Encouraging high quality research performance and enriching the research culture of the Faculty remains one of our top priorities. The Faculty has some of the highest scores in the University in various RAE exercises, which is a recognition that a very high percentage of our academic staff are assessed to be active researchers whose work has reached an international standard.
The developmental directions and research priorities of the Faculty are centred around the following six research areas: Public law and human rights; Commercial, corporate and financial law; Comparative Chinese law; Intellectual property and information technology; WTO and international and economic law; and dispute resolution and negotiation.
This is one of the strongest areas of the Faculty. Staff members are actively engaged in contemporary debates on comparative constitutional law, human rights, rule of law and gender issues, and significant research on these areas has been produced. Since 1999, we have offered a pioneering regional Master of Laws (LLM) in Human Rights, which is the only human rights law programme in Asia with a uniquely Asian focus. Graduates of this Programme include judges, lawyers and advocates, government lawyers and prosecutors, academics and human rights activists in over 17 countries in Asia and other parts of the world. Our public law research is backed up by our Centre of Comparative and Public Law. A number of our staff have won various research prizes and awards.
The Faculty has the widest range of expertise in Chinese Law outside Mainland China. Our expertise ranges from criminal law, public law, securities regulation and finance, intellectual property, to cross-border issues and legal theory and jurisprudence. Coupled with our strong common law strength, we are in a very strong position in offering comparative law research and teaching on civil law and common law. Because of the unique position of Hong Kong and our Faculty, our research on comparative Chinese law has been frequently cited in most of the quality international journals, and our LLM in Chinese Law programme has been able to attract students from all over the world who are interested in China's legal development and its interface with the western world. A number of our colleagues are involved one way or the another in legal reform in Mainland China.
The Faculty has a wealth of expertise in the commercial law area, including core common law subjects like contract, tort, property, equity, tax, credit and security, mergers and acquisitions, listing, banking, finance, commercial drafting, as well as private international law and international trade and economic law. This is a very diversified area but a most important one for legal education. Our Asian Institute of International Financial Law has been a focal point of our research on corporate and financial law, and has brought to Hong Kong many distinguished scholars for many highly successful public lectures and academic conferences.
This is a developing budding area of significance in the Faculty. In terms of information technology law, the Law and Technology Centre has generated considerable research output and has secured major funding from the Hong Kong Government for a Community Legal Information Centre Project which aims to promulgating general legal knowledge to the general public. The Centre also houses the Hong Kong Legal Information Institute, which provides the public with free access to one of the best electronic database on legal material in Hong Kong. It is indeed the only electronic databases in Asia that provides free access to comprehensive legal information ' which is itself a contribution of the Faculty to the rule of law. Our research in the area of intellectual property covers cutting edge research of the area of bio-medical development and pharmaceutical products, as well as domain name disputes and policy research on intellectual property.
The trade and international economic law is a recent area of development in the Faculty, but is rapidly gaining momentum. The East Asian International Economic Law (EAIEL) programme is the focal point of training and research in this area. We were designated by the WTO for three consecutive years as the Asia-Pacific centre for running the first Regional Trade Policy Course (RTPC) for government officials from over 30 developing countries in the Asia Pacific Region. EAIEL has also been engaged in capacity building and staff training in WTO matters in China and southeast Asia. It has also collaborated with various UN organs in organizing high level international conferences, including the Trade Symposium alongside the 6th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Hong Kong in December 2005. The Visiting Fellow scheme of the EAIEL programme also brings in regional and international experts in the area.
The Faculty is also actively developing the interdisciplinary area of arbitration and dispute resolution which incorporates law, business, government, psychology, economics, anthropology, and education. We have expertise from both the Anglo-American and Mainland China backgrounds in dispute resolution, and the idea is to create a productive dialogue between rigorous research and scholarship and the competitive edge of practice in this area of great potential. So far such programmes exist mainly in North America. As negotiation and dispute resolution is also tied to culture and values, we are developing a major dispute resolution and negotiation programme in this part of the world where there is a distinct cultural approach to such issues.