Bond University


In 2000, the Hong Kong government appointed two professors from Australia (“the Consultants”) to conduct a review of legal education in Hong Kong. The Consultants released their report, “Legal Education and Training in Hong Kong: Preliminary Review” (“the RLET”) in August 2001. This is the most important document on legal education for Hong Kong in the past three decades. The RLET recommended, inter alia, the abolition of the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws course (“PCLL”) run by the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong (“HKU”). Instead, they proposed the establishment of a new Legal Practice Course by the local legal profession outside the university. In response to the RLET, the HKU Law Faculty has reformed its PCLL in the past three years. In this article, I attempt to trace and analyse the reform of PCLL at HKU. I will first elaborate on two UK documents important to the original PCLL (“old” PCLL) at HKU. Secondly, I will highlight various reports on legal education issued in the United Kingdom (UK) and their relevance to the reform of professional legal education in Hong Kong. Thirdly, I will describe the development of other PCLL courses in Hong Kong to provide the context for understanding the evolution of PCLL at HKU. Fourthly, I will analyse the distinct features of the “old” PCLL, and its major “defects” as pointed out in the RLET. In addition, I will explain several major issues facing the “old” PCLL. Then I will elaborate on several distinct features of the reformed PCLL (“new” PCLL), analysing the progress and implementation issues of the “new” PCLL. Finally, the future reform directions of the “new” PCLL will be outlined. I will then summarise the achievements of the “new” PCLL, with particular reference to the criticisms of the “old” PCLL by the RLET.