Academic Staff

Malcolm John Merry

BA(Hons)(Juris) ; LLM

Email | HKU ResearcherPage | SSRN |

Malcolm first joined the Faculty (then School) of Law as a lecturer in 1981. He rejoined the Faculty in December 2006 after 17 years in full-time practice in which he appeared or advised as counsel in numerous land-related cases. He has served as a deputy District Judge (Presiding Officer in the Lands Tribunal) and as a member of the HK Bar Council, the District Court Rules Committee and sub-committees of the HK Law Reform Commission. 

Malcolm is the author of one of the earliest and most popular local legal texts, Hong Kong Tenancy Law (LexisNexis; 5th edition, 2010), and of Domestic Tenancies(Butterworths Asia, 1997). He has also written Building Management in Hong Kong (LexisNexis, 3rd Edn, 2016) and (with Say Goo) the Landlord and Tenant title of Halsbury’s Laws of Hong Kong.


Hong Kong Tenancy Law, Butterworths Lexis Nexis (1st Edn, 1985; 5th Edn, 2010; 6th Edn forthcoming)

Domestic Tenancies, Butterworths Lexis Nexis (1997)

Building Management in Hong Kong, Lexis Nexis (3rd Edn, 2016)

Halsbury’s Laws of Hong Kong, Volume 36, Landlord and Tenant (with S.H.Goo), Butterworths Lexis Nexis (2nd Edn, 2014)

“Housing” in The Law in Hong Kong (R.Wacks, ed; OUP, 1989)

“Freedom of Expression: Defamation and Contempt” in Civil Liberties in Hong Kong(R.Wacks, ed; OUP, 1988)

Contributor Hong Kong Civil Court Practice, W.S. Clarke (ed)

“Vendor and Purchaser Applications” in Conveyancing Miscellany, Hong Kong Law Journal Ltd, 1989 (S. Nield and M.Wilkinson, eds)

“Enforcing Deeds of Mutual Covenant” in Multi-Storey Building Management, Hong Kong Law Journal Ltd, 1990 (S. Nield, ed)

“Derogation from Orthodoxy in Derogation from Grant” [2006] 36 HKLJ 427

“Buildings Ordinance: The Section 41(3) Exemption” [2007] 37 HKLJ 751

“Rights of Way and Long User: The English Restriction and the Irish Rule” [2008] 38 HKLJ 51

“Rights of Way and Long User: A Postscript” [2009] 39 HKLJ 783

China Field Ltd v Appeal Tribunal (Buildings), A Matter of Authority but not of Principle” [2010] 74 Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 176

“Vendor and Purchaser Summons: Alive and Well in Hong Kong” [2010] 74 Conveyancer and Property Lawyer

“Do Naming Rights Run with Land?” [2011] 75 Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 237

“Competing Charging Orders: When No Effect has Some Effect” [2012] 42 HKLJ 5

“Are T’sos Really Trusts?” [2012] 42 HKLJ 669

“Adverse Possession and the Principle of Encroachment” [2012] 76 Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 333

“Indigenous Rights in Disrepute: The Curious Case of Hong Kong” (2013) 2 Prop Law Rev 152

“Land law” in Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal (SNM Young and Y Ghai, eds; CUP 2014)

“Family Arrangements, Constructive Trusts and the Home Ownership Scheme” [2014] 44 HKLJ 391

“Victorian Prescience about Missing Title Deeds” [2015] 79 Conveyancer and Property Lawyer 176

“Nullity or Merely Lost Priority? The Effect of Failure to Register a Document Concerning Land” [2015] 45 HKLJ 87

Numerous casenotes and other articles


Reviewing Editor, Chitty on Contracts, HK Specific Contracts, Thomson Sweet and Maxwell Asia (2003)

Associate Editor, Hong Kong Cases (Law Reports), Butterworths/Lexis Nexis

Editor, Law Lectures for Practitioners, 1983

Reviewer for Hong Kong University Press


“Landlord and Tenant: Recent Developments” in Law Lectures for Practitioners 1983

“Deeds of Mutual Covenant: Current Issues and Recent Cases” in Law Lectures for Practitioners 1989

“Conveyancing Update” in Law Lectures for Practitioners 1991

“Preliminary Agreements for the Sale of Land” in Law Lectures for Practitioners 1994

“Building Management: Jikan and its Ramifications” Law Lectures for Practitioners 2005

“Planning Appeals” at Comprehensive Review of the Town Planning Ordinance (Hong Kong Institute of Planners and Dept of Extra-Mural Studies, HKU; 1991)

“Lessons of the Illegal Structures Controversy” in Law Lectures for Practitioners 2011

Numerous presentations at Continuing Professional Development sessions for various providers

Practice Areas

Land Law: title; conveyancing; land registration; New Territories land; mortgages; landlord and tenant; licences; proprietary estoppel; covenants; easements; adverse possession; building management; land compensation


Professional negligence: solicitors; surveyors and valuers; doctors; dentists


Personal Injury

Sale of Goods


Joint Chief Examiner, Overseas Lawyers’ Qualification Exam (2007 to date)

Examiner, Hong Kong Land Law, PCLL Conversion Examination (2010)

External examiner for Litigation course HKU (1992)

Internal examiner on numerous courses, HKU


Member, Standing Committee on Land Titles Ordinance (2007 - date)

Member, Property, Conveyancing and Equity panel, Barristers Qualification Examination (2005 to date)

Member, PCLL Conversion Examination Board (2010-11)

Chairman, Buildings Appeal Tribunal

Member, Board of Review, Inland Revenue Ordinance 2002 – 2008

Member, Bar Council, 2002-3

Member, Law Reform Commission, Sub-Committees on Contribution between Wrongdoers (1983), Sale of Goods and Supply of Services (1989) and Description of Flats on Sale (2001)

Interflow Committee (HKU), 1985-89

Subjects taught

Property Litigation (PCLL, HKU, 2010 and 2011): course designer and co-ordinator

Conveyancing (PCLL, HKU; Overseas Lawyers Qualification Exam)

Civil and Criminal Procedure (PCLL, HKU)

Advocacy (PCLL, HKU; Advocacy Training Council UK/HK Bar Association Advanced Legal Education; PCLL, City U)

Professional Conduct (PCLL, HKU; Bar Association ALE)

Sale of Goods, Agency and Hire Purchase (Dept of Law, HKU)

Personal Property (Dept of Law, HKU)

Landlord and Tenant (PCLL, HKU; Dept of Extra-Mural Studies, HKU)

Building Management (Law Society Continuing Professional Development, various providers)

Hong Kong Land Law (preparation course for PCLL conversion examination), HKLU SPACE)


Member, Mooting Committee, Faculty of Law, HKU (2006-2008): organizer of competitive moots, semi-finals and final

Convenor, Law Lectures for Practitioners 2007 to date

Director of Admissions, PCLL, 2010


Comparative Study of Property Management, conference organized by Faculty of Law, University of Macau, and Association for the Study of Law, Public Administration and Translation of Macau, 17th April 2011 (presented paper on Hong Kong property management)

HKU-UNSW Research Symposium, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Dec 2010 (presented paper on Hong Kong’s System of Landholding and participated in sessions on land topics, tax and remedies)

Civil Justice Reform, What Has it Achieved?  (Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong; April 2010: attender)

Modern Studies in Property Law, Oxford University, March 2010 (attender); Southampton University, March 2012 (attender and session chair); Queen’s University Belfast, April 2016 (attender)

Centre for Comparative and Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Hong: Conference on The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (March 2010): presented paper on The Court of Final Appeal and Land Law (later published by Cambridge University Press as part of book)

Symposium on the Convergence of Property Rights among Mainland, Taiwan Hong Kong and Macau, Department of Real Estate and Construction, Faculty of Architecture, University of Hong Kong (August 2009): presented paper on Ownership of Land in Hong Kong

The Common Law Tradition in Asia, HKU-NUS-SMU Symposium (Singapore, Dec 2008): presented paper, Protection of Purchasers of Uncompleted Residential Flats: The Hong Kong Experience

Reform of Legal Education in Asia, University of Hong Kong, Feb 2012 (speaker)

Australasian Property Law Teachers Conference 2012 (National University of Singapore, July 2012: presented paper, Indigenous Rights in Disrepute, The Curious Case of Hong Kong

Australasian Property Law Teachers Conference 2014 (Bond University, Queensland, Australia, July 2014): presented paper, The Trouble with Land Law, Teaching Real Property in the 21st Century