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Programme Aims and Features
This joint programme in literary studies and law provides students with the opportunity to pursue their studies in both literature and the law, and to explore the connections between the two. On completion of the five-year programme, students will be awarded both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws. In addition to preparing students for legal practice, the programme cultivates an appreciation of the narrative dimensions and rhetoric of legal discourse and of the overlaps between literary and legal histories. The curriculum provides a solid foundation for legal practice as well as a wide variety of careers beyond the law, including journalism, media and communications, the arts and culture, and politics.
To practise law in Hong Kong, LLB graduates must pass the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL), a one-year full-time or two-year part-time course taught by the Faculty of Law at HKU (or by other universities if applicable). Thereafter, prospective solicitors must spend two years as a trainee in a law firm, or in the Department of Justice, while prospective barristers must undertake 12 months of pupillage. Admission to the PCLL offered by the Faculty of Law is open to law graduates from the University and other approved universities and similar institutions in Hong Kong, and also to and holders of other recognised law qualifications acceptable to the PCLL providers who can demonstrate competence in the required core subjects. Admission is competitive: the selection criteria currently include the standard and origin of the applicant's first degree in law.
The LLB degree has also been recognised by professional bodies and universities overseas. The Law Society of England accepts it for exemptions from Part 1 of the Common Professional Examination, and exemptions may also be granted from certain papers in Part 1 of the Bar Final Examinations in England. Law graduates of the University regularly go on to study for higher degrees at prestigious universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, London and Stanford.
Hong Kong is a fascinating, stimulating environment for the study and practice of law because of its position as an international centre of trade and finance. Under the Basic Law, the existing law of Hong Kong will remain fundamentally unchanged for 50 years from 1997, which means that the Common Law, based on the English system, continues to apply. Hong Kong lawyers are playing a larger role in the modernisation of China, as well as in the constitutional and legal questions associated with the change of sovereignty – so Chinese law is also relevant. International trade and humanitarian law are becoming increasingly important, too.
Many graduates of the Faculty of Law are now serving the Hong Kong community as solicitors, barristers, magistrates and judges, corporate counsel and government lawyers. Others are teaching law in Hong Kong's three law schools. Our alumni have served as chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association, Permanent Judge of the Court of Appeal and Judges of the High Court. Many have also been appointed Senior Counsel or joined the governing bodies of the legal profession in Hong Kong, the Bar Council of the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Council of the Law Society of Hong Kong.
In addition to preparing students for legal practice, the curriculum provides a solid foundation for a wide variety of careers beyond the law, including positions in journalism, media and communications, the arts and culture sectors, and politics.
Faculty graduates can also be found pursuing a wide range of careers that at first sight might seem to have little to do with law. Some of our graduates become senior figures serving the business sector, political leaders, chairpeople of statutory bodies, and senior civil servants and journalists.