terms, and has already done so on purchasing power parity measures.
     Its economic and financial importance in Latin America echoes trends on the global stage. China is now among the three most significant trading partners for the region, eclipsing the European Union (EU) in 2012. Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Argentina count China as their top export destination, as well as a major source of imports. Chinese investment has also surged, with Brazil topping the list as the region’s leading destination for Chinese FDI. 
     China’s rise in the global economy is reflected by changes in the international significance of its currency, the renminbi (RMB). This is not surprising. Currency internationalization is a natural step in the evolution of a leading economy. The international use of the dollar, for example, grew out of the United States’s rapid economic emergence at the beginning of the 20th century, although it became the world’s leading currency only in the aftermath of World War II. Likewise, the international significance of the Japanese yen grew out of the country’s rapid economic ascent in the 1970s and 1980s.
      With the October 2016 inclusion of the RMB in the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket of major international currencies, joining the US dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen, and the British pound sterling, China is now among a select group of countries whose currency is recognized as an international reserve asset. It adds credibility to a currency still observed with some skepticism in many parts of the world. 
      While China is now firmly established as a leading driver in the global economy, the ramifications of the renminbi’s internationalization are still evolving, especially for emerging markets such as those of Latin America. To the extent that Chinese authorities undertake additional domestic reforms—in areas including the capital account, financial market, and exchange rate policies—this may give other economies, including Latin American countries, more confidence to use the RMB for trade and finance transactions.
     If history repeats itself, it will just be a matter of time until China’s currency is widely used internationally. But the story is not that simple. The Chinese economy continues to be characterized by a high degree of government involvement, including with its exchange rate. This gives pause to the many governments and private businesses who question the possible implications for market behavior. 
      How relevant are these policies to Latin American countries? With major economic relationships with China, most of the region’s largest economies are likely to see both more businesses trading directly in the RMB and more Chinese-originated FDI using the RMB. To encourage this and manage possible liquidity issues, China has already signed currency swap agreements with countries such as Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. What do these agreements actually mean and what are the risks for businesses that traditionally have depended on trading and investing in dollars? What measures could Latin American countries and businesses take—individually and collectively—to adapt to China’s changing economic landscape and the opportunities and risks that come with greater use of the RMB?... Click here to download the full report.  See also Soares and Arner's article "China's RMB International Outreach Zeroes in on Latin America" published in Global Trade on 28 October 2016.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Peter Chau on Bennett's Expressive Justification of Punishment (Crim L & Philo)

"Bennett's Expressive Justification of Punishment"
Peter Chau
Criminal Law and Philosophy
2016, First Online May 2016, pp 1-19
Abstract: In this paper, I will critically assess the expressive justification of punishment recently offered by Christopher Bennett in The Apology Ritual and a number of papers. I will first draw a distinction between three conceptions of expression: communicative, motivational, and symbolic. After briefly demonstrating the difficulties of using the first two conceptions of expression to ground punishment and showing that Bennett does not ultimately rely on those two conceptions, I argue that Bennett’s account does not succeed because he fails to establish the following claims: (1) punishment is the only symbolically adequate response to a wrongdoing; and (2) punishment is permissible if it is the only symbolically adequate response to a wrongdoing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dan Matthews' Nomospheric Inquiry into Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement (S&LS)

"Narrative, Space and Atmosphere: A Nomospheric Inquiry into Hong Kong’s Pro-democracy ‘Umbrella Movement’"
2016, Online First May 2016
Abstract: Since the financial crash of 2008, the strategy of occupation has been widely deployed as a means of expressing and mobilizing political dissent. Within legal studies, responses to this mode of protest have remained wedded to a statist perspective that fails to assess the normative commitments immanent to occupations themselves. Rather than examining the strategy of occupation through a legalistic lens, this article approaches a recent occupation through the theoretical apparatus of the ‘nomosphere’. This term – originally coined by David Delaney but substantially expanded here – allows for an assessment of the spatial, narrative and atmospheric orderings of the Umbrella Movement, a pro-democracy campaign that sustained a 79-day occupation in Hong Kong’s city centre in late 2014. This ‘nomospheric inquiry’ assesses the forms of ordering that animated the movement from within and seeks to foreground the lived and felt reality of the occupation rather than focus on its legalistic or constitutional significance alone.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Gal and Cheng on Aggregate Concentration and Competition Law (JAE)

Michal S Gal and Thomas K Cheng
2016, Vol. 4, Issue 2, pp 282-322
Abstract: Competition law is generally focused on competition in a market. Yet, as recent economic studies have clearly indicated, one of the main sources of competition concerns of jurisdictions around the world is the impact of high levels of aggregate concentration in their markets, when a small group of economic entities controls a large part of the economic activity through holdings in many markets. High levels of aggregate concentration can significantly impact competition and welfare. On the one hand, conglomerates’ substantial resources and varied experiences, as well as their economies of scale and scope, often enable them to enter markets more readily than other firms, especially when entry barriers are high. On the other hand, high levels of aggregate concentration raise significant competitive concerns. Most importantly, oligopolistic coordination in and across markets as well as entry barriers into markets might be increased. These effects, in turn, might lead to stagnation and poor utilization of resources, which adversely affect growth and welfare. Another major concern is a political economy one: given their size and economic heft, large conglomerates may attempt to translate their economic power into political power in order to create, protect and entrench their privileged positions. Given these effects, the article attempts to explore the weight given—if at all—to aggregate concentration in the application of competition laws around the world. The analysis is based, inter alia, on the experiences of 35 different jurisdictions in dealing with aggregate concentration through competition law, based on a survey performed with the assistance of the UN Conference on Trade and Development.