Chinese Customary Law in Hong Kong

Chinese Customary Land Law

Friday, 21 November 2014
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

Moot Court, CUHK Graduate Law Centre
2/F, Bank of America Tower
Central, Hong Kong

Conducted in English


Doctor Patrick H. Hase

Professor Steven Gallagher

Associate Professor of Practice in Law, Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Mrs Judith Sihombing

Faculty of Law, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

In 1898 the British leased the New Territories from Beijing as a buffer zone against unrest on the mainland and an expansion zone for overcrowded Kowloon. When the British moved into the New Territories a year later, Governor Blake issued a proclamation assuring the residents, “as subjects of Her Majesty’s Empire, your commercial and landed Interests will be safeguarded, and that your usage and good customs will not in any way be interfered with.”

Today Hong Kong is the only jurisdiction in the world which accepts and enforces some Chinese customs and customary law to land and this only in the New Territories. This seminar considered the problems encountered in the original application of Chinese custom and customary law to land in the New Territories and its continued application today.

Patrick H. Hase (PhD, Cambridge, FSA, Hon.FRASHK) has studied the history and traditional life of the New Territories and its people for much of the 36 years he has lived in Hong Kong. His local historical research has led to his appointment as an Honorary Advisor to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Hong Kong, to the Zhong-ying Street Historical Museum, Shataukok, and to the People’s Government of Kaiping Municipality. He is the author of numerous articles and books on local New Territories history including The Six-Day War of 1899: Hong Kong in the Age of Imperialism and Custom, Land, and Livelihood in Rural South China: The Traditional Land Law of Hong Kong’s New Territories, 1750—1950.

Steven Gallagher is a Professional Consultant and Associate Professor in Practice of Law at the Faculty of Law at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he teaches equity and the law of trusts to undergraduates and postgraduates, and cultural heritage law at postgraduate level. Steven publishes texts on equity and the law of trusts in Hong Kong and the UK. His research interests include the origins of the common law of trusts, special trusts, cultural heritage law and the law and the dead.

Judith Sihombing (LL.B Melb. and LL.M Malaya) is Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and of the High Court of Australia. After long years of teaching at University of Hong Kong (HKU) and University of Malaya, she now teaches part-time in the Faculties of Law at CUHK and HKU. Prior to teaching, she spent a short time in practice in Melbourne; and in Malaya she was a consultant to the Legal Aid Bureau in its early days. Her main areas of publications are property, commercial, corporate and financial laws, with an interest in customary laws from Sumatera, Malaysia and the Hong Kong New Territories.

The Hong Kong Law Society has awarded this seminar 1.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.

Other Greater China Legal History Seminar Series