Academic Staff

Cora Chan 陳秀慧

Associate Professor
BSocSc (Government and Laws) (HKU); LLB (HKU); BCL (Oxon)

Email | CV | SSRN | HKU ResearcherPage |

Cora Chan’s research interests are in constitutional theory, human rights and public law. She is currently studying the phenomenon of judicial deference in human rights adjudication. Her works on this topic have been the subject of a number of awards, including the 2012 Society of Legal Scholars Best Paper Prize (for her paper “Proportionality and Invariable Baseline Intensity of Review”); and the 2012-2013 University of Hong Kong Research Output Prize (for her article “Deference, Expertise and Information-Gathering Powers”). In 2013, she received a competitive grant from Hong Kong’s Research Grants Council to examine deference in Hong Kong courts. The Council awarded her the Early Career Award on top of the grant in recognition of the excellent quality of her grant proposal. She had been a visiting scholar at Cambridge and Durham. In 2014, she was awarded the Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award. She is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law and is an editor for Hong Kong Law Journal and Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law. 

Cora is a graduate of the University of Hong Kong’s double degree programme in law and political science. Upon completion of the programme, she attended Brasenose College at the University of Oxford, where she obtained the BCL degree and was awarded the Ralph Chiles CBE Prize in Human Rights. She was admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong in 2009.

Select publications

“A Preliminary Framework for Measuring Deference in Rights Reasoning” (2016) 14(4) International Journal of Constitutional Law 851-882

“Implementing China and Hong Kong’s Preliminary Reference System: Transposability of Article 267 TFEU Principles” [2014] Public Law 642-661

“Business as Usual: Deference in Counter-Terrorism Judicial Review” in Fergal F. Davis and Fiona de Londras (eds) Critical Debates on Counter-Terrorism Judicial Review (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014) pp 228-250

“Focus: Kong Yunming v The Director of Social Welfare - Introduction” (2014) 44(1) Hong Kong Law Journal 1-5

“The Burden of Proof under the Human Rights Act” [2014] Judicial Review 46-51

“Adult Guardianship Law in China: Traditional Values and Modern International Developments” in A. Kimberley Dayton (ed.) Comparative Perspectives on Adult Guardianship (Carolina Academic Press, 2014) pp 123-136 (with Rebecca Lee)

“Proportionality and Invariable Baseline Intensity of Review” (2013) 33(1) Legal Studies 1-21 (winner of 2012 Society of Legal Scholars Best Paper Prize)

“Deference, Expertise and Information-Gathering Powers” (2013) 33(4) Legal Studies 598-620 (first published online: 25 October 2012) (winner of 2012-2013 University of Hong Kong Research Output Prize; short-listed for the 2011 Society of Legal Scholars Best Paper Prize)

“State Immunity: Reassessing the Boundaries of Judicial Autonomy in Hong Kong” [2012] Public Law 601-610

“Deference and the Separation of Powers: An Assessment of the Court’s Constitutional and Institutional Competences” (2011) 41 Hong Kong Law Journal 7-25

“Reconceptualising the Relationship between the Mainland Chinese Legal System and the Hong Kong Legal System” (2011) 6(1) Asian Journal of Comparative Law 1-28

“Judicial Deference at Work: Some Reflections on Chan Kin Sum and Kong Yun Ming" (2010) 40 Hong Kong Law Journal 1-10

Conference and seminar papers

“Rights, Proportionality and Deference: An Empirical Study of Judgments in Post-Handover Hong Kong”, ICON-S Conference, Humboldt University of Berlin, 2016

“A Preliminary Framework for Measuring Deference in Rights Reasoning”, Society of Legal Scholars Conference, University of York, 2015

“Abuse of Power: Is there a Public-Private Law Divide? The Public Law View”, Dialogue with Professor Sarah Worthington, held at University of Hong Kong, 2015

“Implementing China and Hong Kong’s Preliminary Reference System: Transposability of Article 267 TFEU Principles”, World Congress of Constitutional Law, University of Oslo, 2014

“Measuring Judicial Deference in Constitutional Rights Adjudication”, Administrative Law Discussion Forum, Academic Sinica, Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Taipei, 2014

“Measuring Judicial Deference in Constitutional Rights Adjudication”, UCL-HKU Conference on Judicial Review in a Changing Society, University of Hong Kong, 2014

“Measuring Judicial Deference in Constitutional Rights Adjudication”, Public Law Seminar, Centre for Public Law, University of Cambridge, 2014

“Implementing China and Hong Kong’s Preliminary Reference System: Transposability of Article 267 TFEU Principles”, Durham Law School, 2014

“Implementing China and Hong Kong’s Preliminary Reference System: Transposability of Article 267 TFEU Principles”, UK-China Conference on Public Law, Renmin University Law School, Beijing, 2013

“Proportionality and invariable baseline intensity of review”, Workshop on “proportionality and democratic accountability”, Academia Sinica, Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Taipei, 2013

“Running Business as Usual: Deference in Counter-Terrorist Rights Review”, Conference on “Critical Debates on Counter-Terrorist Judicial Review”, Human Rights Centre, Durham Law School, 2013

“Proportionality and Invariable Baseline Intensity of Review”, Society of Legal Scholars 103rd Annual Conference, University of Bristol, 2012

“Deference, Expertise and Intelligence-gathering Powers”, Society of Legal Scholars 102nd Annual Conference, University of Cambridge, 2011

“Implications of FG Hemisphere v Congo on Judicial Autonomy in Hong Kong”, 4th Asian Constitutional Law Forum, University of Hong Kong, 2011

“Deference on the Ground of Democratic Legitimacy”, 3rd Biennial HKU-NUS-SMU Symposium, University of Hong Kong, 2010

“Legal Pluralism and China's ‘One Country, Two Systems’ Model”, 7th Asian Law Institute Conference, Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws, International Islamic University, Kuala Lumpur, 2010

Editorships and professional affiliations

Member, Scientific Advisory Board, International Journal of Constitutional Law (New York University School of Law and Oxford University Press)

Articles Editor, Hong Kong Law Journal (Hong Kong: Sweet & Maxwell)

Editor, Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law (Leiden – Boston: Brill Nijhoff)

Hong Kong Correspondent for the U.K. Constitutional Law Association

Member, Society of Legal Scholars, U.K.

Member, U.K. Constitutional Law Association

Fellow, Centre for Comparative and Public Law, University of Hong Kong

Courses taught

Constitutional Law, Administrative Law