Juris Doctor (JD)

The JD is an internationally recognised degree awarded by about 200 universities world-wide. It is well established in several Common Law jurisdictions overseas (Australia, Canada and the United States) with a meaning that is universally understood. Although the award has the word “Doctor” in its title, this is a traditional usage and it is not generally regarded as equivalent to a PhD degree or other doctoral awards. It is a first law degree for students who are already graduates in a non-law discipline.

The JD programme leads to a law degree at the postgraduate level. It is not an external law degree programme.

 

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At CityU  School of Law, we aim to offer an intellectually stimulating JD programme to students with diverse academic backgrounds and professional experiences. We expose our students to a number of unique opportunities to gain global perspectives, develop new skills and widen horizons.

The Law School has performed outstandingly in international rankings. It is ranked 31st worldwide according to the 2021 THE ranking system. Join us and take the leap to professional legal pathway. I look forward to welcoming you to the CityU JD programme.

 

Dr Mark KIELSGARD

JD Programme Director

 

 

One of Hong Kong's professional law degrees at Hong Kong's innovative Law School
  • Graduate entry

  • 2 or 3 years full-time

  • Hong Kong law taught by Hong Kong and international faculty

  • Faster route for potential entry to the legal profession

  • Ideal professional degree for leadership in commerce, industry, government, media and community services

Why JD?

The other Hong Kong's professional law degree is the Bachelor of Laws (LLB). LLB is currently a 4-year full-time programme. This is intended primarily to furnish secondary school-leavers and other undergraduate-entry law students with a broader education than can be accommodated within a 4-year LLB programme. Many people interested in pursuing studies in the law, however, are already graduates from a non-law discipline. They have already achieved the enhanced academic experience for which the 4-year LLB is intended. Graduate entrants into a law school should have a route to professional legal qualifications more suited to their situation and needs.

CityU is the first university in Hong Kong to offer a programme leading to the award of a graduate-entry JD degree.

What will I study?
CityU offers a taught programme of study tailored for students aiming for admission as a solicitor or barrister in Hong Kong.

The programme is also suitable for students who are looking for a professional alternative to an MBA degree and aiming for leadership roles in commerce, industry, government, the media and community services.

The core of the JD programme will consist of 2 courses that are essential for a proper understanding of the law and its workings in Hong Kong: Legal Methods, Research and Writing, and Hong Kong Legal System.

Students will also be required to select courses from a wide range of electives drawn from the JD curriculum, the Master of Laws (LLM) and the Master of Laws in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution (LLMArbDR) programmes.

Among the electives available, the following are required for admission to the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) programme and to the legal profession in Hong Kong: Law of Contract I & II, Law of Tort I & II, Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Company Law I & II, Criminal Law I & II, Land Law I & II, Equity and Trusts I & II, Law of Evidence and Commercial Law. Students who are going to pursue the PCLL programme and subsequently a legal profession in the future should ensure that they have completed all necessary courses required for PCLL entry before they graduate from the JD programme.

Classes are conducted by an international faculty at CityU. Faculty staff bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise in a wide range of areas.

JD and LLB lectures will be given together in most courses.
Special features
Optional specialization
  • As a result of the programme re-structuring, students have the scope to do more non-PCLL elective courses (i.e., 6 courses under the existing structure). They are offered an option to specialise in the following areas by taking at least four elective courses (a minimum of 12 credits) from the respective lists:

International Commercial Law
LW6161E    Competition Law;
LW5631      Banking Law;
LW5664      European Competition Law of Policy (G-LEAP);
LW5641      Intellectual Property: Theory, Copyright and Design (G-LEAP);
LW5643      Cyber Law;
LW6144E    International Trade Law;
LW6140E    Chinese and Comparative Commercial Law;
LW6180E    International Commercial Contracts and Uniform Sales Law; or
LW6167E    Current Issues in WTO Law.
Chinese and Comparative Law
LW5626      Comparative Law;
LW6127E    International and Comparative Intellectual Property Law: Trademarks and Patents;
LW6134E    Chinese and Comparative Company Law;
LW6140E    Chinese and Comparative Commercial Law; or
LW6141E    Chinese Foreign Trade and Investment Law.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
LW6405      Arbitration Law;
LW6406      Mediation Practice;
LW6407      Arbitration Practice and Award Writing;
LW6408      International Arbitration;
LW6126E    Dispute Resolution in Theory and Practice;
LW6142E    International Investment Law;
^LW5649    International Mooting and Advocacy; or
^LW5649B    International Mooting and Advocacy
^  Students can take either LW5649 (3 credits) or LW5649B (6 credits)

Depending upon the interest of students and the course offerings in future, these specialised streams may be modified. The offering of the above courses may be reviewed and amended from time to time subject to the availability of the teaching staff. We shall keep students informed regarding the offering of the elective courses.

Students who choose or do not choose to specialise in any of the above areas will receive the award title Juris Doctor. In pursuance of CityU’s new policy on streamlining award titles, it has been decided that from 2015/16 onwards the award titles will not include areas of specialisation. Rather, the specialised areas, if elected by a student, will appear on the student's transcript.
Programme structure
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Application deadlines for 2021 entry 31 May 2021 (Non-Local)
30 June 2021 (Local)

Admissions Enquiries:
Tel: (852) 3442 5588
Fax: (852) 3442 0187
Email: tpadmit@cityu.edu.hk
Website: //www.cityu.edu.hk/sgs
The minimum entry requirements for admission to the JD programme are:  
  • A bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in a non-law discipline; or

  • A bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in law from a non-common law jurisdiction, which was obtained after at least eight semesters of full-time study. Holders with a law degree from a common law jurisdiction are not eligible to apply; and

  • Proficiency in English.

 
For applicants whose entrance qualification is obtained from an institution where the medium of instruction is not English, the minimum English language proficiency requirement will usually be:
  • a TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based test) or 100 (internet-based) or 71 (revised paper-delivered test; sum of Reading, Listening and Writing section scores); or

  • an overall band score of 7.5 in IELTS, with no individual score below 6.5, and a minimum score of 7.0 in the Academic Writing; or
  • a total score of 520 in the Chinese mainland’s College English Test (Band 6).

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.
JD admission scholarship
  • There shall be a maximum of 4 scholarships in each academic year. Each recipient will receive a scholarship of HK$100,000. The Scholarship shall be paid to the recipients in two instalments: in Semester A of Year One and Semester A of Year Two.


  • All full-time JD applicants (local, non-local and international) are eligible to apply for the Scholarship.


  • A Selection Committee will review applications, and then make a decision for awarding the Scholarship.


  • Selection of recipients will be based on the consideration of relevant factors, primarily the academic achievements of applicants (i.e. academic performance in an undergraduate degree and/or a postgraduate degree).

For enquiries about JD Admission Scholarship, please email to slwjdp@cityu.edu.hk.

...

“The CityU JD was an academically challenging but rewarding experience, and I would recommend it wholeheartedly. As a highly regarded JD programme, it is taught by outstanding teachers and experienced practitioners. It unveiled the mysterious common law world to me and provided me with chances to delve into areas of law in great detail. The tutorial system gave students the opportunity to present their own ideas individually or in a group, to discuss and debate contentious points with fellow students; and to receive constructive feedbacks from tutors. My advocacy and problem-solving skills have been improved as a result. The programme, as an internationally respected law programme, has served as an excellent foundation for my further legal studies and future career.”

OR Hoi Yan Denise

JD Graduate 2019

...

“The CityU School of Law served as an important catalyst for my development as an aspirant lawyer. From the Law School's reputable mooting programme to the renowned CityU Law Review Committee, there are a myriad of programmes to push students to hone their craft in preparation for their future practice. There is no shortage of the opportunities available to students: one only needs to grasp at them. With that said, my experience at CityU would not have been as remarkable as it was but for my unforgettable peers and the kind professors who went above and beyond for our sake. I have no doubt the bonds that I have forged here will last a lifetime.”

CHAN Jeffrey Cheuk-fai

JD graduate 2020

Is JD professionally recognised?
Students who wish to practise law in Hong Kong will need to complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) programme at CityU or at other universities in Hong Kong. The JD degree is recognised for the purposes of applying for entry into the PCLL programme, provided the student has completed all courses required for PCLL admission.
How long do I need to study?
You will be eligible to graduate with your JD degree after you have completed 72 credit units of study. Most semester-length courses are 3 credit units.

Full-time students can complete the programme in 2 or 3 years.

Of course, students can take the liberty to undertake a higher academic load in regular semester and hence complete the programme at a quicker pace.

The maximum period of study which is applicable to students of 2010 cohort and thereafter is 5 years.

Although students from 2009 cohort and before are not restricted by such a requirement, they are strongly encouraged to complete their studies and graduate within a reasonable period.
How much will it cost?
Fees of subsequent cohorts may be subject to review and adjustment from time to time. Please click here for the tuition fee information.

For tuition fee enquiries, please contact CityU School of Law General Office by email at slwjdp@cityu.edu.hk or by phone at (852)3442 7367.
What is a JD and how is it different from the Bachelor of Laws (LLB)?
JD is a professional law degree offered at the postgraduate level. It is tailor-made to the requirements of graduate-entry applicants who already have a bachelor degree (or equivalent) in a non-law discipline or a law degree from a non-common law jurisdiction.

The minimum GPA for graduation with a JD is 2.0, compared to 1.7 for an LLB.

JD graduates and LLB graduates who have completed the prescribed courses are eligible to apply for admission to the (PCLL) programme at CityU or at other universities in Hong Kong. The PCLL is a prerequisite for admission to the legal profession in Hong Kong.
Are applicants required to attend an interview?
Occasionally students may be required to attend an interview for us to assess their suitability for admission to the PCLL. The selected students will be notified of the time and place of the interview directly.
How is a JD different from the Common Professional Examination (CPE)?
Both the Juris Doctor and GDL are open only to graduates. JD, however, is a graduate-entry university degree programme taught by regular faculty at CityU and it leads to an international academic recognition. Completion of the GDL does not result in a degree qualification, but only a diploma.

The CPE is an external programme of study, whereas the Juris Doctor is a full-time programme taught by regular faculty at City University of Hong Kong.

JD and GDL graduates are eligible to apply for admission to the PCLL programme at CityU or at other universities in Hong Kong.
Can I use the title “Dr” with a JD degree?
It is not customary for holders of the JD degree to use the title “Dr” before their names. JD is not a Doctorate of Philosophy degree commonly known as a PhD. JD is therefore NOT equivalent to a PhD.
What GPA do I need in order to be admitted into the JD programme?
Admission to the JD programme is mainly based on academic merit. Other relevant factors such as working experiences and extra-curricular activities will also be taken into consideration.
What kind of supplementary information would strengthen my application?
We will consider your application in totality of available evidence that demonstrates your ability to complete the JD programme successfully. This could include, without being limited to, academic references, professional references and a statement from you setting out your reasons for wishing to join the JD programme. We do not require you to submit a result from the United States Law School Admission Test (LSAT); if you have such a result you may submit it if you wish and we will take it into account. Please do not attach more than two references.
Will there be interviews?
Admission will be based primarily on the demonstrated performance in your academic studies, although we will also take into account any personal statements you make and any academic or professional references you provide. Interviews may be arranged if they are considered necessary in individual cases. You should not assume that your application has been unsuccessful simply because you have not been invited for an interview.
When will classes be held?
JD is only offered in full-time mode.

Almost all classes will be held during daytime on weekdays. The elective courses will normally be held on weekday daytime or evenings.
When will the programme commence?
The full-time JD programme will commence in Semester A (late August or early September).
Am I eligible for any credit transfers?
Credit transfers may be granted for completed law courses from other postgraduate programmes of study where they are academically equivalent to a course in the JD programme. Please note, however, that we normally do not allow credit transfers.

Students who are planning to pursue the PCLL programme in the future are strongly advised not to assume that the courses (completed outside CityU) which have been granted credit transfer will necessarily be equivalent to the courses required for PCLL entry. Students should take this into consideration before they proceed with any application for credit transfer. Students are further advised to check with the Hong Kong Conversion Examination Board for the course equivalency at http://www.pcea.com.hk
Are there any loans or scholarships available?
The University does not make student loans or otherwise to cover the costs of tuition fees for either local or overseas students. Students who wish to apply for the Non-means-tested Loan Scheme (NLS) may browse the homepage of the Student Financial Assistance Agency at https://www.wfsfaa.gov.hk/sfo/en/ or contact the Agency's hotlines at (852)2150 6222 or (852)2150 6223 for eligibility and application procedures. Relevant information can also be accessed through CiyuU Student Development Services (SDS) at http://www.cityu.edu.hk/sds/web/studentlife_scholarships_new.shtml

The criteria to determine the prize recipients are mainly on academic merit in the JD programme. From time to time, other scholarships or student prizes may be available for JD students. Students can also access relevant information by visiting the SDS website at  https://www.cityu.edu.hk/sds or through student's e-portal.
Is the JD recognised for admission to overseas legal professions?
Every jurisdiction has its own policy on the recognition of foreign law degrees for professional admission purposes. You are advised to check with the respective authorities for their admission requirements. Here are some useful websites for your reference: https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/; https://lso.ca/home/; http://www.flsc.ca/; http://www.lawsociety.com.au
Once I am admitted to the JD programme, can I seek transfer to another programme?
Students who wish to change their current programme of study to another of the same level (e.g. transfer from a taught postgraduate programme to another taught postgraduate programme); can apply for such a change by completing an application form for Programme Transfer obtainable from the SGS Taught Postgraduate Student Records Service Counter and the SGS website (www.cityu.edu.hk/sgs) within the application period. Applications for programme transfer are processed twice a year, normally in November (for transfers to be effective in Semester B of the current academic year) and March (for transfers to be effective in Semester A of the following academic year). For non-local students, any transfer of programme approved by the University will be sent to the Hong Kong Immigration Department for final endorsement before the transfer or change comes into effect.

According to the Academic Regulations for Taught Postgraduate Degrees, a student's previous period of study before the programme transfer comes into effect will be counted in the calculation of the student's maximum period of study.

Non-local students who have been granted permission by the Immigration Department for "full-time studies" must follow the minimum credit unit load specified in the University’s Academic Regulations for full-time students. Exceptions for reduced study load are permitted for the final graduating semester upon approval by the Head of the academic department or as determined by the Examination Board in any semester for students in academic difficulty.

For details about programme transfer, please refer to the SGS website at https://www.sgs.cityu.edu.hk/student/TPg/record/progtransfer.
Will I be able to complete the JD programme at my own pace?
The University’s prescribed minimum and maximum credit unit requirements are 12-18 credit units per semester for full-time students.

Students are encouraged to complete the programme in 3 years but they may study the programme at a quicker pace. The maximum period of study which is applicable to students of 2010 cohort and thereafter is 5 years.
Are there any Continuing Education Fund (CEF)-approved courses?
The following are CEF-approved courses:
LW5656 Company Law I
LW5657 Company Law II

With effect from 1 April 2019, applicants who apply for CEF for the first time are required to complete the “Continuing Education Fund Application Form” and provide all supporting documents for applying for both account opening and fee reimbursement at the same time. This form is also applicable to applicants who have already opened a CEF account to apply for fee reimbursement only.
If you wish to apply for CEF, please complete the application form which is available here:
https://www.wfsfaa.gov.hk/cef/en/application/forms.htm.

Claimants should submit an application to the Office of the Continuing Education Fund (OCEF). They are also required to observe the following with regard to the eligibility of claiming reimbursements from the OCEF:
a. CEF claimants will be eligible for fee reimbursement only upon their successful completion of the whole course; and
b. CEF claimants are required to attain an overall mark of either 50% or such higher percentage of assessment(s) as prescribed for the course (whichever is higher) as assessed by whichever method approved by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare (including any examination and assignment requirements with approved weighting) before they are eligible for fee reimbursement; and
c. CEF claimants are required to attend no less than 70% of the contactable hours of the course or such higher attendance requirement as prescribed for the course (whichever is higher) to meet the fee reimbursement criteria.

For details, please refer to the email issued by CityU School of Law General Office at the beginning of a new semester or simply visit the following website: http://www.wfsfaa.gov.hk/cef/intro.htm
How can I find out more?
Further information about the programme is obtainable from:
Dr Mark KIELSGARD
Associate Professor
JD Programme Director
School of Law
City University of Hong Kong
83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3442 7624
Fax: (852) 3442 0190
Email: mkielsga@cityu.edu.hk

Dr Sara TSUI
Teaching Fellow
JD Programme Associate Director
School of Law
City University of Hong Kong
83 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3442 7162
Fax: (852) 3442 0190
Email: lwsara@cityu.edu.hk
General Office, School of Law, City University of Hong Kong
Room 6101, 6/F
Li Dak Sum Yip Yio Chin Academic Building
83 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3442 8008
Fax: (852) 3442 0190
Email: slwjdp@cityu.edu.hk
Website: //www.cityu.edu.hk/slw