Mr. Justice Patrick Chan and Mr. Rimsky Yuen Among the speakers of Dr. Hu Distinguished Lectures


The Hon Mr. Justice Patrick Chan, Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal

The year 2013-2014 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Department of Law and Business. In celebration of this memorable year, the department organized a series of lectures entitled, “The Dr. Hu Distinguished Lectures (2013 Fall)”. Previously known as “Law Week”, the event has now been renamed in recognition of the outstanding contribution made by Dr. Henry Hu Hung-lick, the founder of Hong Kong Shue Yan University, to tertiary education in Hong Kong.

The event was held from the 2nd to 10th September, 2013. In addition to the six invited guest speakers, various guests also attended the lectures together with students from the Law and Business Department.

The opening lecture was given by The Hon Mr. Justice Patrick Chan, PJ, GBM, Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal and Chairman of Standing Committee on Legal Education and Training, on the topic of “Bilingualism in the Law: Past, Present and Future”. Mr. Justice Chan proposed the use of both English and Chinese as official languages in the Hong Kong courts. He spoke of the need to differentiate between the legal meanings that can be inferred in the two languages, since they share few legal terms, posing a problem for wider public understanding.

Mr. Thomas So – vice-president of the Law Society of Hong Kong – was the guest speaker on Day 2 (3rd September, 2013). Mr. So gave a speech in Cantonese, on the topic: The Future and Challenges of Legal Services in Hong Kong. In his speech, Mr. So emphasised the importance of language proficiency in the legal profession. He believed that being a certified solicitor in only one jurisdiction is not enough. As a legal practitioner in China, Mr. So further encouraged students to look towards the Mainland market and to sit the Chinese Law Exam in addition to their qualifications in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is able to remain the logistics hub of Greater China because she follows the more internationally transparent British common law system.

Mr. Paul Shieh, S.C., the Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association, lectured students on the topic, “The Conflict of Laws – how relevant is it?” on Day 3 (4th September, 2013). Mr. Shieh gave five examples of disputes between companies of different nationalities. The lecture reflected on the importance of states’ domestic or state laws, which vary from state to state. Often, both parties would be more comfortable to have the case tried in their respective jurisdictions. When there is a conflict of laws between parties, courts would look into the implied agreed law between disputing parties, such as the origin of the dispute and languages used in the dispute.

The department hosted Professor Wang Zhen-min, Law Dean of Tsing Hua University, on Day 4 of the event (5th September, 2013) to speak about “Chinese Legal Education: Accomplishment, Problem and Path”. Professor Wang started with the statement, “a country needs to build a dream, which is the Rule of Law.” The British enacted their first patent law in 1624; The French leader Napoleon Bonaparte, after fighting in more than 40 battles, established the Code Napoleon in 1804. Legal studies in China have tended to focus more on professions and corporations, at the expense of the individual. Moreover, the teachings are too generalised and focus chiefly on profit making.  Professor Wang raised the important issue that China needs to further develop the rule of law and judiciary independence.

On the same day, three universities, including Tsing Hua University, Birkbeck School of Law, University of London and Hong Kong Shue Yan University jointly signed a contract to establish the Trans-jurisdictional Legal Theory and Policy Research Centre.

Professor Wang Zhen-min (left), Professor Patricia Tuitt (middle) and Dr. Andy Chiu signed a contract to establish the Trans-jurisdictional Legal Theory and Policy Research Centre.

On the fifth day (6th September, 2013), Professor Patricia Tuitt, Executive Dean of Birkbeck School of Law, University of London, spoke about “The UK Legal Services Act 2007 and the need for a theory of law”. She gave an introduction on the Act, which reviewed the entire content of legal services, such as legal training for lawyers. Professor Tuitt further commented on the influences of the Act and how its development would impact education in law schools. In future, students in law schools would have to develop writing, research and critical thinking skills. The change should comply with the 21st century market, which requires a huge amount of legal research and critical thinking. Law is philosophical and theory based; it requires constant critique in order to keep up with the ever-changing social trends and circumstances.

On the final day (10th September, 2013), the department was proud to invite the Secretary of Justice, Mr. Rimsky Yuen, S.C., JP to be the guest speaker. Mr. Yuen talked about “Dispute Resolution, Past, Present and Future”, focusing on Hong Kong’s relations with Greater China. Mr. Yuen chose this topic because he felt dispute resolution can enhance Hong Kong’s status in the Asia Pacific region. Dispute resolution commonly results in court litigation, where both plaintiff and defendant are summoned to court. Mr. Yuen noted the rising popularity of an additional form of resolution: Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”). ADR takes the form of arbitration, mediation and early neutral evaluation, acting as a kind of problem-solving process, exploring disagreements as a mutual problem. In order to sustain the competiveness of Hong Kong and to build her unique characteristics, Mr. Yuen suggested that as ADR is becoming more globalised and regionally developed, Hong Kong could take this chance to assume the position of a regional legal hub.

Source: October Issue 2013

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