Property Law Seminar Series – ‘Private Takings of Land for Urban Redevelopment: A Tale of Two Cities’ by Prof. Kelvin Low, Prof. Wan Wai Yee and Mr. Alwin Chan (Online)

Property Law Seminar Series – ‘Private Takings of Land for Urban Redevelopment: A Tale of Two Cities’ by Prof. Kelvin Low, Prof. Wan Wai Yee and Mr. Alwin Chan (Online)

In 1999, both Hong Kong and Singapore brought into force legislation that permitted a supermajority of apartment owners within a building development that met certain statutory criterion to force a minority of dissents to sell the development as a whole. Both territories did so because, as land scarce cities, it was considered that the redevelopment of aging buildings was an urgent imperative. In so doing, although they claimed to be following other jurisdictions, both Hong Kong and Singapore broke new ground in pioneering the private takings of land among common law jurisdictions. These developments have proven controversial in both territories although the controversies have differed because of differences in implementation and historical background in both cities, despite their sharing a past as British colonies in Asia. This paper compares the two regimes against each other as well as against the more mature regime permitting private takings of shares in mergers and acquisitions law to highlight the lessons to be learnt in order to prevent abuse.

A copy of the authors’ paper (on which this seminar is based) is available at SSRN:

About the Speakers:

Kelvin F.K. Low read law at the National University of Singapore and Oxford University and started his academic career at the National University of Singapore. Prior to rejoining his alma mater, he taught at the University of Hong Kong, Singapore Management University, and City University of Hong Kong. Kelvin’s research interest spans the field of private law but with a particular interest in property, broadly defined. He has published internationally with leading journals such as the Law Quarterly Review, the Modern Law Review, the International & Comparative Law Quarterly, the American Journal of Comparative Law, Melbourne University Law Review, Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly and Legal Studies. He is a co-author of the 2nd and 3rd editions of The Law of Personal Property, the leading personal property text in the Commonwealth and co-author of the 3rd and 4th editions of Tan Sook Yee’s Principles of Singapore Land Law, the leading Singapore land law text. His works have been cited by the courts in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore as well as law commissions and law reform bodies in Australia, England and Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, and Singapore. His article on legal taxonomy is a prescribed reading in the Legal Research Method Seminar for Oxford’s DPhil. He has previously held editorial positions with the Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, the Singapore Year Book of International Law, Hong Kong Law Journal, and Property Law Review and is presently a Co-Editor of Trust Law International and is the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Asia Pacific Law Review. He has served as a referee for leading journals across the Commonwealth, including the Law Quarterly Review, the Modern Law Review, the American Journal of Comparative Law, Cambridge Law Journal, Legal Studies, Journal of Equity, Melbourne University Law Review, Sydney Law Review, Law, Innovation and Technology, and the Hong Kong Law Journal, as well as for the Leverhulme Trust. In 2019, he was inducted as an Academician into the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law and he presently serves in its Asia Pacific Regional Membership Committee. He has served in various key administrative roles since 2005, including Acting Director of Student Exchange and Director of Mixed Degrees at the University of Hong Kong, Associate Dean (External Relations) at Singapore Management University, and LLB Programme Director at City University of Hong Kong. He also served as the External Member for the University of Hong Kong’s Juris Doctor Programme Review Panel in 2018.

Wai Yee WAN is Associate Dean (Research and Internationalisation) and Professor at CityU School of Law. Prior to joining CityU in 2020, she was at Singapore Management University, where she last held the positions of Dean of Post-graduate Research Programmes and Professor. Her main areas of research are in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, securities regulation, financial consumer regulation and restructuring and insolvency.

Her publications have appeared (or are forthcoming) in books and in international journals, including American Journal of Comparative Law, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, European Business Organisations Law Review, Journal of Corporate Law Studies and Lloyds’ Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly. In 2021, at CityU, she has successfully obtained the Collaborative Research Fund award of HKD3.11 million for the project “Hong Kong Insolvency and Restructuring Law and Policy in Times of COVID-19 and Beyond” (as Project Coordinator). While at SMU, she has received external research grants and research awards and fellowships, including the Ministry of Education Tier 2 research grant, the Singapore Judicial College grant, Lee Kuan Yew Fellowship for Research Excellence (the highest honour given for research excellence in SMU) and the Lee Kong Chian Fellowship. She is on the editorial boards of International Insolvency Review, Australian Journal of Corporate Law and Company Lawyer.

Alwin Chan is Principal Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong. His main areas of interest are in land law, property rights, building management and personal injuries. Alwin is also a practisng barrister in Hong Kong (since 2005). 

In 2020 he was a legal consultant for the Task Force for the Study on Tenancy Controls of Subdivided Units in Hong Kong. Much of the recommendations in the Final Report of the Task Force were adopted in the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) (Amendment) Bill 2021. Alwin is a co-principal investigator in the Collaborative Research Fund Grant 2020/21 “Hong Kong Insolvency and Restructuring Law and Policy in Times of COVID-19 and Beyond” (HK$3.11m). He is also a co-author of the seminal volume on Conveyancing for the Halsbury Laws of Hong Kong.

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


16 Feb 2022


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm