CityU, Columbia University unite to train Chinese judges

Jenny Kwan

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The School of Law of City University of Hong Kong (CityU) officially signed a mutual agreement with Columbia University School of Law (CLS) of the US on 29 October to develop a training programme geared towards providing advanced legal education and improving the international exposure of Chinese judges. The agreement is another pioneering CityU partnership to help in the provision of globalised education through cooperation with first-rate institutions.

Under the agreement, CityU and CLS will hold a one-month training programme for 30 Chinese judges recommended by the National Judges College and selected by CityU School of Law. The course is one of the modules of the Master of Laws (LLM) programme for the judges.

"China's judges are forging ahead in terms of professionalism and internationalisation," said CityU President Professor Way Kuo. "CityU has been exploring various collaborative and exchange programmes to widen students' global perspective and allow them to tackle challenges worldwide. I am sure the Chinese judges will benefit greatly from the joint course with CLS."

Professor Wang Guiguo, Dean of the School of Law, said it was an honour to have CLS joining the programme. "CLS is among the oldest and most distinguished law schools in America, so their input is invaluable, while CityU is the third international institution to collaborate with CLS," he said.

Professor Brian Gibson, Dean of International and Comparative Programmes of CLS, pointed out the collaboration between CLS and CityU marked a milestone in globalised legal education for the two schools, "It is an historic moment with CLS extending its legal education boundaries to Asia, exchanging ideas between professionals from two completely different legal systems."

Under the agreement, the programme will commence in June 2009 and is expected to involve 30 Chinese judges visiting CLS. They will experience the common law system in the US through a series of tutorial classes. CLS will custom design a three-week composition course comprising three individual, week-long modules, each focusing on a different area of law. Throughout the four-week programme, CLS will invite current and retired US judges as speakers, as well as other judicial professionals and scholars, to address the participants. The students will also visit the US Supreme Court and receive a briefing at the US Department of Justice.

CLS, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education. The traditional strengths of CLS are in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law.


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