Master of Laws in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution (LLMArbDR)

The LLMArbDR programme at CityU School of Law was established in 1991 and, at that time, was the first master’s degree programme in arbitration and dispute resolution in Asia. In 2011, it became the first programme recognised by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators to offer Module 4 – Advanced Award Writing (LW6409B) in Hong Kong. Every year, we receive over 200 applications competing for one of 80 places in the programme. Over 200 students are currently enrolled in this popular programme, one which has acquired an outstanding reputation both within and outside of Hong Kong.

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Dr Christopher TO

The programme offers a unique blend of academic and practical training in a broad range of dispute resolution methods, with emphases on domestic and international arbitration, as well as on mediation, adjudication and negotiation. Many of our graduates have become leading experts in arbitration, mediation and other forms of dispute resolution. The programme inspires leadership in these areas and is taught by highly qualified and experienced professionals.

 

 

 

Dr Christopher TO
LLMArbDR Programme Director

Programme Aims

The programme aims to develop expertise in domestic and international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region, and to foster original research in arbitration and ADR.

More specifically, it aims to:

  1. provide legal and general knowledge of arbitration and other methods of resolving disputes, as well as practical skills in relation to the process, to professionals, executives and others with existing expertise in a broad range of professional, industrial and commercial activities;

  2. acquaint graduates with various kinds of arbitration and dispute resolution, to enable them to participate effectively in all capacities: as a party, as advocate, as expert and as arbitrator and mediator. However, students are reminded that:

    a.not all graduates can expect to become arbitrators or mediators and the programme does not assure graduates of appointments, and

    b.it is not an objective of the programme to train barristers or to provide training in advocacy skills at a level equivalent to that required of a professional advocate; and

  3. assist students to obtain relevant professional qualifications.

Medium of Instruction English
Mode of Programme The programme is currently taught in the combined evening mode. Students can enrol in courses to a total between 3 and 18 credit units in different semesters (except the summer term) without seeking approval from the University. Non-local students who hold student visas should normally enrol in at least 12 credit units in each semester (except the summer term), which is the minimum full-time credit unit load. The programme duration normally extends between one year (2 semesters plus 1 summer term) and two and a half years (5 semesters plus 1 summer term). Students who have qualified for certain exemptions may complete the programme in one to two years.
Classes are normally held on weekdays between 7:00pm - 9:50pm (or 10:50pm if required), usually for 2-3 evenings per week. If students opt to take the fast-track evening curriculum, the weekday classes will be increased to 4-5 evenings per week. There may be some weekend classes.
Courses

Taught courses of the programme include:

  • Legal Concepts;

  • Commercial Contracts;

  • Procedure and Proof;

  • Dispute Resolution in Theory and Practice;

  • Mediation Practice;

  • Arbitration Law;

  • Arbitration Practice and Award Writing; and

  • International Arbitration

Students are required to take elective(s).
Exempt students^ are required to complete 6 credit units of electives from an approved list of modules. Non-exempt students are required to complete 3 credit units of electives from an approved list of modules.
^ Students holding a law degree from Hong Kong or other common law jurisdiction, or the Postgraduate Certificate in Hong Kong Law (PGCHKL) at CityU, or equivalent are exempted from Commercial Contracts and Legal Concepts.
To obtain the master’s degree, students are required to perform independent scholarly research and prepare a dissertation or its equivalent.

For core courses and electives, please refer to the following link for the most update information:

https://www.cityu.edu.hk/catalogue/pg/202122/programme/LLMARBDR.htm

Award Requirements

Students who have successfully completed the LLMArbDR programme and got a minimum CGPA of 2.0 will earn a Master of Laws in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution degree. Those students who have successfully completed all required taught courses with a CGPA of 2.0 or above and elected not to pursue the dissertation or its equivalent for the master's degree are eligible for the intermediate award of Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution.

Professional Recognition

Upon completion of the LLMArbDR programme and subject to fulfilling certain requirements, graduates are eligible to apply for professional recognition both within and outside of Hong Kong, including:

  1. Membership of  the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators(MCIArb)#;

  2. Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators(FCIArb)#;

  3. Associateship of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators(AHKIArb)*;

  4. Fellowship of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators(FHKIArb)*;

  5. Accredited General Mediator of the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Limited(HKMAAL)^ (subject to completing Stage 2 and Stage 3 requirements as stipulated by the HKMAAL Mediation Accreditation Committee); and

  6. CPD points awarded by the Law Society of Hong Kong.

CIArb Module Equivalent Module/ Unit
International Arbitration:
Module 1
LW5303 Commercial Contracts
LW5400 Legal Concepts
LW6401 Dispute Resolution in Theory and Practice
LW6402 Procedure and Proof
LW6405 Arbitration Law
LW6407 Arbitration Practice and Award Writing
LW6408 International Arbitration
International Arbitration:
Module 2, Module 3
LW5303 Commercial Contracts
LW5400 Legal Concepts
LW6401 Dispute Resolution in Theory and Practice
LW6402 Procedure and Proof
LW6405 Arbitration Law
LW6407 Arbitration Practice and Award Writing
LW6408 International Arbitration
LW6409B Advanced Award Writing
Mediation:
Module 1
LW5303 Commercial Contracts
LW5400 Legal Concepts
LW6401 Dispute Resolution in Theory and Practice
LW6402 Procedure and Proof
LW6406 Mediation Practice

# Students are eligible to apply for membership of CIArb only when they reached 55% in both coursework and exam in International Arbitration: Module 1 courses.

In order to meet the requirements of the CIArb Fellowship grade, students must obtain a minimum mark of 70% in the written assessment.

For students who get 70% in the final exam of LW6409B Advanced Award Writing, they can apply for the fellowship of CIArb. For students who get below 70% in the final exam of LW6409B thus cannot apply for the fellowship of CIArb, they can still apply for the membership of CIArb.

For students who get below 60% in LW6407 Arbitration Practice and Award Writing thus cannot take LW6409B, they can take LW6409A Dissertation and apply for the membership of CIArb.

By completing CIArb Module 1, Module 2 and Module 3 (International Arbitration) you will be entitled to become Member/Fellow of CIArb in the Arbitration Stream upon submitting your application and membership dues for CIArb to review and approve.

By completing CIArb Module 1 (Mediation) you will be entitled to become Member of CIArb in the Mediation Stream upon submitting your application and membership dues for CIArb to review and approve.

(a) Attendance at the CityU PGD/LLMArbDR programme (where the student passes the examination) will qualify for exemption from the Entry Course Examination for Associateship of HKIArb; and

 (b) Successfully passing the CityU PGD/LLMArbDR examinations will qualify for exemption from all the academic requirements for Fellowship of HKIArb and will confer eligibility for entry to the fellowship course of HKIArb and exemption from taking the award writing part of the said course of HKIArb. 

^ Completion of LW6406 Mediation Practice would lead to fulfilment of stage 1 requirements as stipulated by the HKMAAL Mediation Accreditation Committee.

Goff Arbitration Lecture

The Goff Lecture series was inaugurated by CityU in 1990. Lord Goff of Chieveley, then Lord of Appeal, initiated the series. He has been followed by an illustrious list of some of the world’s most renowned experts in the field.

Goff Lecture Series

Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is a competition for law students.  Students from all countries are eligible and the Finals take place in Vienna, Austria.  The Moot involves a dispute arising out of a contract of sale of goods between two countries that are parties to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.  CityU hosts the annual Willem C. Vis (East) International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Hong Kong.
Continuing Education Fund (CEF)

The LLMArbDR programme has been included in the list of reimbursable courses for CEF purposes.

Students are recommended to use individual course(s) (i.e. LW5303 Commercial Contracts, LW6401 Dispute Resolution in Theory and Practice, LW6405 Arbitration Law, LW6406 Mediation Practice and/or LW6407 Arbitration Practice and Award Writing) to claim CEF as soon as they have completed the relevant courses. 

For application details, please refer to http://www.wfsfaa.gov.hk/cef

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Video for the LLMArbDR programme online admissions talk
Application deadlines for 2021 entry 31 May 2021 (for non-local applications)
31 July 2021 (for local applications)
Entrance requirements

To be eligible for consideration for admission, an applicant must have:

  • a university degree from a recognised university or equivalent qualifications (e.g. AHKIArb)

Applicants whose employment or professional activities involve arbitration or other forms of dispute resolution may be preferred, where qualifications are otherwise equal, but in all cases admission will be based on merit.


Applicants graduated from an institution where the medium of instruction is not English must achieve the following English proficiency requirement:

  • TOEFL 595 (paper-based test) / 97 (internet-based test) / 70 (revised paper-delivered test) or above; or

  • IELTS 6.5; or

  • Chinese mainland’s College English Test (CET) Band 6 score 520 or above; or

  • Other equivalent qualifications.

(TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for two years. Applicants are required to provide their TOEFL / IELTS test results obtained within the two years preceding the commencement of the University’s application period. For CET-6 scores, the validity period is three years.)

Tuition fees

Please click here for the tuition fee information.

Fellowships Scheme

Fellowship awards are available for local students admitted to this programme under the Fellowships Scheme supported by the HKSAR Government. Local students admitted to the programme in full-time, part-time or combined study mode will be invited to submit applications for the fellowships. Please click to view more details about the Fellowships Scheme.

Accommodation

Students should be prepared to arrange their own accommodation, as on-campus accommodation is usually not available to LLMArbDR students, due to limited space. For assistance in locating information on off-campus accommodation, see “Off-campus Accommodation” at http://www.cityu.edu.hk/sro/oca

...

Studying at CityU was one of the most pleasurable learning experiences in my academic life. Although I was a part-time student of the programme, I enjoyed my student life as much as a full-time student did with all-round support from the teaching staff and administration team within and outside the school. The passionate teaching staff are either distinguished scholars or legal practitioners who inspired me and bolstered my confidence to pursue further legal qualifications to join the legal profession. Without CityU, I would not have made up my mind to pursue my dream and to make it a reality.”

Rosana LO

LLMArbDR Graduate 2019

...

Having worked in a law firm for four years after my undergraduate studies, I decided to pursue a master's degree to enrich my knowledge and to enhance my competitiveness in the market place. I chose CityU LLMArbDR as it is one of the best programmes in Asia and has a track record of grooming future international leaders within the arbitration and mediation community. The programme is very practicable and is taught by recognised international practitioners who are knowledgeable in their respective fields. One course that I have fond memories of is mediation practice, where we were taught different communication skills to facilitate parties in resolving their differences. The course was very hands-on where we had to practise in role-plays as mediator in different scenarios. A challenging and demanding task where I learnt the skills to be an effective negotiator and mediator. With the emphasis of pro-active management of disputes within the judiciary, I am confident that the skills learnt in this course will be put to good use in my future career.

During my studies, I made many friends who were from Hong Kong and they helped me tremendously to blend into the community and went out of their way to assist me in my studies. We often went hiking together to glimpse the wonderful scenery of Hong Kong, which made my life in Hong Kong enjoyable and memorable. Having had such a wonderful experience, I decided to continue my studies in the JD programme at CityU, with the vision of qualifying to practise law in Hong Kong one day. ”

Jiayu CHEN

LLMArbDR Graduate 2019

...

When I decided to pursue a master’s degree in law, CityU was an obvious choice as I completed my Bachelor of Laws degree here. Being taught by incredibly diverse and experienced practitioners has given me a great advantage and insight into the alternative dispute resolution industry, not just in Hong Kong, but globally as well. The professors provided me with a significant and enriching learning experience, incorporating both practical and theoretical aspects of arbitration that I will treasure for years to come. Participating in the mediation practice was especially valuable and will stand me in good stride in my future career. It was intense, but a truly irreplaceable learning experience that gave me first-hand familiarity with the accreditation of mediators under the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Limited (HKMAAL) regime.

The administrative staff have always been very friendly and helpful, and they have been a tremendous asset in helping me achieve both my degrees at the University. I am extremely proud of being an alumnus of CityU School of Law. The friendly and approachable teaching faculty of CityU School of Law and the administrative team have maintained an exceptional department of law that I am truly proud of.”

Sandra CHAKRABARTY

LLMArbDR Graduate 2019

...

I chose to study LLMArbDR at CityU as it offers a good balance of both theoretical and practical skills: there were large lecture groups which would then split into smaller groups where there was a great focus on drafting skills, and advocacy from all was encouraged. While at CityU, I also had the opportunity to compete on the CityU Vis Moot team, which was a great way to apply the knowledge and skills I learnt in class to practice.

CityU School of Law was fantastic in times of change, such as the on-going pandemic, they adapted quickly, moving our classes online and ensuring that no lecture time was missed and that our health was prioritised.”

Megan FANNING

LLMArbDR Graduate 2020

...

As a proud alumna of the LLMArbDR programme, I have benefitted immensely from the CityU experience. I was impressed by the friendly and engaging community surrounded by talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. The distinguished faculty and vast, innovative curriculum not only profoundly enriched my understanding of various dispute-resolution methods but also motivated me to engage with complex legal and social discourses that have a real-world impact.

I am especially grateful for the opportunity to participate in the joint-master's programme between CityU and one of the renowned universities in France - Paris 1. It certainly offered me a unique opportunity to explore what CityU had to offer outside of the traditional common-law classroom: a gateway to a completely new, international perspective. Given the proliferation of cross-border issues in virtually every field of the law, having a comprehensive international mindset is necessary for every aspiring legal professional to tackle and solve the world’s most pressing legal conundrums. Fortunately, that’s what I have always been instructed during my LLMArbDR years.”

Jiale REN

LLMArbDR Graduate 2020

...

Taught by experienced practitioners, I learnt about arbitration and alternative dispute resolution through both theoretical and practical approaches. Besides learning the nuances beneath the predominant systems of arbitration laws and rules in print, the lecturers backed their teachings up with real-life cases they conducted themselves in their professional practices. This renders the course exceptionally valuable.

The knowledge obtained from the programme has always been useful to me during my practice. With the most recent developments of arbitration in mind, I was able to assist my supervising partner and other colleagues in my firm in the drafting of arbitration clauses even in the capacity as a trainee solicitor. The programme is, therefore, a first-rated course both for interested learners and budding practitioners.”

Kennis CHEUNG
Trainee Solicitor at MinterEllison LLP

LLMArbDR Graduate 2020

Is the LLMArbDR Programme recognised by the relevant professional institutions in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom?

Upon completion of the LLMArbDR programme and subject to fulfilling certain requirements, graduates are eligible to apply for professional recognition both within and outside of Hong Kong, including:

  1. Membership of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb)#;

  2. Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb)#;

  3. Associateship of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators (AHKIArb)*;

  4. Fellowship of the Hong Kong Institute of Arbitrators (FHKIArb)*;

  5. Accredited General Mediator of the Hong Kong Mediation Accreditation Association Limited (HKMAAL)^ (subject to completing Stage 2 and Stage 3 requirements as stipulated by the HKMAAL Mediation Accreditation Committee); and

  6. CPD points awarded by the Law Society of Hong Kong.

CIArb Module Equivalent Module / Unit
International Arbitration:
Module 1
LW5303 Commercial Contracts
LW5400 Legal Concepts
LW6401 Dispute Resolution in Theory and Practice
LW6402 Procedure and Proof
LW6405 Arbitration Law
LW6407 Arbitration Practice and Award Writing
LW6408 International Arbitration
International Arbitration:
Module 2, Module 3
LW5303 Commercial Contracts
LW5400 Legal Concepts
LW6401 Dispute Resolution in Theory and Practice
LW6402 Procedure and Proof
LW6405 Arbitration Law
LW6407 Arbitration Practice and Award Writing
LW6408 International Arbitration
LW6409B Advanced Award Writing
Mediation:
Module 1
LW5303 Commercial Contracts
LW5400 Legal Concepts
LW6401 Dispute Resolution in Theory and Practice
LW6402 Procedure and Proof
LW6406 Mediation Practice

# Students are eligible to apply for membership of CIArb only when they reached 55% in both coursework and exam in International Arbitration: Module 1 courses.

In order to meet the requirements of the CIArb Fellowship grade, students must obtain a minimum mark of 70% in the written assessment.

For students who get 70% in the final exam of LW6409B Advanced Award Writing, they can apply for the fellowship of CIArb. For students who get below 70% in the final exam of LW6409B thus cannot apply for the fellowship of CIArb, they can still apply for the membership of CIArb.

For students who get below 60% in LW6407 Arbitration Practice and Award Writing thus cannot take LW6409B, they can take LW6409A Dissertation and apply for the membership of CIArb.

By completing CIArb Module 1, Module 2 and Module 3 (International Arbitration) you will be entitled to become Member/Fellow of CIArb in the Arbitration Stream upon submitting your application and membership dues for CIArb to review and approve.

By completing CIArb Module 1 (Mediation) you will be entitled to become Member of CIArb in the Mediation Stream upon submitting your application and membership dues for CIArb to review and approve.

(a) Attendance at the CityU PGD/LLMArbDR programme (where the student passes the examination) will qualify for exemption from the Entry Course Examination for Associateship of HKIArb; and

 (b) Successfully passing the CityU PGD/LLMArbDR examinations will qualify for exemption from all the academic requirements for Fellowship of HKIArb and will confer eligibility for entry to the fellowship course of HKIArb and exemption from taking the award writing part of the said course of HKIArb. 

^ Completion of LW6406 Mediation Practice would lead to fulfilment of stage 1 requirements as stipulated by the HKMAAL Mediation Accreditation Committee.

What is the teaching mode for the LLMArbDR programme? How many lectures and lecture hours will be conducted in a week?
The LLMArbDR programme is taught in the combined evening mode with most of the classes normally held on weekday evenings between 7:00pm - 9:50pm (or 10:50pm if required), usually for 2-3 evening classes per week. If students opt to take the fast-track evening curriculum, the weekday classes will be increased to 4-5 evenings per week. There may be some weekend classes.
How many courses do LLMArbDR students need to enrol in each semester? Any flexibility for them in the course enrolment if they like to choose in accordance with their own pace of study?
LLMArbDR students can enrol in courses to a total between 3 and 18 credit units in different semesters (except the summer term) without seeking approval from the University. Non-local students who hold student visas should normally enrol in at least 12 credit units in each semester (except the summer term), which is the minimum full-time credit unit load.
I have a legal background. Can I be exempted from some courses in the LLMArbDR programme?
Students holding a law degree from Hong Kong or other common law jurisdiction, or the Postgraduate Certificate in Hong Kong Law (PGCHKL) at CityU, or equivalent are exempted from “LW5303 Commercial Contracts” and “LW5400 Legal Concepts”. Apart from the basic requirement of 3 credit units of electives, these students are required to take 3 more credit units of electives from an approved list of modules (to be notified).
Does CityU School of Law offer any on-line courses for the LLMArbDR programme? Is there any attendance requirement for the face-to-face teaching courses in the programme?
Students must meet the attendance requirement of 100% for “LW6406 Mediation Practice” and “LW6409B Advanced Award Writing”. There is no attendance requirement for rest of LLMArbDR courses under the programme level. We always encourage students to attend all classes. Please note that it is the students’ own responsibility to attend every class and examination during the teaching and examination periods.
My academic qualification is obtained from an institution in Mainland China. What is the minimum English proficiency requirement that I need to achieve in order to meet the admission requirements for the LLMArbDR programme?

Applicants graduated from an institution where the medium of instruction is not English must achieve the following English proficiency requirement:

  • TOEFL 595 (paper-based test) / 97 (internet-based test) / 70 (revised paper-delivered test) or above; or

  • IELTS 6.5; or

  • Chinese mainland’s College English Test (CET) Band 6 score 520 or above; or

  • Other equivalent qualifications.

(TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for two years. Applicants are required to provide their TOEFL / IELTS test results obtained within the two years preceding the commencement of the University’s application period. For CET-6 scores, the validity period is three years.)

What are the graduation requirements for the LLMArbDR programme? Is there any intermediate award? If yes, what are the requirements for the intermediate award?
Students who have successfully completed the LLMArbDR programme and got a minimum CGPA of 2.0 will earn a Master of Laws in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution degree. Those students who have successfully completed all required taught courses with a CGPA of 2.0 or above and elected not to pursue the dissertation or its equivalent for the master's degree are eligible for the intermediate award of Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution.
I have obtained both LLB and LLM qualifications. Can I apply for credit transfer for appropriate courses in the LLMArbDR programme?

Application for credit transfer for appropriate courses will be considered by the Law School after a student has formally enrolled in our programme. Once the University application period for credit transfer opens, normally in July and August, students who submit an application for credit transfer would be required to demonstrate that the level of course(s) they have taken in other programmes is comparable to the course(s) in the LLMArbDR programme. Please refer to the “Academic Regulations for Taught Postgraduate Degrees” at https://www.sgs.cityu.edu.hk/student/tpg/regulations/acadreg for more details.

Do I need to apply for a student visa?

If you hold any of the following documents issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department, you do not need to apply for a student visa:

· a Permanent Hong Kong Identity Card (as distinguished from a Hong Kong Identity Card)

· a dependent visa

· a full-time employment visa/work permit (for part-time study)

· a one-way permit for entry to Hong Kong

· an entry visa/entry permit for quality migrants

· an entry visa/entry permit for capital investment entrants

If you do not hold any of these documents, you will need a student visa or entry permit issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department to study in Hong Kong. For further information, please consult the website of the Hong Kong Immigration Department at https://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/index.html.