LLAW6170 Law and the internet

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6170 / JDOC6170
Course name: Law and the Internet
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: Second
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 9 credits / 6 credits

1.2 Course description

Information and communication technologies are part of the very fabric of contemporary societies. Their understanding and mastery are a required form of literacy in the 21st century. Social dynamics everywhere have changed because of ICTs and in the image of these a new social paradigm has been formed. Sociologist Manuel Castells has termed this new social paradigm “informationalism”, in contrast with the idea of “industrialism” that characterized 20th century societies. As a social science, law is not imune to these transformations but is rather profoundly influenced by them, to the point that we can speak of a new stage in legal scholarship and practice – of the Law of the Information Society.

In our course, we keep the name “Information Technology Law” for historical reasons, but our objective is precisely that of empirically assessing some of these transformations which, in its different areas, the law of contemporary societies has been undergoing. While other courses in our programme (for instance, “Regulation of Cyberspace”) question at a higher level of abstraction the normative foundations of such transformations, in “Introduction to IT Law” our aim is to give you an introductory overview of the concrete, practical shifts that the institutions of law have been experiencing in a number of different areas – from Identity and Privacy to Intellectual Property, and from Defamation and Liability in Virtual Worlds to Cybercrime and Jurisdiction.

The focus of our course is on major common law jurisdictions, taking the law in the United Kingdom and in Hong Kong as a starting point. Nonetheless, occasional – and in some areas extensive – references to the law in the European Union will be made.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Marcelo Thompson marcelo.thompson@hku.hk CCT 308 By email


2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1  Be able to identify the sources of information technology law and apply them to solve important legal problems of contemporary information societies;

CLO 2  Develop a critical and comparative appreciation of the ways in which different jurisdictions tackle these problems; and

CLO 3 Be familiar with a number of substantive topics that will be relevant for further research in this field.

2.2 LLM Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

PLO A On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the body of legal knowledge and the capacity to conduct research on, critically analyse and evaluate legal principles, at a level required to meet the standards and expectations of the legal profession and the community at large.

PLO B On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply their legal knowledge and research skills to practical situations or theoretical challenges, and utilise their comparative understanding of the law and its political, social and cultural contexts to provide original and creative insights to legal problems.

PLO C On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply the knowledge, lawyering skills and legal reasoning to real and novel situations in life, with a view to resolving issues, problems and disputes within the legal parameters.

PLO D On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to present effectively legal arguments in the professional context, as well as conveying and explaining the law effectively to lay clients and members of the larger community.

PLO E On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to appreciate the underlying moral values of the law and ethics in the profession and the legal system in the broad social, economic, political and cultural contexts: justice, the Rule of Law, and protection of rights and liberties which form the fabrics of a civilised society, and the importance of upholding these values by the legal community.

PLO F On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to develop a strong awareness of social issues and conditions, and utilise analytical abilities and rhetorical advocacy to provide leadership for the betterment of the human community.

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course

CLO 1  ✓
CLO 2  ✓  ✓
CLO 3  ✓

3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Mid-term essay TBC 35% 1, 2, 3
Take home exam TBC 65% 1 1, 2, 3
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/grading-criteria/


4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Lecture: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/

By the publication of the course profile online, the Faculty deems the student as having been notified of the course requirements.