Monday, May 20, 2024

Call for registration: Giving a voice to the unheard victims of environmental crime (22 May 2024)

Illegal wildlife trade is the fourth most lucrative black market for transnational crime. Smuggling of endangered species is a low risk, high-profit crime, made all the more attractive to criminals in the absence of deterrent sentencing and effective enforcement.

To help legal professionals counter wildlife crime, Professor Amanda Whitfort of the Law Faculty has developed an international tool to help judges and prosecutors better understand the harms caused by illegal wildlife trade.  Bringing together law and science, her Species Victim Impact Statements initiative sets out the impacts of wildife crime for over 150 species, providing a voice for animals, plants and ecosystems in the criminal justice system. The SVIS initiative has been endorsed as an effective tool to combat wildlife crime by the United National Office on Drugs and Crime and has been included in the Nigerian Rapid Reference Guide for Prosecutors published in 2023. Professor Whitfort will talk about her approach to educating law enforcement officers in a seminar with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime this Wednesday 22 May at 4pm. Registration is free and please click here for registration online.

Giving a voice to the unheard victims of environmental crime

A Talk By Amanda Whitfort , Prof Ray Jansen , Alastair MacBeath , Diana Chilambwe , Edward Banda (ACAZ, LLB, Cert) And Ashleigh Dore

22 May 2024
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM HKT

About This Talk

Animals and other species are often voiceless victims of environmental crimes. Such crimes were often marginalized in the legal sphere, treated as minor infractions with little regard for the impact on species and ecosystems. However, a new legal approach is reshaping how these offences are prosecuted and perceived. Species victim impact statements articulate the harm caused by environmental crimes from an animal rights perspective, the detrimental effects on species populations, the broader ecological damage as well as the associated impact on human populations.

This in an innovative approach that introduces eco-centric concerns into anthropocentric legal systems. It has grown into an effective body of practice, leading to increased sentences for environmental crimes in countries where academics and civil society organizations promoting this tactic are operating. The GI-TOC recently published a guide on the experience of those who have successfully developed and used species victim impact statements in Hong Kong, South Africa and Zambia.

This event brings together these experts to discuss why species victim impact statements are necessary, the particular challenges for their respective jurisdictions while offering guidance to assist those looking to develop these statements for use in court.

James Fry et al on Aristocrats in Arbitration: Did Class Affect Inter-state Arbitration Before or After the 1899 Hague Peace Conference? (Hague Journal on the Rule of Law)

"Aristocrats in Arbitration: Did Class Affect Inter-state Arbitration Before or After the 1899 Hague Peace Conference?"
James Fry, Arthur L. W. Cheung, Bryane Michael 
Hague Journal on the Rule of Law
Published online: April 2024

Abstract: This article explores whether the aristocratic status of arbitrators or disputants affected the outcome of inter-state arbitrations either before or after the 1899 Hague Peace Conference. This article takes a longue durée approach to the topic by including all inter-state arbitrations between 1794 and 1989. The research shows a statistically significant relationship between respondent-appointed aristocratic arbitrators on a tribunal and the outcome against the aristocratic party, as well as a statistically significant relationship between no respondent-appointed aristocratic arbitrators and outcome in favor of the claimant, but only in inter-state arbitrations before the Conference for both of these relationships. This article brings into question whether aristocratic arbitrators from before the Conference were fully committed to the international rule of law. Moreover, it highlights how such arbitrators stopped making their decisions based on class after the Conference, which should reassure users of inter-state arbitration that worry about such biases.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Yating Lin Awarded the 2nd Runner-up of the 2024 Young ITA Writing Competition and Award

Congratulations to Yating Lin (PhD candidate), whose one chapter of her doctoral thesis was awarded the 2nd Runner-up of the 2024 Young ITA Writing Competition and Award by the Institute for Transnational Arbitration, Young ITA. The thesis was supervised by Professor Weixia Gu and co-supervised by Professor Yun Zhao

     Background on the prize: The writing competition organized by Young ITA is a unique opportunity for young professionals to contribute actively to the research of international arbitration and to be recognized as qualified voices in this area, as well as to get involved in the activities of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration. 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Report Launch Event: Designing a Legal Framework for Carbon Neutrality in the HKSAR

How can we design a climate law for Hong Kong?

This is the topic of a new report co-authored by Ms Jane Chan (HKU-UCL LLB Student). Join her at the report presentation and panel event, ‘Designing a Legal Framework for Carbon Neutrality in the HKSAR’ with Mr Tommy Liu (Hogan Lovells Partner), Mr Lawrence IU (Civic Exchange, Executive Director) and Dr Agnes Tai (Climate Governance Initiative, Governing Board) on 21 May 2024 at 3 pm at the Hogan Lovells office.

Report Background
Civic Exchange and Hogan Lovells (as this project’s pro-bono partner) are working together with the objective of improving Hong Kong’s climate governance accountability and transparency by proposing recommendations for the establishment of a legal framework. The aim of a legal framework is to govern the achievement and progress of Hong Kong’s carbon neutrality targets and to provide a basis for enhanced monitoring, reporting, and enforcement of compliance.

Our recommendations were informed by the insights of 20+ solicitors, barristers, academics, Government officials, and legislators across Hong Kong, UK, Singapore, Germany, and China.

The expected outcomes of this project is to:

  • Establish discussion between key stakeholders, such as legal professionals, academics, legislators, and industry experts, on improving Hong Kong’s current climate governance to enhance overall accountability and transparency.
  • Propose recommendations to establish a legal framework for climate governance in Hong Kong.
  • Identify key parameters and considerations for incorporation into the legal framework.

Event Details
Date: 21 May 2024
Time: 3:00 – 5:00 pm (Registration and set-up of cameras begin at 14:30)
Venue: Hogan Lovells Office, 11th Floor, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong

Event Rundown
2:30 pm: Registration and set-up of cameras
3:00 pm: Opening speech and commence of the discussion
4:30 pm: Conference concludes, Teas/Coffees and snacks are served

This is an event organized by the Civic Exchange.

Please register here for an exclusive entry, as walk-ins won’t be allowed. 

Monday, May 6, 2024

Peter Chau on Tort Law and Contractualism (Law and Philosophy)

"Tort Law and Contractualism"
Peter Chau
Law and Philosophy
Published online: April 2024

Abstract: How can tort law be justified? There are well-known difficulties with the three traditional theories of tort law dominating the literature (namely, economic theory, corrective justice theory, and civil recourse theory). Recently, some have turned to moral contractualism in search of tort law’s foundation. One of the most prominent attempts was made by Gregory Keating. Keating’s account, however, has been subjected to powerful objections. In a recent paper, John Oberdiek, through a sympathetic critique of Keating’s account, develops a new version of contractualist tort theory that is alleged to be at once superior to the three traditional theories of tort law and immune to the objections to Keating’s account. The aim of my paper is to critically assess Oberdiek’s account; I will argue that, while Oberdiek’s account does improve upon Keating’s in some important respects, it is ultimately unsatisfactory.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Valeria Vázquez Guevara Awarded the Harold Luntz Graduate Research Thesis Prize 2023

Congratulations to Valeria Vázquez Guevara, whose PhD Thesis “Truth Commissions: The Authority of International Law and the State after Conflict” was awarded the Harold Luntz Graduate Research Thesis Prize 2023 by the Melbourne Law School. The thesis was supervised by Professor Sundhya Pahuja and Professor Shaun McVeigh. The thesis forms the basis of Valeria's forthcoming monograph, Truth Commissions and International Law: Jurisdiction, Representation, Authority (under contract, Cambridge University Press).

     Background on the prize: The Harold Luntz Graduate Research Thesis Prize is awarded annually to the Melbourne Law School graduate research student judged to have presented the best thesis in the previous year, provided that the nominee meets an overall level of excellence required for the award. It is named for Emeritus Professor Harold Luntz, a world expert on torts law and a former dean and professor at Melbourne Law School.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Alec Stone Sweet Co-Authored article "Reversing delegation? Politicization, de-delegation, and non-majoritarian institutions" achieved the top 10 most-cited papers published in Governance

Congratulations to Alec Stone Sweet whose co-authored the article "Reversing delegation? Politicization, de-delegation, and non-majoritarian institutions", achieved the top 10 most-cited papers published in Governance during the period 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2023. Governance provides a forum for the theoretical and empirical study of executive politics, public policy, administration, and the organization of the state. Published in association with International Political Science Association's Research Committee on the Structure & Organization of Government (SOG), it emphasizes peer-reviewed articles that take an international or comparative approach to public policy and administration.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Call for Papers: Legal Imaginaries — a Law, Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia Conference 2024

Legal Imaginaries
A Law, Literature and Humanities
Association of Australasia Conference 2024

15 - 18 Dec 2024

The University of Hong Kong

(Submit by 15 July 2024)

This Conference is an invitation to collectively examine, critique, and, for the more daring, transform the imaginaries that constellate our grasp of reality and sustain the authority of law – from the racialised and gendered representations that give form and force to the colonial and patriarchal imaginaries of both North and South; to the configurations of sovereignty that are held together by the sociotechnical and technoscientific imaginaries of the Anthropocene; to the confined and confining figures of justice that populate the modern imaginaries of the state… With keynotes by Dr Daniela Gandorfer, Prof Peter Goodrich and Dr Kojo Koram, with more special events TBA.

For further information on the Conference, please visit:

To submit a paperpanel or creative session please CLICK HERE.

We encourage you to identify a stream for inclusion of your paper/panel/session. Streams provide the Conference subthemes, helping to put papers in conversation with each other while creating ongoing conversations across sessions.

STREAMS Corporate Imaginaries | Empire’s Debtscapes: Reparations, Decolonisation, and Possibilities for Justice | Exploring Tensions in Law and Legal Semiotics | Feminist and Queer Imaginaries | From Positronic to AI: Analyzing the Portrayal of Intelligent Machines in Robot Stories | Hope and Law | Imaginaries and the Future of Legal Professions | Imaginaries in/of Legal Education | Imagining Law’s Subjects | Imagining New and Alternative Legal Internationalisms | Law and the Inhuman | Legal Imaginaries across Asia Pacific: Vernacular Laws and Literatures.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Gary Meggitt on Marine insurance fraud and emerging technology (New book chapter)

"Marine insurance fraud and emerging technology"
Gary Meggitt
in Research Handbook on Marine Insurance Law, edited by Özlem Gürses (Edward Elgar Publishing, March 2024), Chapter 14, pp. 275 - 305
Published online: March 2024

Abstract: Marine insurance fraud is probably as old as marine insurance itself. Year after year, the courts hand out judgments- for or against insurers- following lengthy, complex and costly litigation. The losses to innocent shipping companies, cargo owners, agents, brokers, insurers and others, however, go on. Might technology succeed in defeating- or at least deterring- fraud where the ‘law’ has failed? This chapter looks at the use of emerging technology, including smart contracts and artificial intelligence (AI), by insurers and the marine transport industry to combat those who perpetrate marine insurance fraud. It considers how such technology may have resolved some of the more controversial fraud litigation of recent years and how the relationship between this technology and the law may develop in the future.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Marco Wan comments on the case of Sham Tsz-kit v. Secretary for Justice on Deutsche Welle news

In a television interview with Deutsche Welle (DW) news, Marco Wan, shares the recent development of the legal framework for recognizing the existence and rights of same-sex couples in Hong Kong after the judgement of Sham Tsz-kit v. Secretary for Justice decided on 5 September 2023. He identifies and comments on the unique challenges on legalizing or offering legal recognition to same-sex marriage in Hong Kong. He also illustrates the major concerns from the LGBTQ+ Community on the degree of protection to same-sex couples in Hong Kong to be introduced by the Government's new framework. Click here to view the interview (in English) on YouTube.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Roda Mushkat on Authoritarian International Law: An Unfinished Research Odyssey (CICLR)

"Authoritarian International Law: An Unfinished Research Odyssey"
Roda Mushkat
Cardozo International & Comparative Law Review (Volume 7, Issue 1, pp. 51-118)
Published online: 2024

Abstract: The concept-rich international legal space has expanded in the past few years by incorporating the notion that there is a distinct form of international law possessing authoritarian traits. This notion stands in contrast with the time-honored mainstream variant which is assumed to have liberal-democratic roots and dispositions. A product of the current decade, authoritarian international law has nevertheless left a palpable mark on international legal theory and is believed to have materially reshaped the international legal landscape. The primary aim of this Article is to summarize the achievements made in analyzing the dimensions of this new concept and its considerable practical implications, with a view to suggesting some additional lines of inquiry.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

New book review for Daniel Bell et al on Bridging Two Worlds Comparing Classical Political Thought and Statecraft in India and China (University of California Press)

Bridging Two Worlds: Comparing Classical Political Thought and Statecraft in India and China
Daniel A. Bell
University of California Press
Published in January 2023
New book review available in April 2024 (Click here for details)

Abstract: The rise of China and India could be the most important political development of the twenty-first century. What will the foreign policies of China and India look like in the future? What should they look like? And what can each country learn from the other? Bridging Two Worlds gathers a coterie of experts in the field, analyzing profound political thinkers from these ancient regions whose theories of interstate relations set the terms for the debates today. This volume is the first work that systematically compares ancient thoughts and theories about international politics between China and India. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the growth of China and India and what it will mean for the rest of the world.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Thomas Cheng on Competition Law and AI (CUP book chapter)

"Competition Law and AI"
Thomas Cheng
in Ernest Lim (ed), Phillip Morgan (ed), The Cambridge Handbook of Private Law and Artificial Intelligence, (Cambridge University Press, March 2024), pp. 472-491
Published online: March 2024

Summary: The legal treatment of autonomous algorithmic collusion in light of its technical feasibility and various theoretical considerations is an important issue because autonomous algorithmic collusion raises difficult questions concerning the attribution of conduct by algorithms to firms and reopens the longstanding debate about the legality of tacit collusion. Algorithmic collusion, namely, direct communication between algorithms, which amounts to express collusion, is illegal. Intelligent and independent adaptation to competitors’ conduct by algorithms with no direct communication between them, which is tacit collusion, is generally legal. There should be ex ante regulation to reduce algorithmic collusion.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Hui Jing on Regulating donation-based crowdfunding platforms in Hong Kong: A trust law framework (Common Law World Review)

"Regulating donation-based crowdfunding platforms in Hong Kong: A trust law framework"
Hui Jing
Common Law World Review
Published online: March 2024

Abstract: With the advance of technology, several crowdfunding platforms have emerged in Hong Kong to host informal public donation appeals. Unlike charitable crowdfunding activities, these appeals focus on crowdfunding to provide relief to specific individuals or groups in need. Due to the recent emergence of online informal public donation appeals and their lack of public benefit, regulatory bodies have not paid much attention to their regulation. However, recent media coverage highlighting scandals of maladministration of donation funds in the context of informal public donation appeals has impelled regulators to establish a systemic framework to govern crowdfunding platforms that host informal public donation appeals. This article addresses two main aspects of this topic. First, it discusses the operation of crowdfunding platforms that host informal public donation appeals and the risks associated with them. Second, it explores the feasibility of utilising trust law to regulate the administration of donation funds by these crowdfunding platforms.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

New book by Angela Zhang: High Wire - How China Regulates Big Tech and Governs Its Economy (Oxford University Press)

High Wire - How China Regulates Big Tech and Governs Its Economy
Angela Zhang
Oxford University Press
Published in April 2024
432 pp.

Description: In High Wire, Angela Huyue Zhang provides a comprehensive and sophisticated overview of how China regulates its enormous tech sector. By closely scrutinizing the incentives and interactions among the key players, Zhang introduces a dynamic pyramid model to analyze the structure, process, and outcome of China's unique regulatory system. She showcases the shrewd self-regulatory tactics employed by Chinese tech titans to survive and thrive in an institutional environment plagued by endemic fraud and corruption. She also reveals how the Chinese State has given a helping hand to digital platforms by offering them indispensable judicial support.

Through a robust analysis of the tumultuous 2020-2022 tech crackdown, Zhang explores the model's profound impact on three vital pillars of Chinese platform regulation, including antitrust, data, and labor enforcement. As Zhang demonstrates, the tech crackdown has led to the private sector's retreat and the state's advancement in the tech industry. These regulatory shifts have also steered investors from consumer tech businesses toward hardcore technologies that are essential for China's bid to overtake the United States in innovation.

More than just a study of China, Zhang offers a global perspective by comparing China's regulatory landscape with rapidly moving developments in the United States and the European Union. This comparative analysis reveals the shared regulatory challenges all face and sheds light on the future direction of Chinese tech regulation. Finally, she peers into the future of China's tech governance, specifically focusing on the burgeoning realm of generative artificial intelligence.

Providing an unparalleled deep dive into China's rapidly evolving digital economy, High Wire is a must-read for those interested in how the manifold ways in which China regulates and governs its economy.

Professor Angela Zhang’s “High Wire” Book Talk Series: Please click here for details.
Book Trailer: Please click here to view on YouTube.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Ryan Whalen awarded the 2024 Microsoft Research AI & Society Fellow (Copyright Protection for User Data in the Era of LLMs)

Congratulations to Ryan Whalen, who awarded the 2024 Microsoft Research AI & Society Fellow.

Background on the prize: The Microsoft Research AI & Society Fellows program supports interdisciplinary AI research in the context of societal impact. The program offers opportunities for fellows from fields beyond core computer sciences to join and support interdisciplinary research conversations with Microsoft Researchers. By facilitating these new collaborations, Microsoft aims to scale the impact of collective research efforts at the intersection of AI & Society. For more information on the award, click here.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Jiajun Luo on Authoritarian Legal (Ir)rationality: The Saga of ‘Picking Quarrels’ in China (The ECLR Hub)

"Authoritarian Legal (Ir)rationality: The Saga of ‘Picking Quarrels’ in China"
Jiajun Luo (PhD candidate)
The ECLR Hub
Published online: March 2024

In response to an apartment fire in Urumqi which killed eleven residents in November 2022, Shanghai residents took to the city’s Urumqi Road, protesting peacefully against China’s zero-covid policy. While the protests resulted in the official end of nearly all Covid-19 related restrictions, several participants were detained and sentenced for picking quarrels and provoking trouble (Criminal Code Art. 293). Photo by Cinea467

It is widely reported that the utilization of the crime picking quarrels (寻衅滋事) by Chinese authorities has resulted in the imprisonment of thousands for their online expressions, ranging from complaints about traffic police to criticisms of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on social media platforms. Moreover, this catchall category extends beyond speech-related offenses, serving as a tool for political suppression since 2013 and targeting various civil groups in China, including feminists and human rights lawyers.

However, picking quarrels is not confined to politically sensitive cases. Authorities also employ it to...

Please click here for full article on the ECLR and click here for draft paper on SSRN.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Giuliano Castellano on Don’t Call It a Failure: Systemic Risk Governance for Complex Financial Systems (LSI)

"Don’t Call It a Failure: Systemic Risk Governance for Complex Financial Systems"
Giuliano Castellano
Law & Social Inquiry (First View, pp. 1-42)
Published online: March 2024

Abstract: The probability that an event will avalanche into an impairment of essential services constitutes a “systemic risk.” Owing to the inherent complexities of modern societies, the outbreak of a novel disease or the failure of a financial institution can rapidly escalate into an impact significantly larger than the initial event. Through the lens of complex system theory, this article draws a parallel between financial crises and disasters to contend that the regulatory framework for financial systemic risk is unequipped to address its fundamental dynamics. Epitomized by the market failure rationale, financial regulation is premised on a reductionist view that purports both systemic risk and law as external to the actions of market participants. Conversely, this article advances a twofold conceptual framework. First, it shows that systemic risk emerges from the same complex dynamics that generate the financial system. Second, it understands law as an agent of complexity, thus contributing to the emergence of finance and its inherent instability. Normatively, this conceptual framework reveals the limits of current regulatory approaches and constructs a holistic risk governance framework that is akin to the one adopted to govern disaster risks.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Yun Zhao and Hui Chen on Enhancing access to digital justice: digital governance of dispute resolution and dispute prevention in online commercial activities (Journal of International Dispute Settlement)

"Enhancing access to digital justice: digital governance of dispute resolution and dispute prevention in online commercial activities"
Yun Zhao, Hui Chen
Journal of International Dispute Settlement (idae001, 2024)
Published online: February 2024

Abstract: This article examines relevant theories and practices concerning the strengthening of access to digital justice and explores pathways to expanding the application of online dispute resolution (ODR) to dispute prevention in online commercial activities. It focuses on how to enhance both efficiency and fairness in four stages of commercial activities, namely, deal-making (contract formation), contract performance, dispute resolution, and the enforcement of final results. At the deal-making stage, the application of e-signatures is analysed with respect to the prevention of compliance and security risks. The best practices of smart contracts and blockchain technology are also investigated to promote relevant innovative designs in the digital governance of online contract performance. In addition, top-down and bottom-up ODR platforms are compared in terms of their respective patterns for enhancing efficiency and fairness, as well as their differing potential for institutionalization. Finally, existing ODR self-enforcement models are explored, with emphasis on the ‘preauthorization’ model and the example of Taobao.