Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL)

The aim of CityU’s PCLL programme is to provide students with exceptional learning and training opportunities and to serve as a vital steppingstone towards the acquisition of skills in becoming outstanding prospective trainee solicitors and pupil barristers. Our highly regarded and practical PCLL programme is known to produce well-rounded and client-centred individuals with superior knowledge of substantive law combined with exceptional problem-solving, advocacy and drafting skills. 

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As you embark on this journey, take advantage of all that this course has to offer and learn as much as you can from your instructors. Our diverse and well-credentialed faculty members bring experience and skill sets from various parts of the world. They are all either currently in practice or are former practitioners with a wealth of knowledge to share about the everyday challenges of legal practice. We hope that you will utilize the skills you gain from the programme to successfully navigate your traineeship, pupillage, and future career aspirations.  

 

Mr Ubaid REHMAN
PCLL Programme Director

 

Why choose the CityU PCLL
  • CityU School of Law is a vibrant institution at the cutting edge of legal education.

  • We train our students to be excellent trainee solicitors and pupil barristers.

  • Our diverse and well-credentialed faculty members bring experience and skill sets from various parts of the world.

  • The PCLL produces “tomorrow’s lawyers” who are well-rounded and client-centred individuals with a superior knowledge of the law combined with exceptional problem-solving, advocacy and drafting skills.

  • We teach much of the PCLL in small groups. This is the optimal method to learn the practice of the law.

  • Our PCLL programme is highly regarded by the legal profession in Hong Kong.

What you will achieve
The PCLL programme prepares you to:
  • Enter the legal profession as a trainee solicitor or as a pupil barrister;

  • Understand and fulfil your professional responsibilities;

  • Undertake a basic range of legal services commonly undertaken by trainee solicitors and pupil barristers or in the very early years of practice; and

  • Manage your work effectively.

Upon successful completion of the PCLL programme, you should be able to:
  • Communicate at an advanced level, both verbally and in writing;

  • Obtain and act upon clients’ instructions and provide practical solutions for clients’ objectives and problems;

  • Organise and manage your work appropriately, and to meet deadlines;

  • Research and learn independently;

  • Demonstrate strategic and critical thinking in your professional work; and

  • Identify professional ethical issues which may arise in practice and deal with them professionally.

Qualification to practise
Students who have completed the PCLL programme are required to complete 2 years of employment as a trainee solicitor or 12 months of pupillage as a pupil barrister in order to be eligible for admission to practise in Hong Kong as a solicitor or barrister respectively.
The programme
The CityU PCLL is a one-year full-time programme. Courses are taught in a variety of modes including large groups and small groups, skills sessions, problem-based learning groups, simulations, demonstrations, field trips and presentations by practitioners and guest lecturers.

Assessment is by way of coursework and final examinations.

The programme is taught by full-time staff with legal practice experience and part-time teachers who are legal practitioners. Members of the judiciary also participate in the delivery of the courses.

Students often work in small groups.

There are 11 core courses: Interlocutory Advocacy and Interviewing; Trial Advocacy; Mediation and Negotiation; Litigation Writing and Drafting; Commercial Writing and Drafting; Conveyancing Practice; Wills and Probate Practice; Corporate and Commercial Practice; Civil Litigation Practice; Criminal Litigation Practice; and Professional Conduct and Practice.

Students must also take 3 electives which include the Bar Course; Foundations in Mainland Related Legal Transactions; International Arbitration Practice; Family Law Practice; Personal Injuries Practice; Financial Regulatory Practice; Chinese for Legal Practice; and International Mooting and Advocacy.

The courses offered may be subject to change.
Courses on offer Please click here to view the PCLL courses currently on offer in 2020/21.
Current scholarships and prizes
  • Association of China-Appointed Attesting Officers Scholarship

  • Boase Cohen & Collins Prize

  • George Y C Mok & Co’s Prizes

  • Morley Chow Seto Criminal Litigation Practice Prize

  • School of Law Legal Practice Manuals Prize

  • Sir Oswald Cheung Memorial Fund PCLL Scholarship

  • Stevenson, Wong & Co. Fellowship

  • The Daniel R. Fung Q.C. Prize

  • The Hong Kong Conveyancing & Property Law Association Limited Prize in Conveyancing

  • The Law Society of Hong Kong Prize in Professional Conduct and Practice

  • Mr. Iu Ting Kwok Prize for LLB and PCLL Students

Students may also access relevant scholarship information by visiting the website of Student Development Services (SDS) at http://www.cityu.edu.hk/sds/sch/index.html or through student’s e-portal.

Our people

Full-time Staff

Josefina BAUTISTA
Jack BURKE
Carrie CHAN
Peter CHAN
Kee Ming CHI
Alisa KWAN-STEPHENSON

Stella LEUNG
Theresa LOW
Laveena MAHTANI
Rebecca ONG
Ubaid REHMAN

Adjunct Professors
Ting Kwok IU, MH
Hanif MUGHAL
Christopher TO
Scarlet TSAO
Yi ZHANG
Mr Ubaid REHMAN
Teaching Consultant
PCLL Programme Director
School of Law
City University of Hong Kong
Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong
Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3442 4963
Fax: (852) 3442 0190

Email: uurehman@cityu.edu.hk

Dr Peter CHAN
Assistant Professor
PCLL Programme Associate Director
School of Law
City University of Hong Kong
Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong
Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3442 4156
Fax: (852) 3442 0190

Email: pchchan@cityu.edu.hk

General Office, CityU School of Law
Room 6101, 6/F
Li Dak Sum Yip Yio Chin Academic Building
City University of Hong Kong
Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong
Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3442 8008
Fax: (852) 3442 0190

Email: lwpcll@cityu.edu.hk

Website: http://www.cityu.edu.hk/slw

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Eligibility for admission Applicants must satisfy ONE of the following to be eligible for admission:
  • hold an LLB or JD degree from City University of Hong Kong, University of Hong Kong or Chinese University of Hong Kong; or

  • hold an LLB or JD degree of equivalent level from a recognised overseas institution in a common law jurisdiction; or

  • hold a graduate diploma in law or equivalent from a recognised institution in a common law jurisdiction.

Applicants must also supply evidence that:
  • they are competent in 9 core subjects (or subjects recognised as their equivalent): Contract, Tort, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Land Law, Equity, Evidence, Business Associations and Commercial Law;

  • they are competent in 3 “top-up” subjects: Hong Kong Constitutional Law, Hong Kong Legal System and Hong Kong Land Law (see Hong Kong Conversion Examination Board for details); AND

  • they have obtained an overall score of 7 or above in IELTS (academic) from a test taken no more than 3 years before the closing date of application. This is a requirement of the Standing Committee on Legal Education and Training in Hong Kong. No exemption will be permitted.

Satisfying these requirements before you start the PCLL If you wish, you can demonstrate competence in the core subjects, “top-up” subjects, and the IELTS (academic) before you complete your LLB or JD. You may apply to join the PCLL even if you have not yet passed those subjects (or received an exemption from the Hong Kong Conversion Examination Board (CEB)) and the IELTS (academic) test. However, any offer of a place will be conditional upon your fulfilling all the specified conditions before the prescribed deadline. We do recommend that you complete the CEB exams as early as possible.
Conversion examinations The examinations in the core subjects and the “top-up” subjects are administered by CEB. For more information, contact the Board at:

34/F, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3761 1123
Email: enquiry@pcea.com.hk
Website: www.pcea.com.hk

The Board’s website includes the statement from the Standing Committee on Legal Education and Training in regard to its entry requirements for the PCLL.
English language requirements IELTS (academic) is conducted by:
The British Council
Tel: (852) 2913 5100
Website: www.britishcouncil.hk
and
IDP Education
Tel: (852) 2179 3600
Website: www.idp.com
Warning!
Please ensure you obtain the IELTS (academic) result in good time. You should also anticipate that there may be a shortage of places for the IELTS (academic) tests, which may cause delay.
Alternative route for admission Under the Special Track Programme, our school offers up to around 20 places for applicants who have previously applied but were unsuccessful gaining entry into our PCLL programme. Eligible applicants must demonstrate that they have acquired at least 2 years in total of solid law-related working experience (e.g. working as a paralegal, law clerk, court clerk and legal assistant) and this does not include internships or mini-pupillages. Shortlisted applicants are required to attend an interview.
The CityU PCLL admission guidelines
We apply the following guidelines:
  • Admission to the PCLL is based solely on merit.

  • The most important indicator of merit is past academic performance.

  • Applicants’ law degrees are assessed by reference to (a) grades, marks (in law subjects), classification; and (b) the standing of the law school of the university issuing the degree.

  • Applicants must have a minimum of a high 2:2 (or equivalent) in their law degree.

  • Applicants may be required to attend an interview in order to assess their suitability for admission to the PCLL.

Applications, fees and deadlines Applications are made online on the School of Graduate Studies website.

You MUST read the “Remarks” section on the Supplementary Form, Notes for Applicants and FAQs BEFORE submission of your application.

Applications for admission to the PCLL programme in 2021/2022 are accepted beginning from 17 November 2020. You must submit your application on or before 30 April 2021. LATE application will not be accepted. You are recommended to submit your application in good time and not to wait until the last minute.
 
Attention:
If CityU is your 1st choice institution, you are required to send us by post on or before 14 May 2021. ALL supporting documents* (including interim/final transcripts, IELTS Test Report Form, PCLL Conversion Examination result/exemption letters and DSE/IB or other secondary public examination results) that you uploaded onto the admissions online system to the following address:
 
Attn:
PCLL Admissions Committee
School of Law
City University of Hong Kong
Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong
Kowloon, Hong Kong

Please send us by post as soon as possible the documents that you uploaded onto the admissions online system after 30 April 2021.

* Please do not send us originals of documents as we will not be able to return them to you or share them with other programmes.

If applicants do not have the transcript of their final-year LLB or JD or other equivalent results and their IELTS (academic) result, and where applicable, the PCLL Conversion Examination result(s) at the time of application, they should upload online and send their results by post once these are available.

PCLL applications are processed on a rolling basis, strong applicants may be given offers prior to the application deadline so early applications are therefore strongly encouraged.

Applicants requiring a student visa should note that visa applications take at least eight weeks or even longer to process. In order to speed up the admission process, non-local applicants are advised to send us all of their information and supporting documents by early June.

Please visit this link http://www.cityu.edu.hk/geo/ies_stdvisa.htm for more information about Student Visa / Entry Permit.
PCLL
(for students admitted in 2021/22)
Full-time Mode, Self-financing
Academic Year Tuition Fee
2021/22 HK$5,700 per credit
The tuition fee indicated in the above schedule will apply until the end of your study in this programme.
Full-time Mode, Government-funded
Local Students
Academic Year Tuition Fee
2021/22 HK$42,100 per annum
The tuition fee is subject to annual review. If there are changes to the tuition fees set by the HKSAR Government for 2021/22 or subsequent years, the tuition fees may be adjusted.
Non-local Students
Academic Year Tuition Fee
2021/22 HK$140,000 per annum
The tuition fee may increase if there are changes to the tuition fees set by the HKSAR Government. If there are no changes to the government-set tuition fees, the fee for the academic year indicated above will apply until the end of your study in this programme.

CityU School of Law offers both UGC-funded and self-financing PCLL places. The UGC-funded places are limited in number and are awarded on the basis of merit subject to relevant or applicable regulations. Students who are given the non-government funded places may subsequently be considered for government funded places in late August / early September 2021.
Enquiries PCLL Deputy Admissions Tutor
Ms Stella LEUNG
Senior Teaching Consultant
Email: ssyleung@cityu.edu.hk

PCLL Admissions Administrator
Ms Pat LEE or Ms Rita WONG
Email: lwpcll@cityu.edu.hk
Telephone: (852) 3442 7223

School of Graduate Studies
Telephone: (852) 3442 5588
Fax: (852) 3442 0187
Email: tpadmit@cityu.edu.hk

Admissions enquiries should initially be directed to the PCLL Admissions Administrator.

...

“The CityU PCLL programme enhanced my study and understanding of law from an academic level to practical and analytical ones. It was a crucial process of transformation for me to be equipped for becoming a solicitor.

The CityU PCLL programme has traditionally been a comprehensive all-round programme which helps students realise their strength and potential. Whilst the PCLL programme is unquestionably challenging, all the course leaders and tutors are determined to furnish all PCLL students with excellent training and practical skills and to assist them in developing their career as a legal professional.

I will always remember the time when all my groupmates supported each other when we were going through difficult assignments and examinations. The CityU PCLL programme was a milestone in initiating my profession. I also learnt one of the most important principles from it: paying close attention to details is the key to excellence.”

 

Ms LI Chung Nam

PCLL Graduate 2001
Partner of Robertsons, Solicitor of HKSAR
China-Appointed Attesting Officer
Civil Celebrant of Marriages

...

“The CityU PCLL is tailored to equip students with a practical skill set essential for a trainee solicitor or pupil barrister. While studying the CityU PCLL, we were given simulated assignments usually performed by junior lawyers and were encouraged to change our academic mindset and think in practical terms like a legal practitioner. We also benefited from the fact that the CityU PCLL tutors were experienced and qualified solicitors or barristers who shared with us their practical knowledge. I found their advice to be very valuable during my training contract. Also, the discussions we had in class were quite stimulating and eye-opening.

Before my enrolment in the CityU PCLL, I had a particular interest in finance law. Helpfully, the CityU PCLL offers a variety of electives which enabled me not only to focus on the core subjects, but also to further develop my knowledge in finance law. I chose Financial Regulatory Practice as an elective where I learnt a lot about investigation powers of the SFC and statutory secrecy, which were particularly helpful during my litigation seat. During the programme, I also enrolled into Bar Course where we actually cross-examined a real expert witness during the mock trial. Although that was a rather difficult task as the expert witness was very experienced, it helped me to substantially enhance my speaking and presentation skills.

I very much enjoyed the small group tutorials where we were encouraged to debate, analyse, brainstorm and express our ideas. My fellow group members and I bonded very well and each of us became an important member of the team (which proved to be very crucial as the CityU PCLL is a fast-paced programme and working efficiently as one team made our workload much more manageable). We often discussed tricky scenario questions and assisted each other with exam preparation.

I will always remember the celebration of my fellow group members’ birthdays (including my own) throughout the study year. Our group (and in fact many other groups) were very sociable and we often had group dinners outside of CityU in Festival Walk.

With the help of the CityU PCLL I expanded my professional network and met many amazing people with whom I still keep in contact even after graduation. The tutors and lecturers were very helpful and friendly. I could feel their support and guidance throughout the whole programme. Indeed, the CityU PCLL made my last year of legal education both exciting and unforgettable.”

 

Mr Viacheslav IAVORSKYI

PCLL Graduate 2015
Associate, Ropes & Gray (Hong Kong)

...

“The CityU PCLL programme provided a solid foundation of practical legal skills. Having worked as a trainee solicitor for six months, I am grateful to see how relevant much of the PCLL content has been, including knowledge of corporate and commercial law; financial regulatory law; civil litigation and conveyancing.

I have also benefited by getting to know a good number of fellow solicitors, many of whom I am lucky to have as friends.

 

The breadth and utility of practical legal knowledge; the opportunity to meet great classmates; and the chance to learn from some impressive instructors were three factors which really helped to distinguish the programme.

One especially memorable aspect of the PCLL was the experience of serving as a focus group member. In addition to canvassing student opinions on how to improve the programme, my focus-group mates and I were responsible for organising the year-end Ball. There were many details to take care of. Fortunately, I had the support of great class-mates and faculty members, all of whom contributed in many ways. The graduation Ball turned out to be a party, a feast, and a great bonding experience. I think we will still be laughing at the memories for years to come.”

 

Mr Henry LIE

PCLL Graduate 2016
Associate, Kirkland & Ellis

...

“The CityU PCLL programme provided me with a supportive and congenial environment for my transition from a law student to barrister. Apart from equipping us with practical knowledge, the CityU PCLL emphasises the importance of professionalism and instils upon us the high standards expected of an accountable legal practitioner, sensitive to the needs of our clients.

The tutors are examples of the high standards a legal practitioner should possess. They reminded us that a responsible lawyer should always strive for improvement. The tutors were very helpful in providing guidance and encouragement throughout the year. The small group system enabled my small group mates and I to explore course work from different perspectives and mutually support one another in course work and examinations.

I will always look back on my PCLL year with fondness and deep gratitude. The CityU PCLL equipped me with the knowledge and confidence for a practice in the Bar. I forged many lifelong friendships - friends who mutually supported each other in learning and later, in life. Both the knowledge and confidence instilled in me by the CityU PCLL remains immensely relevant to this day.”

 

Ms Christy WONG

PCLL Graduate 2015
Barrister-at-law
Erik Shum's Chambers

What do I need to do to get in?
Admission to the PCLL is based solely on merit. The most important indicator of merit is past academic performance. Your law degree is assessed by reference to your (a) grades, marks (in law subjects), classification; and (b) the standing of the law school of the university issuing the degree. You should have a minimum of a high 2:2, or equivalent, in your law degree.
May I apply even when my final exam / IELTS (academic) / Conversion exam results are not yet available?
Yes, we may give conditional offers to applicants before their final exam / IELTS (academic) / conversion exam results are released. Any such offer will be conditional upon the applicant fulfilling all the conditions prior to the deadline provided.
What is the deadline for the completion of all conditions?
It is usually around early August, but the exact date varies from year to year. Applicants may refer to the application document (i.e. the online Supplementary Form for PCLL).
I am an overseas student and the subjects that I am studying here bear different titles than what are listed on your core subject requirements; how do I know if the subjects that I have studied are what you require?
If you are unsure whether or not the subjects you have studied in your undergraduate law degree meet the exemption requirements, you may apply for “Evaluation of Law Qualifications” from the Hong Kong Conversion Examination Board.
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 can I get a UGC-funded place?
You do not need to apply for a UGC-funded place. Subject to applicable regulations, we will make our own analysis based on students’ academic credentials and will then offer UGC-funded places as appropriate. The students will be informed directly whether they have obtained a UGC-funded place or a self-financing place.
Are CityU students given a preference?
Applicants who have earned their law degrees at CityU are not given any advantage, nor do they face a disadvantage in the admission process. CityU graduates are considered exactly the same as graduates of any other school.
Do I need to submit separate applications to each PCLL provider (CityU / HKU / CUHK)?
If you wish to apply to more than one PCLL programme, you must submit a separate application to each of them.
What happens if I choose more than one PCLL provider as my first preference?
Your application will be disqualified by all PCLL providers. Each applicant is allowed to choose only one PCLL provider to be their “first preference”. After the admission application deadline, the three PCLL providers will exchange the lists of applicants who have chosen them as first preference to disqualify those who have chosen more than one PCLL provider as their first preference.
Is it possible to defer an offer to the subsequent year?
No, it is not possible to defer an offer of the PCLL programme to the subsequent year. The applicant would be required to make a fresh application in the subsequent year.
Is there anything else you would advise me to do to improve my chances of admission?
In relation to the PCLL admissions, we look at an application in its entirety. We will take into consideration all relevant factors, although the primary criterion for admission will be the results obtained by applicants in their JD, LLB, GDL or related qualifications. We do not comment on the chances of success of a specific application.
If my undergraduate academic record is not competitive for admission to the PCLL programme at CityU, will it help if I do an LLM?
An excellent performance in an LLM programme may overcome modest weaknesses in one’s academic record, but will not usually overcome an academic record which is otherwise uncompetitive.
What can I do if my grades are not competitive enough to get into the PCLL programme?
Under the Special Track Programme, our school offers up to around 20 places for applicants who have previously applied but were unsuccessful gaining entry into our PCLL programme. Eligible applicants must demonstrate that they have acquired at least 2 years in total of solid law-related working experience (e.g. working as a paralegal, law clerk, court clerk and legal assistant) and this does not include internships or mini-pupillages. Shortlisted applicants are required to attend an interview.
How is the 2 years in total of solid law-related working experience calculated for the Special Track Programme?
The 2 years is calculated up to the time of enrolment on to our PCLL programme which is usually around the end of August or the beginning of September.
Are my GDL grades relevant in the PCLL admissions process if the GDL was obtained after I have received an LLB degree?
Yes. We look at an application in its entirety.
Will you consider my application if CityU is my 2nd or 3rd choice institution?
We will not consider/process such an application until you inform us in writing that your application has been rejected by your 1st choice institution. We will first process all the 1st choice applications and then review the 2nd and 3rd choice applications only if there are remaining places.
May I provide reference letters from my employers and tutors?
You may but it is not compulsory.
Must I answer all the questions on the online application form?
Yes, you must answer ALL the questions on the online application form. Leaving any question unanswered may disqualify or delay your application.
Are there any advantages to submitting the application early?
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. We may give out the first round of offers as early as March, so students are encouraged to apply early.
Is there accommodation available on campus?
Students offered government-funded places for the PCLL programme are eligible to apply for student residence. Otherwise, all taught postgraduate students should seek off-campus accommodation as early as possible before arrival at Hong Kong. Details about off-campus accommodation are available at http://www.cityu.edu.hk/sro/htm/e_off-campus.htm.