Thirty Chinese judges commence studies at CityU’s School of Law
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The School of Law of City University of Hong Kong (CityU) held theinauguration of the Master of Laws (LLM) Programme for 30 judges from mainland China on 22 January.
The judges commenced their CityU postgraduate legal education programme under the tripartite arrangement by the School of Law of CityU, the National Judges College of the Supreme People's Court of China and the School of Law of Columbia University, the US. It marks a milestone for legal education in Hong Kong and a widening exposure of China's judiciary to international legal knowledge.
Thirty Chinese judges attended the inauguration of the LLM Programme on CityU campus. They are mostly senior judges of the High or Intermediate Courts selected from 17 provinces across China. Officiating at the inauguration were Professor Way Kuo, President of CityU; Professor Wang Guiguo, Dean of CityU School of Law; Justice Wan Exiang, Vice-President of the Supreme People's Court of China, and Professor Brian Gibson, Dean of International and Comparative Programmes, School of Law of Columbia University. Other premier guests at the inauguration included Mr Wang Zhimin, Deputy Director of Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong S.A.R.; the Hon Ms Elsie Leung Oi-sie, Vice Director of Hong Kong Basic Law Committee; the Hon Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang, Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal and Dr Simon Ip Sik-on, Vice Chairman of Fu Tak Iam Foundation.
Professor Way Kuo said the programme was unprecedented in the annals of Hong Kong education. It would not only enhance China's legal competence, he went on, but also highlight the special links of Hong Kong and CityU in particular with the motherland. "We at CityU consider this a rare opportunity to contribute towards the strengthening of the administration of justice on the mainland and it is a clear recognition of our abilities. I believe the programme will be hailed as one of the most imaginative programmes ever launched for the advancement of law and justice worldwide," said Professor Kuo.
Speaking at the inauguration, Professor Wang Guiguo said, "CityU is honoured to provide and drive pioneering legal advancement studies for China's judges through our reputable LLM Programme. It paves the way for future collaborations between CityU School of Law and the judicial authorities in China. I trust the programme will endow the Chinese judges with a deeper understanding of international legal practices and make a huge contribution to the legal system in China."
Joined by Dr Simon Ip and Mr Gu Minkang, Associate Dean of CityU's School of Law, Professor Wang interviewed applicants in Beijing in November 2008 and selected the 30 judges for admission into the one-year programme.
Mr Wan Exiang remarked, "I consider this tripartite arrangement a watershed moment in the further education of judges in China. This partnership will have major significance for the legal fraternity in China, Hong Kong and the US. As China's international stature grows, our legal system must grow with it, complete with higher competence of our judges. Upon their completion of studies at CityU, I am confident they will make important contributions to the betterment of the legal system in China."
Under this tripartite arrangement, Columbia Law School will help to arrange for the judges to study in the United States for one month. Columbia Law School will customise a course and a study tour to Washington D.C, which includes visits to the US Congress, the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice.
"Columbia Law School is grateful to be a participating institution in this unprecedented collaboration. The one-month study trip will expose the Chinese judges to special lectures delivered by senior US judges, and to tailor-made courses conducted by our senior professors. I believe this tour is an integral part of the programme in helping the Chinese judges understand the viewpoints and practices of international legal systems." Professor Gibson said.
Fu Tak Iam Foundation has donated HK$4.4 million as full sponsorship to cover the tuition fees, study tour travels and living expenses at CityU for the 30 Chinese judges in support of their studies towards the LLM degree.