General Course Information

1.1 Course details

Course code: JDOC1009
Course name: Constitutional Law
Programme offered under: JD Programme
Semester: First
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: No
Credit point value: 6 credits

1.2 Course description

Constitutional law is a core component of a legal system. It also constitutes the foundation of a legal system, because it stipulates what are the sources of law in the legal system and how the law is made; it establishes, empowers and constrains the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government; and it regulates the relationship between these organs of government as well as the relationship between the government and the people. From the perspective of the people, constitutional law guarantees and protects their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In Hong Kong, constitutional law also performs the important function of regulating the relationship between Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region of the People Republic of China (PRC) and the Central Government Authorities of the PRC. Constitutional law in Hong Kong is therefore the legal foundation of ne Country, Two Systems It is also an area of the law which is often the focus of public and media attention. Constitutional law cases and controversies often appear in the Hong Kong press as frontpage news stories. The outcomes of constitutional litigation sometimes not only change the lives of the parties to the case, but also have wide and deep impact on the Hong Kong community and its public and social policies, or the political relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Constitutional law is closely related to politics, political philosophy and history, which some of you may have encountered in your previous studies. Some constitutional controversies in Hong Kong are covered in our course on Hong Kong Legal System. We hope that this course on constitutional law will provide for you the opportunity to study the subject more systematically and intensively. However, as it is only a one-semester course, it can do no more than opening the door for you, so that those of you who are interested in a broader and deeper understanding of the subject may acquire a solid foundation for your future studies in this interesting, exciting and challenging domain of public law.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Albert Chen albert.chen@hku.hk CCT 309 By email
Course convenor Po Jen Yap pjyap@hku.hk CCT 510 By email

Learning Outcomes

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Explain the key constitutional concepts and their application in the context of Hong Kong, including constitutionalism, autonomy, separation of powers, judicial independence, rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy;

CLO 2 Describe, explain and analyse the constitutional history of Hong Kong, dating back from its colonial roots till its current unique status under the ne Country, Two Systems regime;

CLO 3 Analyse and evaluate the legal or constitutional functions and operations of the key branches of government in Hong Kong and their inter-relationship;

CLO 4 Analyse and evaluate the constitutional reforms to bring about democratisation in Hong Kong and related incidents and controversies;

CLO 5 Describe, analyse and evaluate the constitutional relationship between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Central Authorities in Beijing;

CLO 6 Understand, explain and apply different theories of constitutional interpretation and critically assess the existing arrangements for interpreting the Basic Law;

CLO 7 Identify, describe and comment on the major constitutional law cases decided by Hong Kong courts;

CLO 8 Acquire, demonstrate and apply skills in reading constitutional law cases, in particular, skills in identifying relevant issues, assessing the reasoning of judges, articulating alternative lines of analysis, and evaluating the effect of the case on the development of constitutional law doctrine;

CLO 9 Explain the manner of application of key international human rights instruments in Hong Kong.

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
Final in-hall exam 14 Dec 2022 100% 1 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
*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 the convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: https://www.law.hku.hk/_files/law_programme_grade_descriptors.pdf

Learning Activities

4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Lecture: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
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 and hard copies are distributed
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Links

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