Legal Thinkers’ Seminar – ‘What HLA Hart and Ronald Dworkin Teach Litigators’ by Mr. Matthew Cheung (Online)

Legal Thinkers’ Seminar – ‘What HLA Hart and Ronald Dworkin Teach Litigators’ by Mr. Matthew Cheung (Online)

It may ostensibly be a strange question to ask what the two greatest legal philosophers of analytical jurisprudence have to teach litigators. 

But in this presentation we refresh ourselves on some key questions of analytical jurisprudence that the speaker asked as a suspicious wide-eyed legal theory student and years later found just as challenging in legal practice.  The speaker will argue that the questions Hart and Dworkin pose have a lot to teach practitioners, especially litigators.  In particular, how do lawyers argue and judges decide cases, especially hard cases?  When they reason, do and may judges and lawyers only stick to announcing what the positive law is, whatever that means?  Is there any place for propositions that are more familiar to schools of natural law about what the law morally ought to be?  Why do lawyers and judges always seem to arrive at answers that are definitive and certain in every case, when other disciplines readily concede that they do not have the answers?  (And how important is certainty anyway?)  On the other side, are the sceptics right in insisting that there are no right answers in law?  Worse, are the most cynical of sceptics right when they allege that the appearance of a disciplined and certain system of reasoning is not only a mistake and an illusion but a deliberate and ill-meaning intellectual sleight-of-hand?  What do the answers to all these questions mean for how litigators should crafts their cases?

About the Speaker:

Mr. Matthew Cheung, Professional Consultant, CUHK LAW

Matt Cheung is a Professional Consultant at the Faculty of Law of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  He is qualified to practise in England and Wales, New Zealand and Australia (NSW).  Before joining CUHK LAW in 2008 he practised for seven years as a commercial and corporate litigator in leading firms in Auckland, New Zealand and London.  He also taught in London at the College of Law (now the University of Law).  There among other things he wrote the bespoke Legal Practice Course Civil Litigation programme for Linklaters LLP’s London office.

At CUHK LAW, Matt has taught across the curriculum for the Bachelor of Laws (LLB), Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Laws (LLM), the Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) and General Education courses.  He is a recipient of the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.  This year he was involved in nine subjects across all law programmes, leading seven.  At CUHK LAW he has also served as Director of its JD programme and Deputy Director of its PCLL programme.  He is currently the Faculty’s Alumni Co-ordinator. 

As both an academic and vocational teacher of law, and as a practitioner, Matt never understood the sharp distinction between theory and practice and has resisted it for years.  In his honours thesis he asked, Should judges in post-1997 Hong Kong adjudicate using Dworkin’s Rights Thesis?  He remembers sharing his thesis in his last tutorial with Professor Dworkin, whose work and encouragement kept him in the study, practice and teaching of law for many years to come.

The Law Society of Hong Kong has awarded this seminar 1 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) point.



    24 Jun 2021


    12:30 pm - 1:30 pm