B. Law Study and Related Activities

1. Curriculum, Course Selection and Enrolment 2. Tips on Selection of Reading Materials3. Academic Advising4. Exam Preparation5. Plagiarism6.Grades and Honours Classifications7. Discontinuation of Study8. Student Researcher Scheme9. Outgoing Exchange Programme10. Internal Transfer11. Credit Accumulation and Transfer
  • a. Course requirements (applicable to UG students only)

    Regardless of which degree programme you belong to, you will be required to partake in courses amounting to 60 credits in total each year. These would include:

    • 4 professional course courses
    • Common Core courses
    • Core University English or free elective
    • Electives
    Professional core courses in Law 30 credits 30 credits 30 credits 30 credits
    Common Core courses 24 credits 6 credits 12 credits 6 credits
    Core University English / Free Elective 6 credits 6 credits 6 credits 6 credits
    Electives / 18 credits 12 credits 18 credits
    Total: 60 credits 60 credits 60 credits 60 credits

    Since there are different course requirements for different degree programmes, it is advisable that you check the regulations for the programme which you belong to in making course selection decisions. The Course Selection Guidelines and Regulations for each degree programme can be found in the Faculty’s Academic Resources Support Centre website.

    Useful links: Degree Regulations and Course Descriptions (applicable to all students); Quick Guide on Course Selection and Enrolment; SIS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Students

  • b. First Year Studies

    Professional Core Courses

    The following four professional core courses are compulsory for ALL first-year students. These courses are designated as “core” and offered in your first year because they all aim to instil in you the foundation, knowledge and skills necessary for you to progress in your legal studies and career in the future.

    The following table outlines some aspects of the format and expectations of each professional core course:

    LLAW1002&1002 LLAW1008 LLAW1009 LLAW1013
    Credits 12 6 6 6
    Full/half year Full Half Half Half
    Semester 1 and 2 1 2 1
    Teaching weeks 24 12 12 12
    Learning activities Lectures 2 hrs/week 2 hrs/week 2 hrs/week 1 hr/week
    Tutorials 5 double-hour/semester 2 hrs/week 1 hr/week 2 hrs/week

    Core University English or Free Elective

    Those of you who have achieved Level 5 or above in English Language in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination, or equivalent, may apply to the Faculty to be exempted from this requirement and take an elective course in lieu.

    Common Cores

    The HKU Common Core Curriculum aims to serve as a platform for you to make connections across all the Faculties, and to develop the intellectual, social and innovative skills that enable you to tackle complex issues of the contemporary world.

    You will be required to enrol in one or more of the common cores each year for the first three years of your studies. The actual number you take each year varies, depending on the respective degree regulations as shown below:

    Year 1 24 credits 6 credits 12 credits 6 credits
    Year 2 12 credits 18 credits 12 credits 12 credits
    Year 3 N/A N/A N/A 6 credits
    Total: 36 credits 24 credits 24 credits 24 credits

    You may visit the HKU Common Core Office for further information.

  • c. Second and more senior years of studies

    Given the different course requirements for different degree programmes in second and senior years, and that some of you may be interested in going on exchange (see “Outgoing Exchange Programme” in later part), you are strongly advised to check the regulations and related information when you make your study plan.

  • d. Important Academic Dates

    The Academic Advising Office announces and provides a quick summary of dates for course selection and add-drop period.  You are required to select courses for both 1st and 2nd semesters in the course selection period as prescribed in the above course selection guidelines.  The first two weeks at the start of each semester are the add-drop period which you may make changes to your course selection. (Note: For intensive courses, the add-drop deadline is within the first two classes of the course.)  Please follow the instructions given in the course selection guidelines for requesting course selection / add-drop.  No further amendment of course enrolment can be made after the add-drop period, and you are required to attend lectures / tutorials according to your course enrolment.

    Useful Link: Important Academic Dates 2020-21

  • e. Lists of courses offered and details
  • f. Timetables and Venues of Law Core Courses

    The timetable and class venues of law core courses are available online at Academic Resources Support Centre >> Timetables.

    Please check Campus Map for locations of buildings and Examinations Office for abbreviations and locations of classrooms.

  • Tips on Selection of Reading Materials

    Reading constitutes a significant part of a law student’s life. Textbooks, judgments, academic commentaries etc., these materials are what you will usually be asked to read in the course of studying law. Don’t be too intimidated by the reading lists, just give yourself some time to get adapt to the new learning mode – you’ll definitely find your way to deal with it!

    Below are some suggestions which may help you select and manage the reading materials for each law course:

    a) Required reading

    Materials belonging to this category are those which your teacher asks you to read. They are probably chapters from the prescribed textbooks of the course, and landmark cases for certain areas of law. It is probable that the content covered by these reading materials is examinable.

    You are highly encouraged to read them before attending lectures and/or tutorials. This can help you form a broad picture of the topic which you are going to be taught.

    b) Recommended reading

    These are materials recommended by your teachers to read in addition to the required ones. While these materials may not be examinable (you have to check with your teachers), they can help you understand the legal principles more widely and profoundly. Having a holistic understanding of the law may enable you to come up with more in-depth analysis and distinguished views when tackling problem questions and essays in the exam.

    c) Your own research materials

    Following the common law system, decided cases in both local and overseas jurisdictions can have an impact in the development of the law in Hong Kong. Key cases are usually covered in the textbooks, but not necessarily the most recent ones. You may take the initiative to look for new cases decided locally and overseas to see if there is any update on the law.

    You are also most welcome read textbooks and academic commentaries outside of both the required and recommended reading lists for your own interests.

    Hope you enjoy reading and learning

  • a. Faculty Level - i. Faculty academic advisers

    These members of the faculty are ready and very much willing to help and share your ups and downs, concerns and worries:

    i. Faculty academic advisers

    Every one of you will be assigned a teacher from the Department of Law as your Faculty Academic Adviser. You are encouraged to meet with your academic adviser at least once every semester, appointments can be made via email.

    The Faculty Academic Adviser is there to help you on academic issues and give you advice and guidance in your academic life. If you encounter any questions relating to study strategies, course selection, academic and career goals, or issues about transition to university, you are most welcome to contact your adviser and discuss these issues with him or her.

    Find Faculty Academic Adviser (FAA)

  • a. Faculty Level - ii. Faculty student advisers

    ii. Faculty student advisers

    Every one of you will also be assigned a senior student as your Faculty Student Adviser. You can seek advice from your peer adviser if you wish to know more about university life from a student’s perspective. Your seniors have gone through freshman year too and thus they would be in a good position to share their experience about study life, transition to university and other issues with you.

  • a. Faculty Level - iii. Undergraduate Curriculum Advice

    iii. Undergraduate Curriculum Advice

    For curriculum specific and course selection guidance, you may seek advice from Year Coordinators (for LLB students) and/or Curricula Directors and Deputy Directors (for double-degree students).

    Programme Director (until Oct 2019) Ms Cora Chan cora@hku.hk
    Deputy Programme Director Dr David Kwok davkwok@hku.hk
    First Year Experience Coordinator Mr Jacky Yeung yeungjck@hku.hk
    Second Year Coordinator Dr David Kwok davkwok@hku.hk
    Third Year Coordinator Dr Peter Chau pscchau@hku.hk
    Upper Years Coordinator Mr Michael Jackson mjackson@hku.hk
    Programme Director Mr Michael Jackson mjackson@hku.hk
    Deputy Programme Director Mr Jacky Yeung yeungjck@hku.hk
    Programme Director Dr Eric Ip ericcip@hku.hk
    Deputy Programme Director Dr Peter Chau pscchau@hku.hk
    Programme Director Dr Marco Wan mwan@hku.hk
    Deputy Programme Director Dr Daniel Matthews danmat@hku.hk
    HKU-UCL Dual Degree Programme
    Programme Co-Director Prof Johannes Chan johannes@hku.hk
    Programme Co-Director Prof Lusina Ho lusinaho@hku.hk
    HKU-PKU Dual Degree Programme
    Programme Director Prof Yun Zhao

  • a. Faculty Level - iv. Specific Issues

    iv. Specific Issues

    Outgoing exchange programme Mr Alex Mak
    Mooting and dispute resolution (Capstone) [LLAW3187] Ms Stephanie Wong
    International mooting Competition [LLAW3058] Mr Kelvin Kwok
    Legal Research and Writing [LLAW1013, LLAW2017] Ms Eva Tam

  • b. University Level


    The centralised Academic Advising Office (AAO) that is happy to provide service and general support to students about degree requirements, academic regulations and cross-faculty learning opportunities.

    Useful Link: Different Types of Academic Advisers; University-wide Academic Advising System; Student Advising Community @ HKU

  • a. How to prepare for exams?

    This is undoubtedly what many law students are concerned about. The most efficient way of studying law varies from one to another: you may prefer studying alone while I may prefer studying in group; she may prefer hand-written notes while he may prefer typed notes. There is no definite way, but below is some advice for you to be SMART in preparing for exams:

    • Start revising early
    • Make your own notes
    • Attempt past paper/tutorial questions
    • Revise with friends
    • Take rest
    • Start revising early

    You may have experiences of studying the night before and still excel in exams before, but in law school, this probably does not work. Given the significant amount of reading materials (some hundred pages, or even more), you will need more time to carefully review and fully understand them.

    Examination timetables will usually be available after the reading week. You will be informed by email when they are available. You can get access to them through:

    Copies of the examination timetables are also posted on Faculty noticeboards for students’ reference. It should however be noted that, under special circumstances, amendments to the examination timetables would occasionally be made after the first publication of the timetables.  Students should therefore consult the online examination timetables on the web site of the Examinations Office regularly for any possible amendments to their examination timetables.

    • Make your own notes

    Making notes is a helpful way to gather and reorganise all the legal principles and case laws that you’ve read and learnt. The reading list assigned by the course convenor of each course should have laid out the materials, for example, textbooks and cases which you are required to read. Your teachers may also have highlighted in lectures or tutorials legal principles, key cases or academic debates. It is advisable that you revise these examinable materials before exams.

    There is no single way of how to make study notes – it is all up to you! You may draw tree diagrams, use tables and bullet-points, or write long paragraphs. As long as your notes help you, especially if it is going be an open-book exam, they’ll be an excellent set of notes.

    • Attempt past paper/tutorial questions

    Exams do not just test your ability to recall the legal principles and case law, more often, you are required to demonstrate your ability to apply the law in solving the problem question, or to come up with a critical view of a certain area of law in your essay. Trying out past paper questions is a means for you to practise your skills of applying the law. Practice makes perfect!

    Where to find past paper?

    If past paper is not available, e.g. because access to it has been “restricted” by your teacher, you may consider (re)attempting tutorial questions instead.

    • Revise with friends

    Many a little makes a mickle! There is always more than one way to analyse a legal issue, discussing it among your peers may help you check your knowledge and gain perspectives.

    Sharing notes is also a means to expand knowledge base and learn from one another – needless to say, this is a matter of personal preference, no pressure at all.

    • Take rest

    It may be tempting to burn the midnight oil, but in order to have a clear mind, you need to get enough sleep the day before the exam.

    After all, don’t get stressed out! Exams are no doubt very important – well, they determine GPA – but they never determine who you are.

    Useful Links: Ideas on how to Survive Your Exams; Notice to Students sitting University Examinations

  • b. Absence from Examination

    Unable to take an examination as scheduled due to personal matters

    If you are unable to take a written examination according to the scheduled date, you must write at your earliest opportunity to the Examinations Office who will seek the recommendations from the Chief Examiner(s) concerned on your request.  Approval MUST be sought before the original date of the examination.  Special arrangement will be made only under exceptional circumstances.


    Unable to attend an examination due to illness on the examination date

    If you are unable to be present at the written examination of a course due to illness, you may apply for permission to sit for a supplementary examination of the same course.  You should make your application to the Examinations Office in writing and submit a completed “Form of Medical Certificate” to the University Health Service within 14 days of the first examination you were unable to attend.  Late submission will not be considered by the Board of Examiners.  The Board will determine whether you will be permitted to sit for a supplementary examination, and you will be informed of such arrangement by the Faculty and relevant department.

    The Board of Examiners meets in January and June every year to determine examination results.

  • c. Examination Arrangements during Bad Weather

    Please refer to the website of the Examinations Office for Arrangements during Bad Weather.

  • d. Announcement of Examination Results

    1st semester: in January (during the add-drop period)

    2nd semester: in June (together with honours classification for graduating class)

    Summer semester: in August (for JD students) / in September (for other students)

    The Faculty Office will inform you of the exact date of announcement of examination results by email at the end of the assessment period.  You may check your examination results at the HKU Portal > SIS > “Academic Records” > “View My Grades” from the announcement date onwards.

  • Plagiarism

    i. Plagiarism will lead to severe academic and disciplinary consequences. You should take a look at “What is Plagiarism?” which will provide you some guidance on what constitutes it, why it is wrong and how to avoid it. Plagiarism is copying the work of another person without proper acknowledgement. It can be committed unintentionally. It is also a serious academic offence to re-submit a piece of work which has also been submitted for another course, and such an offence will be dealt with in the same manner as plagiarism. You should also consult your teachers if you have any questions about how to avoid plagiarism before the due date for the work.
    ii. You must use an assignment cover sheet as the first page of your submission. The cover sheet reminds you of the University guidelines on plagiarism. Before you submit your written assignment/research paper, you must read the cover sheet carefully and ensure that you have acknowledged other’s academic work properly.
    iii. To help you avoid plagiarism, all take-home course examination and assignments must be submitted through Turnitin, which automatically conducts similarity checks.
    iv. For the avoidance of doubt, it is plagiarism to copy your own work or re-submit part or all of your own work for another assignment, and to reproduce substantial parts of another’s work without putting them in quotation, even if you have made editing changes and cited the source.
    v. Work containing plagiarism will be given a mark of zero. On top of that, the matter may be treated as a disciplinary offence (just like the case of cheating during an examination) and referred to the University’s Disciplinary Committee under Statute XXXI of the University’s Statutes and the Disciplinary Committee Regulations. In this regard, your attention is drawn to section 4 of Statute XXXI, which provides that a student found guilty by the Disciplinary Committee of a disciplinary offence may be subject to several kinds of sanctions, including a published reprimand, suspension from classes or expulsion from the University.
    vi. To deter plagiarism, teaching staff have been instructed to take an active role in spotting plagiarism and to refer the matter for disciplinary action where it occurs. For further information, please do not hesitate to consult your course teacher or the Department Anti-Plagiarism Coordinator.

    Useful Links: Plagiarism and How To Avoid It; Important policy on copyright and plagiarism

  • Grades and Honours Classifications

    In all of your law assessments, you will be graded by reference to the following grading criteria.

    A+ Outstanding (90-100) GPA = 4.3
    A Excellent (85-89) GPA = 4.0
    A- Borderline Excellent (80-84) GPA = 3.7
    B+ Very Good (76-79) GPA = 3.3
    B Good (Average Competent Answer) (73-75) GPA = 3.0
    B- Borderline Good (70-72) GPA = 2.7
    C+ Very Satisfactory (66-69) GPA = 2.3
    C Satisfactory (63-65) GPA = 2.0
    C- Borderline Satisfactory (60-62) GPA = 1.7
    D+ Pass (55-59) GPA = 1.3
    D Borderline Pass (50-54) GPA = 1.0
    F Fail (0-49) GPA = 0.0


    Degree Classifications

    All degrees offered at the Faculty of Law will be awarded in 5 divisions determined by the Board of Examiners for the degree in accordance with the following Cumulative GPA scores, with all courses taken (including failed courses) carrying equal weighting:

    Class of Honours CGPA Range
    First Class Honours 3.60-4.30
    Second Class Honours (Division One) 3.00-3.59
    Second Class Honours (Division Two) 2.40-2.99
    Third Class Honours 1.70-2.39
    Pass 1.00-1.69


    Notwithstanding the above, the Board of Examiners has the discretion to limit the number of candidates to be awarded a particular class of honours as follows:

    • First: no more than 10% of the graduating class;
    • Second (Division One): no more than 55% of the graduating class
    • Second (Division Two); Third: Pass and Fail: remainder of the graduating class


    How to calculate my GPA?

    “Grade Point Average” (GPA) is a numerical measure of a candidate’s academic achievement over a specified period of time. You can get your GPA by using GPA Calculator.


    Useful Links: FAQs by AAO

  • Discontinuation of Study

    The Board of Examiners may recommend, under the provision of General Regulation G12 and corresponding regulations for the respective programme, that students who do not perform satisfactorily be required to discontinue their studies.

    If you are required to discontinue your studies, you will be interviewed by the Faculty Review Committee (FRC) before your case is considered by the University’s Committee on Discontinuation (COD).

    Useful Links: Advising Students Facing the Possibility of Discontinuation; Discontinuation of Studies

  • Student Researcher Scheme

    Students wishing to enhance their research skills by providing voluntary research assistance to teachers are invited enrol in this Scheme. If any teacher needs such assistance, he or she may contact a student enrolled in this Scheme.

    Kindly note that:

    • Participation in the Scheme does not carry any financial remuneration and is purely on a voluntary basis; and
    • The scope for participation hinges on the demand for research assistance among teachers.

    Interested students should submit their applications through Student Intranet.

  • Outgoing Exchange Programme

    Going on exchange is a very worthwhile experience which will broaden your horizon and perspective. You can study for part of your degree on an approved exchange programme. Every year, many law students study abroad and benefit immensely.

    If you are interested in studying abroad for one or two semesters, you may do so in Year 3 or 4 if you are in the LLB programme, or in Year 4 or 5 if you are in any of the double-degree programmes.

    Currently, there are two exchange programmes available:


    Preparation for exchange

    Below are some recommended ways for you to get prepared before going on exchange (typically one year before):

    • Attend the briefing session about the Faculty-based exchange programme
    • Review and devise study plan
    • Look into credit transfer issues
    • Pay attention to the application timeline
    • Director of Student Exchange for Outgoing Students: Mr Alex Mak

  • a. Application for internal transfer of studies by undergraduates

    Students who are interested in programme transfer should take thorough and serious consideration of all relevant factors and information before making this important decision. The channels you can seek advice include:

    i. Faculty Academic Adviser (FAA) and/or teachers concerned:
    You can discuss with your FAA and/or teacher about Faculty-specific and all study-related matters. You can get the contact information of your FAA and other teachers at SIS and relevant faculty websites respectively.
    ii. Academic Adviser at the Academic Advising Office (AAO):
    For general advice, such as the pros and cons of attempting a transfer, the adviser at AAO might be able to help. Appointments can be made via their online booking system or by phone at 3917 0128.

  • b. Application for internal transfer of studies by undergraduates

    i. Information to be included in the application

    There is no official application form to fill in but please include the following information in the application:

    • Your full name in English
    • University number
    • Correspondence address
    • Contact phone number
    • Current curriculum and year of studies
    • Desired curriculum and year of studies
    • In e-mail attachment(s) (in Word or pdf format):
    • Reasons for transfer of studies with your signature (There is no word limit but it is usually within three A4 pages in length)
    • Supporting documents (e.g. transcripts, public examination results), if any

    ii. Submission of the application

    Application for internal transfer of studies should be made using your “@connect.hku.hk” e-mail account. It is suggested that you indicate your name, university number and that this is an internal transfer application in the e-mail subject. (e.g. Internal transfer application_CHAN Tai Man_3035012345)

    The internal transfer application, together with attachment(s) in Word or pdf format, should be sent to the Academic Services Office by e-mail to transfer@hku.hk on or before the stipulated deadline. Students should observe different deadlines stipulated by different Faculties.

    Please refer to the website of Academic Support and Examinations Section for more information.

  • Advanced Standing

    Advanced standing is granted for approved studies completed prior to admission to the University.  Students are not required to complete any further courses for those requirements for which they have been granted advanced standing.  Advanced standing credits granted will be recorded on the transcript of the student but will not be included in the calculation of the semester GPA, year GPA or cumulative GPA nor be taken into consideration for the honours classification of the degree to be awarded.

  • Credit Transfer

    Credit Transfer is granted for courses completed on exchange at other institutions during candidature at HKU.  The number of transferred credits may be recorded in the transcript of the candidate, but the results of courses completed at other institutions shall not be included in the calculation of the GPA.  The number of credits to be transferred shall not exceed half of the total credits normally required under the degree curricula of the candidates during their candidature at the University.

  • Course Exemption

    Course exemption is granted from particular course or curriculum requirements under special conditions (e.g. students being exempted from the Chinese language enhancement requirement due to not having studied the Chinese language previously or not having attained the standard required to take the Chinese language course).  Students must take other course(s) the same credit value to replace the relevant number of exempted credits.

  • Maximum number of credits for advanced standing and/or credit transfer

    For LLB students:
    The maximum number of credits of advanced standing and/or credit transfer is 120 credits, and that to be eligible to be considered for award of a first degree, a student must:

    1. Complete a minimum of two semesters of study at this University; and
    2. Accumulate, through study at this University or credit transfer, at least half the number of credits of the degree curriculum normally required for award of the degree.

    For JD students:
    The maximum number of credits of advanced standing is 12, where such a course is or such courses are completed no more than 5 years prior to the student’s commencement of the JD programme.