CityU offers LLM programme for mainland judges

Mo Wong

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City University of Hong Kong (CityU) will provide advanced legal training for serving judges in mainland China under an agreement to be signed at a ceremony at the Supreme Court of the PRC in Beijing on 29 February. The agreement, under which CityU will offer an LLM programme for mainland judges as a way to boost their legal training, materialises the collaboration between CityU's School of Law, the Supreme Court of the PRC and National Judges College.

This is the first time the Supreme Court of the PRC and National Judges College has collaborated with an academic institution to provide training for mainland judges at the Master's degree level. The courses, to be offered from this September, will aim to enhance the quality of mainland judges and assist the People's Supreme Court to implement its policy of professionalising the judiciary. The collaboration reflects the wide recognition of City's courses in law.

Professor Richard Ho Yan-ki, Acting President of CityU, said, "Ever since the beginning of the 21st century, China has enjoyed a rising status in the world with its team of judges forging ahead for professionalism and internationalisation. CityU has been concentrating on developing students with professional knowledge and international vision. Our School of Law excels in its strong team of outstanding academics, state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities and close ties with renowned overseas institutions. Therefore, we will not only be able to enhance the legal knowledge of mainland judges, but also help them understand the viewpoints and practices of international legal systems. Mainland judges can become more professional to meet the needs of China in its process of civil and economic development."

In this collaboration with the National Judges College, CityU's School of Law will design a customised Master's degree programme for as many as 30 judges selected and recommended by the College under the advice of the People's Supreme Court. CityU will arrange for the students to enrol in courses at prestigious institutions in the United States and United Kingdom for one month.

The mainland currently has around 200,000 judges posted in over 3,000 courts. Since 2003, under the policy of "professionalising judges" implemented by the judiciary across the country, any judges who have not obtained the required academic qualification or passed the compulsory professional training in the stipulated time will have their appointment terminated according to statutory procedures. All new judges must pass the common judicial examination organised by the state and the common examination of the high court. New judges also receive specialised professional training.

Chair Professor Wang Guiguo, Dean of CityU's School of Law, said, "The training of mainland judges has now entered a more advanced stage. Mainland judges need not only to master Chinese laws, but also to understand and compare with overseas legal systems. Comparative law has always been one of the strengths of CityU. Also, as we have close ties with many renowned overseas institutions, we can make arrangements for mainland judges to study at those institutions for one month so that they can compare the different viewpoints and judicial procedures in overseas countries. At the same time, our local law students will also benefit from studying together with the mainland judges."

Established in 1997 as a unit under the Supreme People's Court, the National Judges College is responsible for the training of judges and study of judicial cases. With branch units at supreme courts in all 26 provinces across the country, the College has so far provided training to over 30,000 judges.

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