Faculty of Law

Postgraduate Programmes


index :

Research Programmes

menu : Doctor of Legal Science (SJD) | : Master of Philosphy (MPhil) | : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy

The Faculty offers three types of research degrees: MPhil, the PhD and the SJD. A successful PhD thesis should represent the result of the candidate's research which should be an original contribution to knowledge and worthy of publication. Candidates will conduct research work under the supervision of at least one member of the Faculty's staff. The following are the focus areas of research:

1. Public Law


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 (CCPL). A number of our staff have won various research prizes and awards.  Excellent scholarship on human rights is published in the Asia Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law, a Scopus-indexed journal edited and housed in CCPL.

2. Comparative Chinese Law


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, and intellectual property, to cross-border issues and legal theory and jurisprudence. Coupled with our strength in common law, 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 another in legal reform in Mainland China.

3. Commercial, Corporate and Financial Law


The Faculty has a wealth of expertise in the commercial law area, including core common law subjects such as 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.

4. Intellectual Property and Information Technology


This is a budding area of significance in the Faculty. In terms of information technology law, the Law and Technology Centre has generated considerable research output and, with major funding from the Hong Kong Government, has developed the very successful Community Legal Information Centre project, which promulgates 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 databases on Hong Kong legal materials and thereby contributes to better access to the law. Our intellectual property scholars conduct cutting-edge research in the area of bio-medical development and pharmaceutical products, as well as domain name disputes and policy research.

5. WTO and International Economic Law


Trade and international economic law is an established area in the Faculty. 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 organising 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.

6. Arbitration & Dispute Resolution


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 aim is to create a productive dialogue between rigorous research and scholarship and the competitive edge of practice in this area of great potential. 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.

Applications Deadline

PhD, MPhil and SJD programmes (for admissions in 2017-2018)
Hong Kong PhD Fellowships: December 1, 2016
Main round application: December 1, 2016
Clearing rounds application: April 30, 2017 & August 31, 2017

Programme Director:

Prof. Simon N.M. Young
Associate Dean (Research)

General Enquiries:

Ms Winnie Wong
Tel: (852) 3917 2955
Fax: (852) 2559 5690
Email: lawpgs@hku.hk