Academic Staff

Dr Michael Ng 吳海傑

Assistant Professor
Acting Director, Centre for Chinese Law
LLB (HKU), MSocSc (Criminology, HKU), PCLL, (HKU); MA (History, CUHK), PhD (History, CUHK); Solicitor (HK, non-practising), Certified Public Accountant (HK & US, non-practising)


Dr Michael Ng is a legal historian at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong.  Author of Legal Transplantation in Early 20th Century China – Practicing Law in Republican Beijing (1910s-1930s) (Routledge), co-editor of Chinese Legal Reform and the Global Legal Order – Adoption and Adaptation (Cambridge) and Civil Unrest and Governance in Hong Kong – Law and Order from Historical and Cultural Perspectives (Routledge), Dr Ng specializes in legal history of China and Hong Kong during the 19th and 20th centuries. His works have appeared in leading international refereed journals such as Law and History Review, Law and Literature, International Journal of Asian Studies, Business History, and Journal of Comparative Law, among others.

Prior to joining the Faculty of Law, Dr Ng has served in the legal, business and finance sectors for more than 15 years.  As a solicitor, Dr Ng specialized in corporate and commercial practice.  After leaving the private legal practice, he served in a listed multinational corporation as its Chief Investment Officer and Finance Director, focusing on mergers, acquisitions and direct investment transactions in China and Asia.  He also ran a China-focused private equity fund management firm as its Partner and CFO. 

Dr Ng welcomes discussion on supervision of MPhil or PhD study in legal history.

Publication & Research

Sole-authored Monographs

1. Legal Transplantation in Early Twentieth-Century China: Practicing law in Republican Beijing (1910s-1930s). New York, London: Routledge, 2014. (University Research Output Prize 2014-15) (Book Review: [link]) (Cited in Harvard Law Review 129, 2016: n20 )

2. Foreign Direct Investment in China – Theories and Practices. New York, London: Routledge, 2013.

Edited Volumes

3. Chinese Legal Reform and the Global Legal Order – Adoption and Adaptation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017) (co-edited with Zhao Yun)

4. Civil Unrest and Governance in Hong Kong: Law and Order from Historical and Cultural Perspectives (New York, London: Routledge, 2017) (co-edited with John D. Wong)

Journal Articles

5. “When Silence Speaks: Press Censorship and Rule of Law in British Hong Kong (1850s-1940s)," Law and Literature (ARC journal ranking: A)(forthcoming 2017).

6. “Non-Professional Access to Justice in Rural China: A History of Atypical Legal Development and Legal Service Provision,” China Review (forthcoming 2017) (co-authored with Xuanming Pan).

7. "Geographical Dimension of Colonial Justice: Using GIS in Research on Law and History," Law and History Review (Cambridge, ARC journal ranking: A) 34.4 (2016) (co-authored with Edwin T. Chow and David W.S. Wong) DOI:

8. “Rule of Law in Hong Kong History Demythologised: Student Umbrella Movement of 1919,” Hong Kong Law Journal 46.3 (2016): 829-847.

9. “Disintermediator or another intermediary? E-simulation platform for professional legal education at University of Hong Kong,” European Journal of Law and Technology 7.1 (2016) (co-authored with Wilson Chow)

10. “Dirt of Whitewashing: Re-conceptualizing Debtors’ Obligations in Chinese Business by Transplanting Bankruptcy Law to Early British Hong Kong (1860s-1880s),” Business History (ARC journal ranking: A) 27.8 (2015): 1219-1247. DOI:

11. “Seeking a change of legal mind?” (見異思遷 ?) Renmin University Law Review (人大法律評論) 18 (2015): 376-386. [In Chinese].

12. “Legal Education without the Law - Lay clients as teachers and assessors in communication skills,” International Journal of the Legal Profession (ARC journal ranking: A), 22(1) 2015: 103-125. (co-authored with Wilson Chow) DOI:

13. “Business of Justice and Justice of Business – The Legal Profession of Republican Beijing,” Journal of Comparative Law (London)6.2 (2012): 292-321. (Faculty Research Output Prize 2012-13)

14. GIS in Urban Cultural Studies: Reflections from the Project on Republican Beijing,” Annals of GIS 18.1 (2012): 81-92. (co‐authored with Billy KL So, Zhang Peiyao, and Lin Hui)

15. “Attorney on Trial: When the Lawyers met the Phony Lawyers in Republican Beijing.” International Journal of Asian Studies (Cambridge, ARC journal ranking: A,) 8.1 (2011): 25-39. DOI:

16. “Unitary Policy Producing Different Outcomes at Different Locations,” (一場改革, 不同地方, 多種可能) Journal for Legal History Studies (法制史研究) (Academia Sinica, Taipei) 15 (2009): 287-293. [In Chinese]

Book Chapters

17. Judicial Orientalism – Imaginaries of Chinese Legal Transplantation in Common Law,” in Chinese Legal Reform and the Global Legal Order – Adoption and Adaptation, Zhao Yun and  Michael H.K. Ng eds., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017.

18.The Law, China, and the World: An introduction,” in Chinese Legal Reform and the Global Legal Order – Adoption and Adaptation, Zhao Yun and Michael H.K. Ng eds., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017. (co-authored with Yun Zhao)

19. “Negotiating the Legitimacy of Governance,” in Civil Unrest and Governance in Hong Kong: Law and Order from Historical and Cultural Perspectives, Michael H.K. Ng and John D. Wong eds., New York, London: Routledge, 2017. (co-authored with John D. Wong)

20.  “Legal System and Administration of Justice in Colonial Hong Kong,” (殖民地時代香港的法制與司法), in Hong Kong History: New Perspectives (香港史新編), Wang Gungwu, ed., Hong Kong: Joint Publishing, 2016  (co-authored with Albert Chen and Christopher Munn) [In Chinese].

21.  “The First Standardized Client Initiative in Asia - University of Hong Kong's Experience,” in The Calling of Law: the pivotal role of vocational legal education, Karen Barton and Fiona Westwood eds., 165-180. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2014 (co-authored with Wilson Chow).

22. “The Ordering of Crime in Republican Beijing from the 1910s to the 1930s,” in New Narratives of Urban Space in Republican Chinese Cities - Emerging Social, Legal and Governance Orders. Billy KL So and Madeleine Zelin eds., 113-134.Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2013.

23. “Spatial Structure of Urban Legal Culture of Beijing,” (北京都市法律文化的空間空結構) in Urban Space and Cultural Dynamics in Modern Chinese Cities (中國近代城市文化的動態發展:人文空間的新視野) Billy KL So ed., 139-152. Beijing: Zhejiang University Press, 2012. [In Chinese]

Book Reviews / Short Pieces

24. Book Review of The History and Theory of Legal Practice in China: Toward a Historical-social Jurisprudence, (Brill: 2014), Monumenta Serica  LXIV no. 2 (2016).

25. “From Despising Litigation Masters to Partnering with Lawyers – Observing the Development of Chinese Legal Culture from Shen Bao,” ( 從蔑視訟師到夥拍律師 — 從「申報」看近代中國法律文化的演變) China Law 6 (2010): 42-45. [In Chinese]

26. “Transnational enterprises and sovereignty of developing countries,” Leaders 35 (2010): 21-23.

27. Book Review of The Shanghai Lawyers during Modern Social Change by Chen Tong (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 2008), Hong Kong Law Journal 39.3 (2009): 861-865.


Grant, Award and Fellowship

28. Faculty Research Output Prize 2015-16, Law Faculty, HKU

29. Faculty Outstanding Teaching Award 2015-16.

30. University Research Output Prize 2014-2015.

31. Principal Investigator: General Research Fund (GRF) project funded by Hong Kong Government’s Research Grants Council: “Mapping Colonial Justice of Early 20th Century Hong Kong (1900-1941): A Historical GIS Study (amount granted: HK$978,988), 2015-2017.

32. Awardee of Universitas 21 Fellowship 2014-2015, as visiting scholar at University of Melbourne Law School.

33. Faculty Research Output Prize 2012-13, Law Faculty, HKU

34. Principal Investigator: Seed Funding Programme for Basic Research 2013 – “Realism Realized in Lawyering? A Comparative Study of Clinical Legal Education in Hong Kong and Mainland China” (amount awarded HK$119,000). 

35. Co-investigator: Teaching Development Grant 2013 - “Extending and Enhancing Realism to Legal Education at the University of Hong Kong” (amount awarded HK$343,874) (Principal Investigator: Wilson Chow; Co-Investigator: Julienne Jen). 

36. Serving as Researcher in an RGC Earmarked Research Grant Project: “Beijing in Transition: A Historical GIS Study of Urban Cultures, 1912-1937 – Legal Culture Section” (amount granted: HK$1,060,000), Principal Investigator: Prof Billy K.L. So, 2009-2010.


Editorship and Academic Society Management

37. Co-editor, Chinese Law Section, Hong Kong Law Journal

38. Committee Member, International Society for Chinese Law and History 2014 - present


Invited Conference Papers/Seminars

39.“Rule of Law in Hong Kong History Demythologised: Student Umbrella Movement of 1919” presented at SOAS University of London, organised by SOAS China Institute, and Centre of East Asian Law of SOAS Law School in Jan 2017.

40. “Law, Debt and Good Merchant: Chinese Business and English Bankruptcy Law in Early British Hong Kong (1860s-1880s)” presented in International Conference on Chinese Law and History held at Fudan University Law School (Shanghai) in July 2015.

41. “Judicial Orientalism: The Making of Chinese Legal Transplant by Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal” presented in the Symposium on Chinese Legal Reform and the Global Legal Order held at HKU in June 2015.

42. “Mapping Hong Kong History ” presented in Workshop on Hong Kong History organized by HKU (School of Humanities) and University of Bristol (Sponsored by Hatton Trust and Sino-British Fellowship Trust), held at HKU in May 2015.

43. “Legal Education without the Law - Lay clients as teachers and assessors in communication skills in Hong Kong” presented in Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference held at University of Nottingham in September 2014.

44.  “Transplanting indigenous legal practices to a transplanted legal system? An archival study of the Beijing criminal court in early Republican China (1910s)” Asian Law Centre Seminar, University of Melbourne Law School, 28 August 2014.

45. “From Order to Orphans – Policing Reinvented in Republican Beijing (1912-1937)” Paper presented in: International Conference on "Modernity and Chinese Legal Culture: A Dialogue between China and the West” held at Renmin University, Beijing, 26 May, 2013.

46. Defending Change by the Claim of Tradition – Criminal Court Hearing of Early Republican China” Paper presented in the conference on Origins and Transformation of Chinese Legal Modernity: New Inquiries and New Insights held by Columbia University, New York, 4-6 May, 2012.

47. “Driving or Limiting the Legal Transplant – Criminal Court Judges of Republican Beijing” Paper presented in the 8th East Asian Conference on Philosophy of Law held by the College of Law, National Chengchi University, Taipei, 17-18 March, 2012.

48. “Mapping Modern Legal Culture of Republican Beijing.” Paper presented in the Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference 2011. Honolulu, 31 Apr -3
May, 2011.