(in alphabetial order)
For us, the PCLL was an unforgettable year of blissful post-graduation freedom, mixed with the excitement of making new friends from many different places, and the nervousness of completing assessed assignments. All at the same time, at the back of our minds, the anticipation of entry into the legal profession seemed to loom like a great ocean wave ultimately under which we would be overwhelmed, or on which we would enjoy the ride! Absolutely there were the obligatory late-night parties and early morning lectures – what would university life be without these?
But undoubtedly by far the most valuable use of our time was to invest in and build up friendships that have and continue to endure; the friendships and bonds that were nurtured and developed between our classmates most definitely serves as the highlight of the PCLL. As a group of strangers at first, we began to see each other on a daily basis: sharing food, sharing challenges, sharing life. We became friends, sharing laughter, having fun and going partying. We became like family, commiserating in sadness and celebrating in joy. There existed a special bond between us, something that enabled us to face the challenge of PCLL together, to take it in our stride and have wonderful fun all at once.
And it is thanks in no small part to this close network of supportive friends that fortunately, the great ocean wave that was ready to bear down upon us turned into a mere rising tide on which we rode.
To this day, we still meet up on a weekly basis, accompanying each other through the changing seasons of life. Our classmates are a veritable group of good friends to keep each other’s sanity when circumstances seem tough, to maintain good sense when things seem to be going wrong, and to share joy in each other’s accomplishments. This is a special bond that has been developed over time, one that cannot be easily replicated.
第一年曾經懷疑法律是否適合自己。記得第一份Legal System and Legal Method 的功課是關於prerogative power，看了一大堆十八九世紀的案例，覺得這所謂 residual power of the Sovereign 根本就是無稽之談，明明是行政機關的權力，卻硬要說成皇室的權力，於是，文章不談題目，而是質疑 prerogative power 本身，幸而，韋斯理教授尚算手下留情，給了尚可以的分數，評語是"a courageous attempt"!
中文運動開展，大字報一張緊接一張。六個學院先後發表聲明支持，唯獨不見法律學院，詢問法律學會會長，他竟然不知中文運動為何物，好像大學裡和社會上發生的事物均與我們無關，難道我們是象牙塔內的象牙塔？一怒之下，跑到學生會餐廳，憤而成書，寫了一篇「中文，願妳安息」的文章：「筆桿是那樣沉重，母語竟是那樣陌生…幽冷的長城仍幽冷如昔，沉默的長江還我的沉默，好一句『大海不會欺騙白浪，既然是遺民，就該忘了國歌』…無奈中帶點比無奈更無奈的奈何，趁今日尚會嘆息時，讓我長鳴一聲『母語，別矣!』」，文字中充滿年輕人那種未經磨練的狂傲，這也是第一篇在 Law Media 發表的文章。 (收錄於《走在公義路上》)
那年夏天和林國興、梁家傑、KB Ng，謝立斌等決定組閣，希望帶領法律學院重新溶入大學，走入社會，那年我們首次在大學內舉辦法律周(Law Week)，介紹法律究竟是甚麼東西，並在法律周內透過老師及執業律師提供免費法律諮詢服務。在暑假時我們更在大會堂展覽廳舉辦首次的法律常識展覽，展覽的內容由四年級的師兄，師姐執筆撰寫，經校對後再簡化成大眾容易理解的文字與圖畫，展覽並獲多個政府部門支持。展覽前一晚，動員近180名同學參與上版(當時整個學院才有200多位同學)。這兩項活動自此一直流傳下去，每年法律學會均會去不同地方作法律展覽，推廣法律知識，Law Week的概念其後更由律師會發揚光大，成為香港一年一度的重要推廣法律知識活動。
大學最後一年，仍覺得未準備投身法律界，我喜歡大律師那種自由自在的生活，但又覺得沒理由在十七八歲決定選修法律便要為此付上終身，很想往外邊的世界闖闖，剛巧有機會往英國深造。那時中英開始進行香港前途談判，不少港人對前景均是人心惶惶，自己覺得去外國深造便該修讀一些在香港沒機會修讀和對香港的未來息息相關的學科，於是毅然往倫大政經學院追隨羅莎連奧赫根教授(Prof Rosalyn Higgins QC)，奧赫根教授當時為國際人權委員會的英國委員，她的治學嚴緊，學識淵博和對人權的執著，給我很大的啟發，其後她更獲任命為海牙國際法庭的首席法官。
Through the hard work and excellence of its staff and students and under the able leadership of the Council Chairman and Vice Chancellor, the University has become one of the top education and academic institutes in the world.
No one will dispute that the success of Hong Kong as a leading financial and business centre thrives on the rule of law. But the rule of law prevails only when there is respect for the law and trust in the legal system. Unless we can trust that the system delivers generally just and acceptable results in a fair and reliable manner, there is little reason to respect the law and the rule of law would merely be an abstract ideal. A better understanding of what is going on in court and how the justice system works will certainly inspire trust in the system. And people can do this with greater ease if legal proceedings are conducted in their mother tongue which for the majority of Hong Kong residents is Chinese with Cantonese as its spoken form.
Court interpreters have provided an invaluable service for the benefit of non-English speakers. But, however good it may be, interpretation has its limitations as a means of courtroom communication. It is possible, if only remotely so, that the outcome of a case turns on an unnoticed misinterpretation. Rightly or wrongly, a party may feel that she is at a disadvantage against another party who speaks the language of the court and that she stands a better chance of getting justice if her trial is conducted in Chinese without the mediation of interpreters.
Bilingualism in the courts, however desirable, had a long and difficult gestation. Although Chinese was declared an official language in Hong Kong by a ground-breaking ordinance in 1974, trial in Chinese did not become an option at all levels until 1995. The official status of Chinese is re-assured in article 9 of the Basic Law. New laws are now enacted in both languages. Existing statute laws enacted in English have all been translated into Chinese. English-Chinese glossaries of legal terms have been published and gradually built up. These measures have facilitated the option of conducting legal proceedings in Chinese. Since 1997 the number of cases which are conducted in Chinese has increased quite considerably at all levels of court: from 85% in the Magistrates' courts to about 30% in Court of Appeal. This additional workload has increased the pressure on bilingual judges and created new challenges for them. They need to maintain a high standard of Chinese writing skills. For this purpose, each of them is required to do a one month residential course in Tsinghua University. In addition, every year, with the help of Professor Johannes Chan, Dean of the Faculty of Law, the University runs a four month top up course in writing skills for these judges.
The way and manner in which the language is used also poses a challenge. The courtroom is a solemn place for the administration of justice and one would expect those present in court would exercise some degree of care in what they say. But people expressing themselves in Chinese, especially Cantonese, tend to import into the courtroom modes of speech which are loose, imprecise, disjointed or even incoherent. Even lawyers and judges may not be entirely free from this tendency. Thus unnecessary or excessive use of slangs or colloquialisms and abusive or even unintended foul languages may be encountered nowadays. This makes it harder for the court to assert its authority and for the public to respect the law. From time to time, judges have to remind people appearing before them to behave themselves and to mind their language. But it is not always easy to ensure that every person in court will comply and stricter measures have to be taken. Ultimately it is the duty of lawyers and judges who work in the courtroom setting to set a good example for other court users.
The feasibility and desirability of conducting legal proceedings in Chinese should not blind us to the fact that legal principles are largely contained in judgments written in English and that the common law tradition has its roots in English speaking jurisdictions. The common law is not set in stone. It is constantly developing. Judgments from other common law jurisdictions are also of jurisprudential value in shaping the common law in Hong Kong. While it is necessary to put in place a bilingual legal system, English is still indispensable as a legal language in Hong Kong. This is vital if Hong Kong is to maintain its status as a leading financial and business centre.
Since 1995, a silent revolution has started by design and demand. Both Chinese and English have contributed to the operation and success of our legal system. There are inherent differences between the two languages. A pragmatic approach has to be adopted. Language as a tool of expression is only a means and not an end in itself. The object is the fair administration of justice. A culture needs to emerge before Chinese becomes an adequate means of communication for the administration of justice. But this must be given time to evolve and perfect itself. Much commendable efforts have been made to strengthen the practice of bilingualism in the courts. Much more remains to be done by all involved in the administration of justice. It is only with a system which has the trust of the Community that the rule of law can prevail.
我在唸 LLB 時沒有入住學生宿舍，但積極參加過港大學生會的一些屬會的活動，包括《學苑》(學生會的期刊，當時每一至兩月出版一次，每次數十頁，內容很豐富)、現代思潮學會、文社、法律學會和法律系的基督徒團契。其中，在《學苑》方面的參與使我學到的東西最多，也從中認識一些最志同道合的朋友。從在《學苑》工作的學兄、學姊中，我認識到香港學生運動從六十年代後期到七十年代中期的歷史，了解到當時在思想探索上和社會行動上十分活躍的大學生，怎樣對他們身處的政治環境進行反思、對時代的呼喚作出回應，我聽到了關於學運中的所謂「國粹派」和「社會派」的不同路線的對抗的故事，又明白到「反資反殖」(反對資本主義和殖民主義)和「認中關社」(認識中國、關心社會)等學運中的基本概念的背景和淵源。
後來我參加了 1978 年的 《學苑》 編輯委員會候選內閣，並當選為 《學苑》 「學術版」的兩名編輯委員之一。「學術版」的內容是較為思想性、理論性的，涉及哲學、科學、宗教、社會和歷史思想等範疇。除了處理收到的投稿外，我自己也寫文章刊登於「學術版」，中英文文章都發表過，但以中文為主，其中主要的現已收入《我思我在》一書(突破出版社1990年版)。從參與《學苑》的工作開始，我似乎和編輯工作結下了不解之緣。組織競選 1978-79 年的 Law Association Exco 的同學誠意邀請我加入為 Publication Secretary的候選人，我終於答應了。當選以後，除參與LA Exco的一般事務外，我出任了 Law Media 和 Justitia 的總編輯。 前者是 LA的期刊，一年出版四次。後者是同學寫的 dissertations (畢業論文，當時相當於一個必修科)的選編，類似後來的 Hong Kong Student Law Review。我很珍惜在這些出版工作上同學們同心協力的精神。我現在的同事陳文敏教授當時便是積極參與的一份子。
我在唸PCLL的一年入了聖約翰學生宿舍，初嚐宿舍的群體生活。宿舍 orientation 的考驗是嚴峻的，我很高興能夠應付過來。離開家人獨立生活，在宿舍中與其他同學的廣泛交往和頻密接觸，使我在生命成長的故事中進入新的篇章。
It has been 2 years since I graduated from HKU. I started at the university in 2003. After getting my first degree in Government and Laws in 2006, I proceeded to complete the LL.B. in 2007 and the PCLL in 2008. Yet my experience at HKU can hardly be captured by just a couple of sentences. Those five years were some of the best times in my life. I am sure the same applies to many fellows of mine. All those memories, fresh still, must have put a smile on our face: memories of how we trawled through case reports and journal articles in the law library; how we had stacks of distributed materials (or "DMs" as we called them) piling up in our pigeon holes; how we got frustrated at the K.K. Leung lobby, when morning class was about to start and yet all the lifts were packed; how we waited for our exams outside Loke Yew Hall, with notes in our hands and butterflies in our stomach…and, hard to forget too, the feel of that surge of adrenaline inside me when I had my first mooting competition. Of course, the best bit goes to those of how we posed for our graduation pictures and wore the gold proudly on our shoulders.
To me, a good legal education involves the development of a critical mind to analyse – not just what the law is – but also what the law should be. In order to understand, interpret and critique the law, we need a broad command of knowledge – for the law does not exist in vacuum, but is intertwined with the political, economic and cultural aspects of society. I was fortunate to have benefited from the Faculty’s stimulating environment for learning and its increasingly interdisciplinary approach to teaching. I had also enjoyed thoroughly the Government and Laws programme, which offers a rich and nuanced understanding of both the legal and political systems, as well as the intricate relationships between them.
I still remember the day when I put down "Law" as my first choice in my application to HKU. I did so not without misgivings. I never thought that I would enjoy being a lawyer. In those days, there were no TV series that glamorized the practice of law. My father did his best to disabuse me of any nascent aspiration in that direction. But law was a subject in which I held a serious curiosity. So against the exhortations of my parents I entered Law School.
I spent much of my LLB years in the corridors of Knowles Building, particularly in the library. Law was indeed intellectually stimulating. Lord Denning's visit to the Law School in April 1977 was my epiphany. When he addressed all of us in the Knowles Building Lecture Hall, I came face to face with the majesty of the law and the true meaning of the honest administration of justice. Four of us had the privilege of mooting before Lord Denning that afternoon, an experience the memory of which I savour to this day.
HKU law students today are most privileged. You have not only the strong traditions of a great law school that together we have built. You also have supporting you a great alumni body that counts among it some of the most respected names on the bench and in the profession. I wish you all well, and encourage you to keep up our traditions – serving with passion and humility.
The healing power of music … and lyrics
Every now and then, we witness breakdown of relationship, broken promises, betrayal, trespasses, loss of freedom, loss of health, loss of wealth, competition for resources, pain, suffering, loss of amenity ……………
It is not unusual to see clients come to us with sad faces saying :
“my wealth is lost, my friend is false …”
Fine, penalty, compensation in terms of money or otherwise, can it heal?
We may also from time to time hear our learned friends complaining after making submissions in court:
“she hears me not, she heeds me not, nor will she listen to me ...”
Bad day, isn’t it?
“as they tear your hope apart, as they turn your dream to shame ….”
“It’s a struggle, it’s a war.”
Where is the way out?
The law alumni choir is a lovely creature, where “nobody shouts or talks too loud …”
There are conductors encouraging us to sing louder though …
It is not merely my castle on a cloud, but something real, I hear music and voices, reminding me:
“for the wretched of the earth, there is a flame that never dies, even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise…”
“take my hand and lead me to salvation, take my love, for love is everlasting …”
“I see friends shaking hands, saying ‘how do you do?’…”
“I believe my heart, it believes in you …”
“look at the world, so many joys and wonders, so many miracles along our way …”
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Let us enjoy the show!
In early 2003, two former students of our law school asked me to be a member of the executive committee of the law alumni association. I rejected offhand. I suggested a much more qualified and suitable person. That person took advices from various persons and gave the matter serious consideration but declined a few months later.
The two former students offered to give me every assistance, including arranging a meeting with various persons whom the two highly recommended to form the executive committee. They were all busy professionals who came at short notice. In the event, they agreed to join the executive committee.
Little did I know then that the two had put together a marvellous working team. I discovered that our law school enjoyed tremendous alumni and community support. Numerous alumni, whether or not on the executive committee, are willing to make time available to do what they think is in the best interests of our alma mater and her students.
Over the years, I have met and worked with more and more former students who believe that "it is a worthwhile course for those of us who were able to benefit from the tertiary education offered by the HKU Law Faculty". They are instrumental in identifying and expanding the pool of dedicated and enthusiastic supporters with diversified background and interests. New ideas and activities were discussed, resulting in more activities and events being held over the years.
For me, I am glad to have the honour and privilege to be involved in law alumni work. This is summed up by what a former student told the organisers of a private party late last year:
"I have known Kenneth for [decades] and have not seen him so happy before."
大學二年級那年，走堂次數太多，上導修討論課沒準備，遭導修老師Mrs Mushkat (現在叫Professor Mushkat ) 召見，她是國際法專家，講英語帶濃烈的鄉音，平時上堂非常嚴肅，訓導我時也把話說得十二分嚴厲，但關切期許之情溢於言表。我答應她努力改進，三年級那年選修她教的國際法課程時兌現承諾，本來調研一星期便完成的功課我花了一個月，題目是香港的國家責任，她用放大鏡看我每一個注腳問來源出處，大概不敢相信我真的看完這些材料才下筆，最後滿意了才給我打了甲級成績。當時我並不知道，為了讓這位關心我的老師釋懷，我無意中領會了嚴謹的做學問功夫，並對國際法產生興趣，這對我後來的世界觀和工作態度有著深遠的影響。
大學三年級那年，學科選擇驟增，中國法制入門、法律社會學、國際公法、公民自由 (即人權法) 等冷門學料，都開了半學年課程，連同國際貿易法、商業組織法 (即公司法) 和法律哲學三個全學年課程，剛好可以湊夠五個全學年課程，趣味和挑戰俱備，但選這組合便要放棄證據法，那是法律執業的必修課，將來自修不容易，而且這組合意味要應付七個考試，不利於催谷畢業成績。那時候思想單純，沒有什麼功利計算，喜歡這些冷門學科便不顧後果地全選了。當時我並不知道，這一年的抉擇左右了我往後負笈英倫修讀法律碩士的選科 ( 比較憲法、人權法、國籍法、英國議會規則 )，間接促成了日後持續追求憲法與人權學問、走上全職評論之路、寫下《廿三條演義》。
大學四年級、唸法律專業執業文憑PCLL那年，四月正值畢業考試準備季節，我和周家明 (Anderson Chow，如今頂頂有名的資深大律師) 意外獲推薦到北京參加一個國際法講座，聽牛津大學的教授講課，訪京期間剛巧基本法起草委員會在北京開會，最高領導人鄧小平會見草委，明確表示三權分立的美國民主模式不適合香港，周家明和我去探望李柱銘，被他拉著談政治，他要撰寫講詞反駁鄧小平。當時我並不知道，這次天子腳下犯顏直諫，預告了他在一九八九年後脫離草委建制終身擔當反對派的角色，也啟發了我對思考香港政治問題的興趣。
I often think about who my friends are and where they come from. I need friends on both bad days and good days - on bad days, to sooth my battered spirit, and on good days, simply to enjoy their company. University life had been a most enjoyable part of my life and it had been most exploratory as well. Decades after I graduated, I still have many friends from my university days and we huddle regularly to have a good laugh and to live through the many turbulences that come our way, big and small. The thing about our classmates is that we are at ease with each other and we don’t feel inhibited in each other's company. And somehow differences and rivalry matter less. This is a privilege that we share as classmates and it is a gift that we make to each other, a gift that is perhaps as light as a feather but laden with good wishes.
University life shaped us and we shaped each other as fellow students. Our effect on each other continues as graduates. I would always feel a bit taller whenever a classmate of mine gained stature. The reverse would also be true. I would feel shame when one of us did bad things. We are a community. We share a common past and we are tied to a common future. The question is what can each one of us do for this community. Many have contributed significantly. Perhaps the most difficult thing for us is to make time for this community, time to see a mentee or time to run the alumni association or time to respond to a simple request. The truth is I have been delinquent with the last one. I have been tardy in sending you this message of appreciation that it is my privilege to be part of this community.