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Taking teaching into new territory

The School of Law at CityU aims to bring even more world-class lecturers into its already impressive faculty.

“We will keep improving our curriculum by getting more and more outstanding professors to teach our classes,” says Professor Lin Feng, the School of Law’s acting dean.

As well as having a multinational teaching staff, the school also invites notable guest lecturers from overseas to teach elective courses on cutting-edge and emerging areas of law.

“Two years ago, we restructured the curriculum. We now emphasise skills teaching because we need to properly equip the students. Our emphasis on mooting enables them to use the skills they’ve learned and help in their training as advocates,” Lin says.

Mooting, which allows students to apply their classroom learning in a mock courtroom setting, gives would-be lawyers a taste of real-world law. In recent years, CityU’s School of Law has gained a reputation for winning prestigious mooting competitions abroad. Students often cite this as a major reason for enrolling in the school’s LLB programme.

“[Mooting] helps students in the very beginning to conquer their fear,” says Forzia Lone, LLB programme leader. “It helps them to come out of their shells. Because at the end of the day, when you are in front of the judge and arguing your case, there is no one to help you except for yourself. So the earlier you get this education, the better it is.”

With mooting now added as a compulsory subject, all LLB freshmen will be able to experience this practical way of learning without having to join the teams that compete internationally.

To further extend its teaching beyond the classroom, the school’s popular Global Legal Education Awareness Project (G-LEAP) credit-bearing activity enables students to spend one month studying courses at the Columbia Law School in the US, the Faculty of Law at Monash University in Australia, and University College, Oxford in the UK. Thirty students join each G-LEAP course every year.

Alisa Kwan, associate LLB programme leader at the School of Law, says that another popular out-of-classroom programme is the Legal Placement initiative that enables students to see ‘law in action’.

“Legal Placement allows students to take up internships in law firms and corporations in Hong Kong. Most importantly, it also gives them the option for placement in mainland China for six weeks while attending classes at the Renmin University of China,” she says.

Lin says the opportunity to understand, study and research China law is one of the school’s major hallmarks. “We have helped educate and train Chinese judges who are making contributions to judicial reforms in China,” he says.