Friday, January 27, 2017

Kung Hei Fat Choy 2017

HKU Legal Scholarship Blog wishes everyone a Happy Chinese New Year.  We mark this year's Year of the Rooster with Professor Richard Cullen's splendid annual cartoon:
"Gong Hei, Gong Hei" by Richard Cullen

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hualing Fu: China's Anti-Corruption Campaign "Coming to an End" (Financial Times)

"China corruption prosecutions drop for first time in five years"
Hudson Lockett
Financial Times
25 January 2017
China’s courts prosecuted fewer officials for corruption for the first time in five years in 2016, marking a substantial shift for President Xi Jinping’s high-profile anti-corruption campaign ahead of a period of change for the Chinese Communist party’s leadership.
     The number of officials expelled from the party and handed over to China’s courts for prosecution fell more than 20 per cent last year to 11,000, according to figures from the annual work report of Wang Qishan, head of the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and Mr Xi’s right-hand man. “By and large the campaign that we have witnessed against corruption is coming to an end,” said Fu Hualing, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong. “Now it’s really about political discipline.”... Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Clement Chen on the Role of Chinese Courts in Upholding Freedom of Information (Tsinghua China LR)

Tsinghua China Law Review
2016, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp 79-138
Abstract: This paper explores the inconspicuous but increasingly important role of Chinese courts in handling the often conflicting goals of promoting government transparency and maintaining social stability within the Party-state context. The Regulation on Open Government Information created an unprecedented right of access to information with the potential for improving administrative accountability, but established a peculiar exemption of social stability. “Stability maintenance” has long been an overwhelming political task for Chinese state organs, and has profoundly affected legal practices, posing a challenge to judicial control of abuse of the aforementioned discretionary exemption. Added to the challenge is the obscurity in the standards for judicial review of discretion. 
     The paper reviews how the courts respond to this challenge by focusing on representative cases concerning government claims that disclosure would endanger social stability. It finds that in referential cases adopted in official publications, the courts have developed creative approaches to scrutiny. However, other sources indicate that meaningful review is largely absent from cases involving appropriations of private properties and those concerning large-scale maladministration. It argues that the judicial inaction can be attributed to two concerns underlying the common practice of the stability maintenance system, i.e. containing collective mobilization and inhibiting expression of public mistrust in governance. The courts demonstrate their ability in judicializing the political concept of social stability in the context of right to information, and thus assume more than a deferential role in the politics of stability maintenance. Nevetheless, they remain captive to the imperative of securing core regime interests. The liberalization implications of transparency reform are hence minimized through the judicial process.  Click here to read the full article.

Anne Cheung on Press Freedom and the HKU Injunction Case (M&ALR)

Media & Arts Law Review
2016, Vol. 21, Issue 2, pp 183-198
Abstract: English common law has long been skeptical, or even hostile, to any forms of prior restraint on publication and expression. The root can be traced back to William Blackstone’s writing in the eighteenth century, and the belief is premised on the necessity to search for truth and to guard against the abuse of power. This closely guarded assumption has resulted in the courts often imposing a higher threshold and exercising careful scrutiny when granting any prior restraint affecting freedom of expression. Yet this poses a vexing problem when handling applications for interlocutory injunctions. On the one hand, freedom of expression arguably warrants stricter scrutiny by the court in any form of prior restraint. On the other hand, an assessment of the merits of a case is deliberately kept to a minimum when granting an interlocutory injunction because of the urgency of the matter in dispute, leaving full consideration for trial. Thus, an interlocutory injunction which has an impact on freedom of expression exemplifies the inherent tension in prior restraint applications. While the United Kingdom has raised the threshold for such cases under section 12(3) of the Human Rights Act 1998 (UK), Hong Kong is left to figure out its own legal standard. 
     This difficult task is well illustrated in the litigation of The University of Hong Kong v Hong Kong Commercial Broadcasting Co Ltd and the Person or Persons Unknown (‘HKU case’), which was an application for an interlocutory injunction to stop further leaking of confidential information based on the doctrine of breach of confidence. The case started out with the refusal of appointment of a well-known legal scholar to be the pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong (‘HKU’) by the University Council (‘Council’) in 2015. Reasons were not given by the Council but there was widespread speculation that the refusal of appointment was politically motivated. Following a press conference given by a student member of the Council recounting what certain members had said in a closed-door meeting, secret tapes and audio recordings of the said Council meeting were subsequently given by a secret source to the first defendant. The latter then broadcast certain segments of the meeting conversation, making the audio recording accessible on its Commercial Radio station website and Facebook page. HKU quickly applied for an ex parte interim injunction based on breach of confidence to stop the broadcasting of the audio recording of the Council meeting by the first defendant, but was challenged only with further leaking of the audio recording by the second defendant(s) (the ‘Unknown Person(s)’) in overseas websites based in Taiwan and Sweden. By the time the interlocutory injunction was before Lam J, much of what was said in the relevant Council meeting was already in the public domain. 
     Facing this application for an interlocutory injunction, Lam J did not consider it necessary to apply for a higher threshold despite the fact that freedom of expression is a constitutional right under article 16 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights. Rather, he has decided to ‘suitably adjust and apply’ the traditional common law approach in American Cyanamid v Ethicon Ltd. At the end of the day, he granted the interlocutory injunction and ordered an expedited trial. 
     Although Lam J’s decision in applying American Cyanamid in a flexible manner is sufficiently plausible from a strict legal perspective, I argue that his decision and reasoning are far from persuasive in the given context. His narrow interpretation on what constitutes public interest, which is an essential element to be considered in the tests of breach of confidence and balance of convenience in American Cyanamid, has titled the balance unduly in favour of the plaintiff. In addition, the judgment has not only revealed the unsatisfactory state of unstructured balancing of private interest and fundamental right in interlocutory applications, it has also highlighted the challenge that internet disclosure and leaking has posed to the practical effectiveness of an (interlocutory) injunction order. 
     The discussion starts with a summary of the refusal of the appointment saga, followed by an analysis of the decision with a focus on the balance between the public interest in upholding confidentiality and the public interest in disclosure as played out in the analysis on the legal doctrine of breach of confidence and the application of the principle of balance of convenience.  Click here to download the article.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Jerome Cohen on China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the ICCPR (Video of HKU Seminar)

Professor Jerome Cohen of NYU Law School and Faculty Director of the US-Asian Law Institute recently delivered a lecture at the Centre for Chinese Law, HKU Faculty of Law, on 12 January 2017. The lecture was chaired by Professor Cohen's former student, Cheng Chan Yue Professor in Constitutional Law, Professor Albert Chen.  The abstract for the speech is as follows:
On the 50th anniversary of the creation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, I will discuss China’s relevance to the UN’s quest for universal ratification of this major human rights treaty. In view of the ICCPR’s guarantees of freedoms of expression and religion, the restrictions that it imposes on the power of governments to punish people arbitrarily, and its strong support for the right to self-determination of all peoples, why did the People’s Republic sign the Covenant in 1998? Why then has it failed to ratify the ICCPR and what are the prospects? I will compare Beijing’s record with the very different position of the Republic of China on Taiwan and also refer to the unusual situation of Hong Kong (and Macao), a special administrative region of the People’s Republic that is protected by the ICCPR even in the absence of ratification by the central government.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Amanda Whitfort Awarded HKU Knowledge Exchange Excellence Award 2016

Congratulations to Amanda Whitfort on winning the University of Hong Kong Knowledge Exchange Excellence Award 2016.  The award was for Amanda's work on the "Review of Animal Welfare Legislation in Hong Kong".  This university-wide award was introduced in 2015-16 and has only been awarded twice.  The award recognises research that has made a significant impact in society.  The summary of the impact of her work which began in 2008 when she was awarded a Public Policy Research grant by the Research Grants Council to conduct her study of animal protection legislation is as follows:
This research provided the first and, to date, only empirical study of the adequacy of animal protection legislation in Hong Kong. The study generated widespread public discussion and impetus for law reform and was used by the Agricultural Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) to introduce new legislation controlling the breeding and sale of companion animals in Hong Kong with the enactment of the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Animal Traders) Regulations 2016. The study also resulted in significant policy change in stray-animal management and introduction of specialised training for police and prosecutors in presenting animal cruelty cases at court.
Amanda Whitfort at the SPCA HK
The Award will be presented at the University's annual award presentation ceremony to be held in March 2017.
     Amanda was recently profiled in the October 2017 edition of the HKU Knowledge Exchange Newsletter, pp 1-2.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Cora Chan on Measuring Deference in Rights Reasoning (Int'l J Con Law)

"A preliminary framework for measuring deference in rights reasoning"
Cora Chan
International Journal of Constitutional Law
Jan 2017, Vol 14, Issue 4, pp 851-882
Abstract: This article proposes a methodology for measuring how deferential judicial reasoning is in human rights cases. The proposed framework ranks four strategies of exercising deference—rights definition, standard of justification, burden of justification and cogency of arguments—along a triadic scale of not deferential, moderately deferential and highly deferential. The proposed framework is designed for common law jurisdictions that embrace a two-stage approach to rights adjudication in which courts initially ask whether there has been a prima facie limitation of rights and then, if so, proceed to assess that limitation using a proportionality test. The framework provides both the criteria for qualitative evaluations of, and the methodological foundation for quantitative studies of, the increasingly important phenomenon of judicial deference.

Jianlin Chen on Optimal Property Rights for Emerging Natural Resources (UMJ Law Reform)

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform
Fall 2016, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp 47-105
Abstract: This Article critically examines the design of property rights for emerging natural resources—naturally occurring substances that humans have only recently come to be able to exploit viably—through a case study of how the fifty states allocate ownership in, and regulate the use of, atmospheric moisture, an issue that has emerged in the context of weather modification (particularly cloud seeding). Building on the surprising finding that legislative declarations of state ownership have not resulted in greater regulatory control or other substantial restrictions on private use, this Article highlights a dimension of property rights design that has yet to receive concerted scholarly attention: the relative ease of future transitions— transitions both in ownership and in control mechanisms. This Article explains how state property facilitates easier and more holistic transitions and argues that state property can be an optimal allocation of emerging natural resources, because uncertainty surrounding the viability of present uses of the resource suggests that property rights arrangements may need to be changed in the foreseeable future. More broadly, the case study reveals how state property—properly stripped of its undeserved associations with socialism—still has an important role to play in property rights literature.  Click here to download the full article.

Jolene Lin Appointed to Editorial Board of Journal of Environmental Law (OUP)

Congratulations to Jolene Lin on her appointment to the Editorial Board of Journal of Environmental Law (JEL), published by Oxford University Press.  JEL is one of the leading international journals on environmental law and an "an authoritative source of informed analysis for all those who have any dealings in this vital field of legal study" (JEL website).  Jolene also sits on the editorial boards of Transnational Environmental Law (Cambridge University Press), Climate Law (Brill), and the book series Legal Perspectives on Global Challenges (Eleven International Publishing).

Friday, January 13, 2017

Katherine Lynch on Multidisciplinary Cooperation in Child and Family Justice in Hong Kong (new book chapter)

"The Need for Multidisciplinary Cooperation in Child and Family Justice in Hong Kong"
Katherine Lynch
in Anne Scully-Hill, Sala Sihombing and Katherine Lynch (eds), Reforming Hong Kong's Child & Family Justice System (CUHK Press, 2016) ch 10.
Introduction: Hong Kong is facing significant pressure for meaningful reform of its child and family justice system to ensure that it serves the needs of Hong Kong children and families. The recent death of five-year old Yeung Chi-wai at home by ingestion of lethal amounts of crystal methamphetamine drugs (despite an earlier decision to remove him from his home) is but one tragic example of the deficiencies in Hong Kong’s child and family justice system. Speakers at a recent May 2016 meeting in Legislative Council highlighted the flaws in Hong Kong’s existing child protection system, including: outdated child protection laws, no legal duty to investigate cases of abuse or assess victims and make required provisions, lack of accountability and enforceability of the multidisciplinary case conference mechanism, lack of adequate social work resources and chronic shortages in residential homes and foster case for children in need.
     The sad death of Yeung Chi-wai emphasizes the pressing need for multidisciplinary collaboration and reform of Hong Kong’s child and family justice system and the introduction of new legislation that adequately protects children. Hong Kong’s Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li has also emphasized that the family system in Hong Kong must ensure that it is accessible, fair, efficient and provides a simpler modernized process for contested family and matrimonial cases. In May 2015 the Chief Justice’s Working Party accepted 136 proposals for procedural reform, including a single set of self-contained family justice procedural rules. More recently, in November 2016, Hong Kong’s Labour & Welfare Bureau in consultation with the Department of Justice, Home Affairs Bureau, Social Welfare Department (SWD), Judiciary and other relevant departments, prepared the long awaited draft “Children Proceedings (Parental Responsibility) Bill” (the Children’s Bill) for public consultation. 
     The public consultation for the Children’s Bill highlights the serious implementation gap that exists between the extensive ideas for reforming Hong Kong’s child and family justice laws and actual implementation of that change. Many Hong Kong Law Reform Reports have recommended significant substantive and procedural change but until the announcement of the Children’s Bill in November 2016 very little legislative reform has been implemented. These reform reports highlight that vulnerable children and families dealing with separation and divorce are not merely encountering legal problems with social elements but, rather, these are profound social problems with one or more legal elements. In order to improve the experience of children and families in this context, a broader multidisciplinary system must be established rather than focusing primarily on the formal justice system. While some multistakeholder approaches have been established in Hong Kong, for example, the establishment of the Family Council in 2007 and the Comprehensive Child Development Service in West Kowloon in 2005, more formal collaborative inter-departmental measures need to be introduced in Hong Kong. This chapter deals with the need to create formal systemic multi-disciplinary processes and structures with a broad approach to collaboration and consultation with Hong Kong’s child and family justice system and considers comparative approaches in the UK and Canada as possible reform models.

New Book: Reforming Hong Kong's Child & Family Justice System (CUHK Press)

Reforming Hong Kong's Child & Family Justice System
Editors: Anne Scully-Hill, Sala Sihombing and Katherine Lynch
Chinese University of Hong Kong Press
November 2016, 408 pp
Book Description: This book presents a collection of papers from the 3rd Children’s Issues Forum held in Hong Kong in November 2015 focusing on reform of Hong Kong’s child and family justice system by integrating legal, comparative and multi-disciplinary approaches. Distinguished local and overseas jurists, legal practitioners and academics offer insights and perspectives on a range of issues affecting children, including: commentary on the proposed introduction of a new Children’s Ordinance in Hong Kong; the endemic problem of children living in poverty in Hong Kong; the exclusion and marginalization suffered by children in Hong Kong society; improving access to justice for Hong Kong children and allowing their voices to be heard; promoting the concept of parenting responsibilities in place of custody; reforming children’s dispute resolution procedures to establish more collaborative less adversarial process options; the important role of research in nurturing children and youth; and the need for increased multidisciplinary and inter-agency cooperation and collaboration in child and family justice systems. Comparative perspectives on child centric family justice reforms and policy developments are offered from leading jurists from Australia, Canada, Singapore, Israel, Macau and China.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Strong Demand for Special Needs Trust for Intellectually Disabled (HKU Study)

A survey has found that there is a strong demand for a Special Needs Trust (SNT) in Hong Kong to provide affordable financial planning services for individuals with intellectual disability, and for the Government to act as the trustee of such a trust. 
     The survey, which targeted at parents of individuals with intellectual disability, was carried out in 2016 by Professor Lusina Ho and Associate Professor Rebecca Lee at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Concern Group of Guardianship System and Financial Affairs*.
     According to government statistics, between 71,000 and 101,000 people in Hong Kong are persons with intellectual disability. As existing mechanisms for the financial planning for these individuals are limited, many parents are concerned that after their passing, the care for their children with intellectual disability would be upset. Following the 2016 Policy Address of the Hong Kong Government, the Labour and Welfare Bureau is exploring the feasibility of setting up a trust to provide affordable financial services to these individuals.

What is a Special Needs Trust (SNT)?
An SNT is an affordable trust specially designed for people with special needs (including people with intellectual disability). An SNT can reduce the cost of administration by pooling funds contributed by parents for management and investment. However, like in an MPF, the amounts designated for each beneficiary will be segregated. 
     To participate in such trusts, the parents (as settlors) with the help of the trustee and its case manager devise a care plan, which sets out the expenditures needed for the dependent-beneficiary, write a letter of intent that appoints a caregiver to succeed them and explains how the trust fund should be disbursed for the benefit of the dependent and after the dependent passes away, and then transfer a nominal sum to set up the trust. They also execute a will to transfer a substantial amount from their estate into the trust on their death, e.g. they may instruct the executor to sell their flat and put the proceeds into the trust fund. Of course, the parents may also transfer substantial assets into the trust during their lifetime.
     When the parents pass away, the trust will be activated. The trustee will then make periodic distribution to the succeeding caregiver according to the letter of intent and care plan. The trustee’s case manager can make periodic visits to the dependent to check that the caregiver is looking after the dependent. Upon the dependent’s passing, the trustee will distribute the surplus to any person(s) indicated in the letter of intent.

Strong demand for a government-operated SNT
The first territory-wide questionnaire survey of parent opinions on setting up an SNT received an overwhelming response of over 2,500 valid returns. The survey results show that parents of individuals with intellectual disability consider existing legal mechanisms for financial planning inadequate. The results suggest that:
(1) there is a strong demand for an SNT to be established in Hong Kong;
(2) the parents’ top priority (and the exclusive preference of almost half of them) is for the Government to act as the trustee of the SNT;
(3) if the Government acts as trustee, nearly half of the parents surveyed are likely or very likely to participate in the SNT;
(4) the following features of the SNT are most attractive to parents:
  • the provision of a case manager to monitor the care received by their children;
  • the annual fees of the SNT do not exceed 1% of the managed assets; and
  • the presence of parent representation in trust management; and
(5) parents who are most likely to participate in the SNT are aged 40-59 looking after dependents with intellectual disability aged 39 or below, and the dependents are with mild or moderate intellectual disability and are not in receipt of any social welfare benefits
(except Disability Allowance).
     The research is supported by RGC General Research Fund 2016-2017 (project number: 17612916). The survey report (in bilingual versions), press photos and presentation slides can be downloaded from Or click this link to view the survey report. A video of the event launching the survey can be viewed here.
      For media enquiries, please contact: Ms Scarlette Cheung, Faculty of Law, HKU (Tel: 39172919; Email:; or Ms Melanie Wan, Communications and Public Affairs Office, HKU (tel: 2859 2600; Email:
* The Concern Group of Guardianship System and Financial Affairs is established by a group of parents and caregivers of persons with intellectual disability. Its mission is to strive for a better adult guardianship system through examining its current weaknesses and seeking for improvements of the policies and institutions pertaining to adult guardianship. It is hoped that these efforts will enhance personal care and financial management arrangements for individuals with intellectual disability in Hong Kong.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Anselmo Reyes on Cross-Border Insolvency and Shipping Companies (LMCLQ)

"Cross-border insolvency and shipping companies"
Anselmo Reyes
Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly
2016, pp 517-528
Abstract: This article examines the Hong Kong Court of Appeal’s decision in The Convenience Container, where the court refused to set aside in rem writs even though the shipowner company was in liquidation in a foreign jurisdiction. In view of the principle of “modified universalism”, recently endorsed by the English Supreme Court and approved by the Hong Kong Court, the author doubts the correctness of the reasoning in the case and argues that, upon liquidation, the shipowner company ceased to be the beneficial owner of the relevant vessels. Hence, the plaintiffs should not have been allowed to jump the queue of the shipowner’s unsecured creditors by bringing statutory in rem proceedings against the vessel. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Event: Survey Results on Special Needs Trust in Hong Kong (10 Jan 2017)

HKU Faculty of Law to present results and observations from “Questionnaire Survey on Ascertaining the need for Special Needs Trusts in Hong Kong”

According to government statistics, between 71,000 and 101,000 people in Hong Kong have intellectual disability. As existing mechanisms for the financial planning for these individuals are limited, many parents are concerned that after their passing, the care for their children with intellectual disability would be upset. Following the 2016 Policy Address of the Hong Kong Government, the Labour and Welfare Bureau is exploring the feasibility of setting up a trust to provide affordable financial services to these individuals. A Special Needs Trust (SNT) can reduce the cost of administration by pooling funds contributed by parents. Between March and May 2016, the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong and the Concern Group of Guardianship System and Financial Affairs jointly carried out a questionnaire survey of parent opinions on setting up an SNT in Hong Kong. The survey received an overwhelming response of over 2,500 valid returns.
     Professor Lusina Ho and Associate Professor Ms Rebecca Lee of the Faculty of Law will in the press conference present the key findings and observations of the survey. Details are as follows:
Date: January 10, 2017 (Tuesday)
Time: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Venue: Moot Court, 2/F, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, the University of Hong Kong (Exit C1, HKU MTR station)
Organisers: Faculty of Law, the University of Hong Kong & The Concern Group of Guardianship System and Financial Affairs
Moderator: Ms Anna Lee
Language: Cantonese
The report can be downloaded (after 12:30pm on January 10) at:
     For media enquiries, please contact: Ms Scarlette Cheung, Faculty of Law, HKU (Tel: 39172919; Email:; or Ms Melanie Wan, Communications and Public Affairs Office, HKU (tel: 2859 2600; Email:

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Farzana Aslam Interviewed on Apple's Removal of New York Times App in China (NY Times)

"Apple Removes New York Times Apps From its Store in China"
Katie Benner and Sui-Lee Wee
The New York Times
4 January 2017
Apple, complying with what it said was a request from Chinese authorities, removed news apps created by The New York Times from its app store in China late last month.
     The move limits access to one of the few remaining channels for readers in mainland China to read The Times without resorting to special software. The government began blocking The Times’s websites in 2012, after a series of articles on the wealth amassed by the family of Wen Jiabao, who was then prime minister, but it had struggled in recent months to prevent readers from using the Chinese-language app.
     Apple removed both the English-language and Chinese-language apps from the app store in China on Dec. 23. Apps from other international publications, including The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, were still available in the app store.
     “For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and we have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Fred Sainz, an Apple spokesman, said of the Times apps. “As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store. When this situation changes, the App Store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China.”
     Farzana Aslam, associate director of the Center for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong, noted that in matters involving customer privacy, Apple requires governments to submit subpoenas, search warrants or other legal documents. 
     “Maybe in the end they have to do it, but I think there’s something to be said about standing up for what you believe in and purporting to put principle before profit in a country like China, to show that actually there is this tension there,” Ms. Aslam said. “It’s not as simple as, ‘Because we operate in your jurisdiction, we’ll do anything you ask of us.’”... Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rick Glofcheski on Assessment Task Design in the Law Curriculum (new book chapter)

Rick Glofcheski
in D Carless, SM Bridges, CKY Chan & R Glofcheski (eds), Scaling Up Assessment for Learning in High Education
Dec 2016, pp 67-80
Abstract: Across the disciplines in higher education, too little attention is paid by those who design and deliver courses to the role of assessment as a driver of learning. This is certainly the case in legal education. A lecture-based, teacher-centred approach predominates, which produces a largely passive learning, an approach that is reflected in the assessment. The emphasis is on doctrinal instruction, issue coverage, accreditation and ranking. Thus, there is plenty of scope for scaling up. In this chapter, the author describes the principal method of learning and assessment in law schools and the modest learning outcomes it can produce. The author proposes some simple strategic moves in assessment design that can expand the range of achievable learning outcomes in legal education and facilitate the development of skills necessary for professional life. These moves involve the adoption of authentic materials for use in learning and assessment and the introduction of task-based assessments in which students take the lead role in the construction and management of their learning artefacts. They are simple and economical, can be applied in large classes and have the potential for adaptation across the disciplines.

New Book: Scaling Up Assessment for Learning in Higher Education

Scaling Up Assessment for Learning in Higher Education
Editors: D Carless, SM Bridges, CKY Chan, Rick Glofcheski
Dec 2016, 222 pp
About the book: A critical issue in higher education is the effective implementation of assessment with the core purpose of promoting productive student learning. This edited collection provides a state-of-the-art discussion of recent, cutting-edge work into assessment for learning in higher education. It introduces a new theme of scaling up, which will be welcomed by theorists, researchers, curriculum leaders and university teachers, and showcases the work of leading figures from Australia, England, continental Europe and Hong Kong. 
     The work illuminates four key elements: (1) Enabling assessment change; (2) Assessment for learning strategies and implementation; (3) Feedback for learning; (4) Using technology to facilitate assessment for learning. Solidly research-based and carrying important implications for enhanced practice in assessment for learning at the university level, it is a must read for academic developers, researchers, university teachers, academic leaders and all those interested in assessment matters.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

PY Lo on Unconstitutional Constitutional Interpretations in China's Hong Kong (I-CONnect)

P.Y. Lo (PhD 2012)
23 December 2016
The taking of oaths by two members of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at the first meeting of the newly elected Legislative Council on 12 October 2016 and the ruling of the President of the Legislative Council on 18 October 2016 in respect of their acts have not only led to legal proceedings launched by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR and the Secretary for Justice on 18 October 2016 for declarations and injunctions against them on the ground that their purported oath taking had disqualified them from assuming office, but also the adoption of an interpretation by the PRC’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) of Article 104 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR of the PRC, the provision of the HKSAR’s constitutional document on oath taking by officers ranging from the Chief Executive to principal officials of the executive authorities, legislators and judges when they assume office, on 7 November 2016, while the Court of First Instance (CFI) hearing those legal proceedings was considering its judgment. Both the conduct of the litigation by the HKSAR Government and the adoption of the NPCSC Interpretation of 7 November 2016 of Article 104 of the Basic Law (2016 NPCSC Interpretation) have attracted criticisms, with some commentators labeling the NPCSC Interpretation as ‘unconstitutional’. 
     However, the Court of Appeal (CA), hearing appeals from the two legislators that the CFI declared to have been disqualified on 15 November 2016, considered in its judgment of 30 November 2016 that the courts of the HKSAR had no jurisdiction to determine whether an NPCSC interpretation officially promulgated as such is invalid on the ground that it is substantively not an interpretation of a provision of the Basic Law. This apparent self-effacing act on the part of the CA illustrates a stark fact in the constitutional disposition of Hong Kong under the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’: While the NPCSC of the Central Authorities can nullify and supersede an interpretation by the HKSAR courts of a provision of the Basic Law with its own interpretation of the same provision, the HKSAR courts believe that they cannot question the authority of the NPCSC to issue an interpretation of the Basic Law in accordance with the provision in the Basic Law on its interpretation and the procedure therein.
     This Note maps this asymmetry in dealing with ‘unconstitutional’ constitutional interpretation with reference to the development of the case law of the HKSAR courts since 1999, when the HKSAR’s Court of Final Appeal (CFA) was first asked to interpret provisions of the Basic Law and considers whether and how the CFA might attempt to deal with an NPCSC interpretation and submissions asking it and thus the HKSAR courts to disregard it for substantive reasons in a future occasion... Click here to read the full post.

Puja Kapai Interviewed on the Abuse of Sex Workers in Hong Kong (SCMP)

Rachel Blundy,
South China Morning Post
31 December 2016
Abuse of prostitutes is on the rise and police officers are mostly responsible, according to the city’s main non-profit organisation that cares for the rights of women.
     Zi Teng, which offers support for prostitutes, this year received 615 reports of physical and ­verbal abuse relating to both police and clients, up from 225 in 2015. The most ­serious cases, ­concerning clients, ­included grievous bodily harm, rape, robbery and fraud.
     Police were reported on 490 occasions for a ­catalogue of alleged abuses, including 225 cases of arbitrary arrest, when sex workers were not told why they were being held, and 100 cases of ­excessive ­licence checks, when they were approached and questioned several times on the same day.
     Other allegations against officers included ­forcing women to carry out free sexual services (11 cases), provide free massage services before arresting them (17), making verbal threats and insults (57), carrying out indecent assaults (three) and physically assaulting them (three).
     Puja Kapai, director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the University of Hong Kong, said the latest figures suggested workers faced ­rising levels of abuse, but emphasised that they may also reflect an increased awareness to report violence.
     “It is fair to say the situation looks like it is getting worse,” she said. “But I would want it to be made clear whether this was linked to the increasing visibility of gender-based reporting about violence.
     “It may have something to do with more Legislative Council discussions about this issue as well.
    “It may also be that people are more likely to speak to Zi Teng now and to report these incidents.”... Click here to read the full article.