Public Law and Governance

Affiliated Staff

Cora Chan


Prof Albert Chen


Prof Simon Young



Constitutional Development in Hong Kong and Rule of Law Education and Rule of Law Education
Principal Investigator: Benny Tai


Constitutional Development in Hong Kong and Rule of Law Education 
Principal Investigator: Benny Tai


Public Interest Litigation in Hong Kong: A New Hope for Social Transformation? 
Principal Investigator: Karen Kong 
Project Period: 
Funding Source: Seed Funding for Basic Research 
This research project explores the phenomenon of a surge of judicial review cases relating to issues of wide public interest in recent years that are similar to public interest litigation in other jurisdictions. It examines whether and how these cases are constrained by the legal obstacles under the existing judicial review rules and the resistance from the court in adjudicating on the essentially political questions being raised. It will also examine the recent public interest judicial attitude towards public interest cases and the challenges and opportunities in the development of public interest litigation in Hong Kong.


CCPL Public Opinion Survey 2016: Hong Kong’s Journey Towards Democratisation and 2047
Principal Investigator: Puja Kapai
Project Period: 23/01/2017 -31/10/2017
Funding Source: National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)


The Community of Lawyers: Trust and Collective Identity of Chinese Public Interest Lawyers
Principal Investigator: Fu Hualing 
Project Period: 07/2014 – 07/2016 
Funding Source: HKU General Research Funds


Judical Deference in Constitutional Rights in Adjudication: Constructing an Approach for Post-Handover Hong Kong 
Principal Investigator: Cora Chan 
Project Period: 01/11/2013 – 31/10/2016 
Funding Source: Early Career Scheme


Towards a Family-Friendly Labour Law Regime in Hong Kong 
Principal Investigator: Rick Glofcheski 
Project Period: November 2007 – October 2009 
Funding Source: Small Project Funding 
The objective of this project is to canvass and assess Hong Kong ‘s current labour law regime for its family-friendly characteristics. This will involve an assessment of existing standards as contained in statutory provisions and in the court decisions in which those standards have been considered and applied. Legislation is particularly important in Hong Kong where trade unions are few and are generally weak and have proved unable to achieve the rights and entitlements of their counterparts elsewhere. This study will also involve a comparison of local standards with those in selected relevant jurisdictions including at least one from the region, and with the standards propounded through the conventions and recommendations of the International Labour Organisation.


Empowering Rural Communities: Legal Aid and the Rule of Law in Rural China
Principal Investigator: Fu Hualing 
Project Period: March 2007 – September 2010 
Funding Source: The University of Washington, Asian Law Centre 
This project aims to: promote structural change in the delivery of legal aid services through a ‘grass-roots level’ model for access to justice in China’s rural regions; to build sustainable new networks of local government, universities, lawyers and citizens who have a stake in fostering civil rule of law in rural China; and to deliver the first rigorous, replicable evaluation of the impact of legal aid in rural China. By pursuing these aims it is hoped that democracy, human rights, labour rights and rule of law may develop in the rural regions of China . This project will also try to build the capacity of citizens to make legal demands on their government and a government that is obligated to respond. In addition to publication, outputs of this project will include developing legal aid centres in rural regions, training of county legal aid lawyers, township justice assistants and legal student interns, capacity building in regional law schools in dispute resolution and advocacy training.


Covert Surveillance in an Age of Privacy 
Principal Investigators: Michael Jackson and Janice Brabyn 
Project Period: September 2005 – August 2008 
Funding Source: Small Project Funding 
This project examined covert surveillance regulatory systems in overseas jurisdictions from theoretical and practical perspectives with a view to assessing the existing regulatory model adopted in HK in 2006 following the enactment of the Interception and Covert Surveillance Ordinance (Cap. 589). The aim was to review and propose amendments to the regulatory system adopted in HK within which interception and covert surveillance may be authorised without derogating disproportionately from respect for and compliance with constitutionally protected rights, including rights to privacy. Current efforts involve compiling an electronic database of materials (primary legislation, secondary legislation (especially regulations), codes of conduct, practice notes, case law, secondary sources etc.) on the regulation of interception and covert surveillance in a range of jurisdictions, including the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the European Union. Once this phase of the project was completed, the investigators surveyed the relevant legislation/codes of practice in the above jurisdictions and prepared and submitted a position/policy paper to the Government of HK, which is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the ordinance.


Proportionality in Criminal Punishment
Principal Investigator: Peter Chau
Project Period: 01/01/2016 – 31/12/2017
Funding Source: General Research Fund (RGC)


Constitutional Reform Project 
Principal Investigator: Simon NM Young 
Project Period: 
Funding Source: 
The project will provide information to the public, professionals, the business sector, the government, and academics, with the aim of encouraging a systematic and in-depth discussion of constitutional review in Hong Kong. 


Submissions and Policy Papers

Arrangements for Filling Vacancies in the Legislative Council: September 2011

On 20 September 2011, CCPL submitted a brief to the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau on the arrangements for filling vacancies in the Legislative Council. The submission discusses the inherent weaknesses of the four options suggested by the consultation paper and offers a ‘fifth option’ for reform; a replacement mechanism similar to the British model of filling in casual vacancies in the European Parliament.



Political Reform Proposal: Breaking the Deadlock: February 2010

On 19 February 2010, CCPL submitted its final proposals for reform of the Election Committee and Legislative Council for 2012 to the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau. These submissions may be downloaded here:

Reform Methods for Selecting the CE in 2012

LegCo Reforms 2012 and 2016 English

LegCo Reforms 2012 and 2016 Chinese

Timeline of the Mass Resignation Plan


Submissions to the Constitutional Reform Task Force: September 2004

Simon N M Young, Associate Professor



Submissions on the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) (Amendment) Bill 2003 by Simon N.M. Young, Associate Professor: January 2004

First submission  [PDF]

Administration’s response to first submission [PDF]

Second submission [PDF]

Submissions by other parties can be found on the LegCo Bills Commitee website.

“Knock knock, Who’s there?” – Warrentless Searches for Article 23 Offences”, Simon N.M. Young, Associate Professor: June 2003



Group Submission to the Legislative Council, the Department of Justice, and the Security Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR on the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill: May 2003



Submission on The Proposals to Implement Article 23 of the Basic Law: December 2002


Occasional Papers

No 25/14: Vince Wong, May 2014

Land Reform Policy in China: Dealing with Expropriation and the Dual Land Tenure System



No 24/13: Bryane Michael, June 2013

How to Implement Public Sector Codes of Conduct: Lessons from OECD Member States



No 23/13: Bryane Michael, February 2013

Can the Hong Kong ICAC Help Reduce Corruption on the Mainland?


No 21/11: Helen Liu, November 2011

Confiscation in Taiwan: The Laws and Ideas for Reform



No 18/08: Paul Harris, August 2008

Is Tibet Entitled to Self Determination?

[PDF] [Chinese Version]


No 17/08: Seren Tang, March 2008

Status of the Reservation to the Right to Vote in Hong Kong



No 15/05: Paul Serfaty, May 2005

Functional Constituencies and Universal Suffrage



No 14/05: Simon Young, January 2005

Can Functional Constituencies Co-exist with Universal Suffrage?



No 13/04: Christopher Chaney, June 2004

The Hong Kong Executive Authorities’ Monopoly on Legislative Power: 
Analysis of the Legislatives Council’s Second Term Voting Records



No 11/03: Johannes Chan, July 2003

Unauthorized and Damaging Disclosure of Protected Information: 
A Comment on the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill 2003



No 10/03: Simon N. M. Young, June 2003

“‘Knock knock, Who’s there?’ – Warrentless Searches for Article 23 Offences”



No 9/03: Fu Hualing, Kelley Loper, Carole Petersen, and Simon N. M. Young, May 2003

“Group Submission to the Legislative Council, the Department of Justice, and the 
Security Bureau of the Hong Kong SAR on the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill”



No 7/03: Simon N.M. Young, January 2003

“Hong Kong’s Anti-Terrorism Measures Under Fire”



No 6/02: Carole Petersen and Kelley Loper, December 2002

“Submission on the Proposals to Implement Article 23 of the Basic Law”



No 5/02: Roda Mushkat, July 2002

“‘Fair Trial’ As A Precondition To Rendition: An International Legal Perspective”


Conference and Seminar Papers

Seminar: The Development of Classical Administrative Law and Modern Threats to it

Professor Christopher Forsyth
Emeritus Sir David Williams Professor of Public Law, University of Cambridge; Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor, The University of Hong Kong
Thursday, 12th April 2018, 17:30 – 18:30
See conference note here.


Conference: Freedom and National Security – Has the Right Balance been Struck?, 14-15 June 2003

Co-sponsored by The Hong Kong Bar Association, the Faculty of Law and the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at The University of Hong Kong, and the School of Law, City University of Hong Kong

This conference considered the recent debate over the implementation of Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law and the proposed National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill introduced to the Hong Kong Legislative Council in February 2003. Speakers include representatives from the government, academia, the legal profession, human rights organisations and journalist associations. The conference presented local and comparative perspectives on national security legislation, addressing topics such as the relationship between national security and administrative law; freedom of information and economic growth; the potential impact of the Bill on press freedoms, self-censorship, and freedom of expression; and the relationship between the Bill and international human rights standards expressed in documents such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information.


  • Speech by Mr. James O’Neil, Deputy Solicitor General (Constitutional) [English[Chinese]
  • Hong Kong Bar Association’s Views on the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill 2003 [PDF]
  • The Hong Kong Bar Association’s Comments on the Committee Stage Amendments dated 6th June 2003 to the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill [PDF]
  • National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill 2003: Administrative Law Aspects by Dr. Christopher Forsyth [PDF]
  • Freedom of Information and the Economic Future of Hong Kong by Dr. Zhiwu Chen [PDF]
  • Submission to the Bills Committee, National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York [PDF]
  • International Human Rights Law Provisions Applicable to the National Security Bill, Submission by the Joseph R. Crowley Program in International Human Rights at Fordham Law School [PDF]
  • Notes for the Bar Council of England & Wales on the Proposals to Implement Article 23 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR by Rabinder Singh QC, 23 December 2002 [PDF]
  • Comments by the Bar of England & Wales regarding the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Consultation Document on the Proposals to Implement Article 23 of the Basic Law, 23 December 2002 [PDF]
  • Submission on Behalf of the Bar of England & Wales, Amendments to the Hong Kong Crimes Ordinance: Treason, Secession, Subversion and Sedition [PDF]
  • Submission on Behalf of the Bar of England & Wales, Official Secrets and the Case of Shayler [PDF] and Appendix: Relevant Provisions of the OSA [PDF]
  • Comments on Behalf of the Bar of England and Wales, Proscription [PDF]
  • More Repression? Beijing’s Response to the 21st Century? by Professor Perry Link [PDF]

Other Relevant Documents

  • National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill [PDF]
  • Comments on the Consultation Document on Proposed Legislation Under Article 23 of the Basic Law by the Law Society of Hong Kong, 17 December 2002 [PDF]
  • In the Shadow of the Law, A Report by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group in response to Justice Canada’s 1st annual report on the application of the Anti-Terrorism Act (Bill C-36) [PDF]
  • Canadian Bar Association’s Views on Proposed Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (Canada) , 20 November 2002 [PDF]
  • Canadian Bar Association’s Views on Bill C-32, Criminal Code amendments (setting traps) (Canada), 27 May 2003 [PDF]
  • Canadian Bar Association Submission on Lawful Access – Consultation Document, December 2002 [PDF]
  • Canadian Bar Association Submission on Bill C-17 Public Safety Act, 2002, January 2003 [PDF]


Seminar: Jutta Limbach, How a Constitution Can Safeguard Democracy: The German Experience, 29 January 2003 [PDF]


Professor Limbach, born in 1934, studied law in Berlin and Freiburg. In 1971 she received a chair of law at the Free University of Berlin and worked there as a professor of civil law, commercial law and legal sociology until 1989. In March 1994 she was elected Justice and Vice-President of the German Constitutional Court and she served as president of the Court from September 1994 until April 2002. In January 2002 she was elected President of the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes, Germany.


Conference: Preserving Civil Liberties in Hong Kong: The Potential Impact of Proposals to Implement Article 23 of the Basic Law, 23 November 2002

Article 23 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region provides that Hong Kong shall enact laws to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition or subversion against the Central People’s Government, as well as the theft of state secrets. The Hong Kong government issued a public consultation paper on its proposals to implement Article 23 in September 2002, which generated significant concern in the community. Session One of the Conference consisted of several academic papers on important civil liberties issues. Session Two consisted of a panel discussion, in which panel members commented upon points raised in the academic papers and offered their own analysis of the government’s proposals.

Session 1: Speakers included Assistant Professor Simon Young, Professor Johannes Chan, Associate Professor Fu Hua Ling and Professor Albert Chen.

Session 2: Panelists included Mr. Cliff Buddle, Mr. Law Yuk-kai, The Honourable Margaret Ng, Mr. James O’Neil, and Assistant Professor Doreen Weisenhaus.

  • State Powers of Investigation and Article 23 by Simon N.M. Young (abstract) [PDF]
  • Past and Future Offences of Sedition in Hong Kong by Fu Hualing [PDF]
  • Treason, Secession, Subversion and Proscribed Organizations: Comments on the Consultation Document by Albert H.Y. Chen [PDF]