General Course Information

1.1 Course details

Course code: JDOC1007
Course name: Legal System and Legal Research
Programme offered under: JD Programme
Semester: First
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 6 credits

1.2 Course description

This course component provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the legal system of Hong Kong, the only common law jurisdiction in East Asia. It encourages students to appreciate the underlying values of legal practice and the administration of justice in the context of wider global and regional developments. It explains the crucial role played by the rule of law in Hong Kong historic transition from a cluster of marginal fishing settlements into a leading international financial centre over the course of nearly two centuries. And it enables students to reflect on the idiosyncratic challenges facing this internationalised jurisdiction, under Chinese sovereignty since 1 July 1997.

The legal research component of this course will focus on:

(1) Case reading: distinguishing law/fact; learning the structure and language of common law judgments; identifying relevant facts; identifying and defining legal issues, ratios, arguments, reasoning with precision; learning the ways in which judges in one case treat the judgments in earlier cases; precedent in action.

(2) Basic legal writing skills using short weekly marked up and graded writing assignments in the format of case briefs, letters to clients, closed internal memoranda. Emphasis will be placed upon correct use of general English and appropriate legal terminology, clarity of expression and logical, effective organisation of ideas and arguments.

(3) Learning skills: pre-class preparation; in class exercises, participation in class discussions using group and Socratic methods.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor (Legal System) Eric Ip ericcip@hku.hk CCT 705 By email
Course convenor (Legal Research) Zenith Chan TBA N/A By email
Course convenor (Legal Research) Terri Ha terriha@dvc.hk N/A By email

Learning Outcomes

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

For Legal System:

CLO 1 Acquire a sound understanding of the fundamental principles of the Hong Kong legal system.

CLO 2 Acquire theoretical and practical knowledge about the common law tradition and the rule of law, and be able to critically assess the successes and failures of legal institutions in light of such knowledge.

CLO 3 Be able to understand and reflect on the sources of law, the legislative process, the judiciary, the legal profession, and the interface of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese law.

CLO 4 Acquire theoretical and practical knowledge about case law reasoning and statutory interpretation.

CLO 5 Be able to understand and reflect on the potential and limits of the civil and criminal justice systems.

CLO 6 Acquire a sound foundation and context for the study of other substantive law courses.

For Legal Research:

CLO 1 Look up legal materials to which they are referred quickly and easily.

CLO 2 Read legal cases much more quickly than would otherwise be the case, and identify for the purposes of taking notes on those cases what is essential and what is superfluous in the facts and judgments in a case.

CLO 3 Read textbooks and articles with much more understanding and speed than would otherwise be the case.

CLO 4 Identify materials that might be helpful to them in studying a particular topic or researching a particular piece of legal writing that they have to do.

CLO 5 Discuss the law more intelligently and thoughtfully than would otherwise be the case.

CLO 6 Write about the law either in an essay or a problem answer more insightfully, succinctly, and at greater depth than would otherwise be the case.

2.2 JD Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Please refer to the following link: https://course.law.hku.hk/jd-plo/

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course



3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Legal Research assignment 15 Aug 2022 50% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Legal System 24-hour take home exam 12 Oct 2022 50% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
*Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Students will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.

Learning Activities

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Lecture: 3-hour seminars in August 2020
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150  ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).

Learning Resources

5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Linksa

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/