Sep 07
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Common Law Lecture Series: Unselfish Private Law

The Common Law Lecture Series


Unselfish Private Law


7 September 2023 (Thursday)
6:00 – 7:00 PM
NEW VENUE: Philip K.H. Wong Theatre, 2/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, HKU




Professor Lionel Smith is Cheng Yu Tung Distinguished Visiting Professor at HKU during September 2023. He is Downing Professor of the Laws of England at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Gonville and Caius College. He previously taught at the Universities of Alberta and Oxford before joining McGill University in 2000, where he was Sir William C Macdonald Professor of Law at McGill University from 2013-2022. Previously he was Director of the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law and James McGill Professor. He is a Titular Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law and member of the American Law Institute, the European Law Institute, and the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law, and is a non-practising member of the Bar of Alberta.


About the Lecture:
A large body of private law can rightly be understood as a system of rules that regulates the interactions between atomistic subjects who are free to pursue their own interests so long as they do not infringe upon the legally protected interests of others. The incompleteness of this perspective, however, becomes obvious in relation to the law of fiduciary relationships. From the atomistic perspective, this body of law seems to present a series of insoluble mysteries. These disappear when we understand that private law sometimes gives effect to interpersonal relationships that are not atomistic but are, on the contrary, other-regarding. Seeing this clearly helps us to better understand fiduciary law, to better understand private law’s duality, and ultimately to better understand the relationship between private law and public law.


About the Lecture Series: The Faculty of Law proudly announces The Common Law Lecture Series. The Common Law Lecture Series was founded in 2005, by the Faculty of Law with the kind support of the Court of Final Appeal, to contribute to the learning and development of the common law. Past speakers include Sir Anthony Mason, Mr Justice Ribeiro, Lord Millett, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Scott, Mr Justice Phang, Lord Walker, Mr Justice Li, Mr Justice Ma, Mr Justice Bokhary, Mr Justice Litton etc.


Registration is required. Please register ONLINE to reserve your place.
Enquiries: Flora Leung at

Back to Events