Social Justice Summer Internship

Overview

The Social Justice Summer Internship (SJSI) is a six-credit programme. Upon completion of the programme, students will be assessed on the basis of a 5-point scale ranging from Poor to Excellent (1=Poor 2=Fair 3=Good 4=Very Good 5=Excellent). These points will not be counted towards the honours classification although their six credits will be recorded in the academic transcripts in the academic year (2012-2013).

A student enrolling in the programme must satisfy the following requirements:

1. Satisfactory attendance at and completion of a compulsory 3-day training programme (in June) to complement their internship;

2. Satisfactory written report from the supervisor (Supervisor’s Report) at the placement organization reflecting that the student has demonstrated a serious approach to the work assigned;

3. Satisfactory attendance at and completion of tasks assigned during the course of the internship to be fixed between June and August for a period of NOT LESS THAN 4 weeks. The minimum number of hours to be logged for the entirety of the internship is at least 160 hours (in June-July);

4. Satisfactory maintenance of an Electronic Journal documenting daily objectives, work output and achievement of goals; and  

5. Submission of a 5000-word Research Paper on a topic related to the work of the organisation (to be agreed in consultation with the Programme Director and the supervisor). 

Community Partners

In 2012-2013 academic year, our community partners include:

  • Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women 
  • Bethune House Migrant Woman's Refuge
  • China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG)
  • Ever Green Association Limited
  • HK People's Council on Housing Policy
  • Mission for Migrant Workers
  • Shamshuipo Community Association Limited
  • Society for Community Organisation (SoCO)
  • Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Hong Kong)
  • Unison Hong Kong
  • Association for the Concern for the Legal Rights of Victims of Domestic Violence
  • Speak for Humanity
  • Human Rights Education Initiative Burma (HREIB, Myanmar)

SJSI Journal

There are two elements to the journal. First, it records what you did. This should be done daily, typically at the end of your day before you leave the office. You should also strive to make some notes about what you actually did during the day for example, the tasks you were assigned, the questions / issues you considered, any meetings you had, the advice you have given, the research you are working on etc. You may also record how long it took (or not) for you to work through a problem. It is not expected that you will record any names of persons involved in your work.

The second element of the Journal consists of your reflections. This should be done perhaps thrice a week (about one page). It is anticipated that you will be able to comment on issues like - the extent to which lawyers would benefit from knowledge of other disciplines and of society generally; the way the law is perceived by the clients, on the one hand, and by the organization you are working for on the other; and how the law you have learned seems to work in practice (or not!). Not all your comments need to be about law. You may wish to look beyond the law. Note that you are not expected to record your personal feelings but you may do so if you wish.

The Journal serves two main objectives: first, to assist you later in the preparation of your Research Paper; and second, it is a form of self-supervision for the work leading to the six credits under the SJSI. It is expected that participation in the SJSI will give you a new perspective on the law, making you think about law and about society differently. You can record any of your thoughts on these issues in your journal.

Writing a Research Paper

The purpose of this component of the course is to facilitate your contribution to the community partner organisation towards a more practical end. The Research Paper is to be written on a specific topic concerning the legal or social issue that relates to, and is inspired by your internship experience. For instance, if you work with Harmony House (a shelter for abused women), your report will analyze an aspect of domestic violence, the prevention and protection strategies that are available recourses and the limitations or barriers to accessing these strategies effectively. The paper should be academic in nature, reflecting an element of independent research of current literature on the subject and a critical reflection based on your practical internship experience.

The paper should include a literature review of the existing state of the law and policy in the area (in Hong Kong and at least one foreign jurisdiction), outline the manner in which these policies impact the issue under discussion and include your observations on social justice and whether it can be achieved effectively through the adoption of particular legal, administrative or other measures. In particular, it should discuss how the social/legal system works, its strengths and weaknesses, and the need for improvement in terms of law, policy, organisation, and resources. In its conclusion, it should offer reflections on actions that need to be taken by relevant parties in order to improve the circumstances with a view to effectively addressing the social justice issue under discussion in the paper.

This paper will contribute to the literature and / or advocacy materials that the community partner organization may find useful in the course of their work.

Deadline

The normal University regulations apply in respect of late submission or failure to submit written work. All work (SJSI Journal and Research Paper) should be submitted via Moodle in early August.

More in-depth research

Many students find the experience of SJSI enriching, and may wish to continue their research going beyond the requirements of the SJSI. To this end, you may wish to proceed to enrol in the Guided Research course which offers an opportunity to pursue relevant questions from an in-depth and rigorous perspective over the course of a semester.

Unauthorized Withdrawal

Once you have been accepted into the SJSI Programme, you are required to fulfil your obligations and complete the full SJSI programme. Any premature withdrawal from the SJSI will attract a Fail mark on the transcript. The Head of Department of Law may grant approval to withdraw from the SJSI programme only in the most exceptional and appropriate cases.

Enquiries

Should you have any further questions along the way, please contact Mr Tristan Wong (wtristan@hku.hk).