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NUS-SMU-HKU Symposium 2013

Rights in Asia: Naming, Blaming and Claiming

The 4th Biennial Symposium for Law Faculty from The University of Hong Kong, Singapore Management University, and the National University of Singapore took place on 10 & 11 January 2013, hosted at the National University of Singapore, Bukit Timah Campus and Singapore Management University. A sharing by Centre for Asian Legal Studies Director, Professor Andrew Harding.


HKU Dean Johannes Chan

Every two years our three law schools get together for an academic symposium in which we compare current work and emerging ideas in law in the region. We have seen this occasion as a highly valuable opportunity to get to know each other better and develop the range and quality of legal scholarship in Singapore and Hong Kong, cities that share much in terms of history, law, and economic and social development. On this occasion the Symposium was jointly hosted by SMU and NUS, and we had great pleasure in welcoming our friends, old and new, from Hong Kong.

The 2013 symposium included papers which described and explored various facets of rights in Asia, particularly whether and how groups and individuals perceived themselves as having rights, and strategized to claim those rights or deploy rights to protect their interests vis-a-vis states or corporations. As such, the Symposium included papers that examined such issues in ways that concern either the public or private sector, and thus did not limit them to constitutional or human rights jurisprudence. Some of the papers were theoretical; some were based on single-jurisdiction studies (China, Singapore, Hong Kong); or had a more comparative nature, both in a jurisdictional sense and in terms of public law, private law, or international comparisons.

SMU Dean Yeo Tiong Min with CALS Director Andrew HardingThere were six panels – Rights and Wrongs in Asia I and II, Chinese law, Singapore Law and Governance, and business Law I and II. The 26 participants, including seven from Hong Kong, were welcomed by Hong Kong Law Dean Johannes Chan and CALS Director Andrew Harding on day one at NUS and by SMU Dean Yeo Tiong Min on the second day at SMU. NUS Law Dean Simon Chesterman finished off the proceedings by thanking all concerned at the end of day two.

The papers and the discussions in all panels were wide-ranging, and of great interest. The symposium was conducted in a highly collegial atmosphere and everyone looked forward to renewing our tripartite and now traditional institutional and personal acquaintances again in late 2014 or early 2015.

NUS,  extends its warm thanks to Henry Gao of SMU, Ji-lian Yap of HKU and staff at all three institutions for organising such an enjoyable and productive event. We are confident that much of the material will be published in the Asian Journal of Comparative Law.



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