Academic Staff

Professor Johannes M M Chan SC (Hon) 陳文敏


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PROFESSOR JOHANNES M M CHAN is Professor of Law and former Dean of the Faculty of Law (2002-2014), being the longest serving Dean of the Faculty.  He was also a visiting professor to a number of universities in Europe and Asia, including being the BOK Visiting International Professor of Penn Law School, University of Pennsylvania (2014), Herbert Smith Freehills Visiting Professor of Cambridge University (2015), and a visiting fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University. In recognition of his distinguished contribution to legal development through both advocacy in courts and legal research and publications, he was honoured by the Chief Justice in 2003 by his appointment as the first (and so far the only) Honorary Senior Counsel in Hong Kong

Academic Work

He specializes in human rights, constitutional and administrative law, and has published over 200 publications in these fields with distinguished publishers such as Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, University of Pennsylvania Press, Hong Kong University Press, and in top-ranked journals such as International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Singapore Academy of Law Journal, and Human Rights Law Journal.

His books include Law of the Hong Kong Constitution (with C L Lim, 2015, 2nd ed), Halsbury’s Laws of Hong Kong: Constitutional Law and Human Rights (vol 16, with Mr Justice Bokhary and others, 2015); Reflections at theAcademia(翰林隨筆:在公義路上的反思),General Principles of Hong Kong Law (香港法概論)(with Albert Chen & Others, 3rd ed, 2015), Hong Kong’s Constitutional Debates (with Lison Harris, 2005); and Immigration Law and Policy in Hong Kong: An Inter-Disciplinary Study (with Bart Rwezaura, 2004). 

Professor Chan is also a regular speaker in international conferences and fora.  He is a keynote speaker in the prestigious 4th East Asian Law and Society Conference in Tokyo in August 2015, and a keynote speaker in the 2nd Public Law Conference to be held by Cambridge University in September 2016.  He is also one of the founding editors of Hong Kong Public Law Reports and an editor of Hong Kong Law Reports and Digest and Hong Kong Cases. 

For a full list of his publication, see publications.

Public Services

He has appeared as counsel in many leading Bill of Rights/human rights and constitutional law cases.  Internationally, he has worked on specific issues with many non-governmental organisations (such as Amnesty International, Lawyers Committee, the International Committee of Red Cross, Article 19).  He has also appeared in official international forum and acted as a trial observer in the Asian region.

Professor Chan has served on many government/public and professional bodies, including the Bar Council, the Consumer Council, the Broadcasting Authority, the Press Council, the Administrative Appeals Board, the Municipal Services Appeals Board, Law Reform Sub-Committee on Privacy, Council of the Hong Kong Red Cross, and the Central Policy Unit of the Hong Kong Government.  He served on the Consumer Council for 12 years and was the chairman of its Consumer Legal Action Fund for 6 years till 2010, during which time he oversaw, among other things, the test case involving the Lehman Brothers saga. 

He is also the author of a weekly column in Ming Pao, a leading Chinese newspaper in Hong Kong for over 12 years since 2002 and, since 2008, served on the Civic Commission on Democratic Reform established by Mrs Anson Chan, the former Chief Secretary of Administration of the HKSAR.   He joined Mrs Anson Chan again in 2013 to form a group known as 2020, the sole objective of which is to contribute to the political reform in Hong Kong.

In 1995, he was elected as one of the Ten Young Outstanding Persons in Hong Kong. In 1997, he received the Badge of Honour from the British Red Cross Society for his service.  In 1999, he received the Human Rights Press Award.  In 2003, he was appointed the first Honorary Senior Counsel.  In 2011, he completed the Management and Leadership in Higher Education Program at Harvard University.