Professor Simon Young has three main research areas: (1) Hong Kong Legal and Political Systems, particularly electoral laws, constitutional reform, the criminal justice system, and final appeals; (2) White Collar Crime, particularly money laundering, proceeds of crime and international asset recovery; and (3) Human Rights in the Criminal Process, particularly comparative constitutional rights and remedies.
In July 2006, he was awarded a faculty research output prize for his chapter, "Enacting Security Laws in Hong Kong" in V. Ramraj, M. Hor & K. Roach (eds), Global Anti-Terrorism Law and Policy published by Cambridge University Press. The chapter was updated and republished in the second edition of the book in early 2012.
His pioneering work on Hong Kong's functional constituencies was published by Hong Kong University Press in Functional Constituencies: A Unique Feature of the Hong Kong Legislative Council (edited by Christine Loh & Civic Exchange, 2006). As a follow-up, Civic Exchange commissioned Professor Young and his colleague, Professor Richard Cullen, to study the systems for electing Hong Kong's Chief Executive. The study was published in English and Chinese by Hong Kong University Press in 2010 and 2011 (Electing Hong Kong’s Chief Executive).
Professor Young was awarded two RGC research grants in 2005-6 totally approximately HK$1.5M. In January 2006, he was awarded a Public Policy Research Grant for the Hong Kong Civil Forfeiture Project. The main output from the project was the influential book, Civil Forfeiture of Criminal Property: Legal Measures for Targeting the Proceeds of Crime (Edward Elgar 2009), which has been cited by the High Court of Australia and Constitutional Court of South Africa. In June 2006, his project with Professor Yash Ghai to study the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal was awarded a 2006-7 RGC Competitive Earmarked Research Grant. The project culminated in a book published by Cambridge University Press in 2013 titled Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal: The Development of the Law in China’s Hong Kong.
In 2009, Professor Young won the University of Hong Kong’s Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2008-2009. He has also led many successful contract research projects commissioned by the Hong Kong government and housed in the Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL).
Within Hong Kong University, he was appointed the Faculty of Law’s Associate Dean (Research) in 2014. He served as CCPL Director from 2007 to 2013 and the Department of Law’s Research Director from 2011 to 2014. He was active in the Strategic Research Theme (SRT) initiative, co-convening the constitutional law project sub-theme in 2006 and the democracy, human rights and civil society sub-theme from 2009 to 2011. Some of the outputs from SRT funding include the Hong Kong Basic Law Bibliography, Basic Law Drafting History Online, and Hong Kong Political Reform Series. In 2015, he appointed the Chairman of the University Press Committee, which oversees Hong Kong University Press.