Choh-Ming Li Professor of Law





(852) 3943 5557

(852) 2994 2505

Room 648
Faculty of Law
6/F, Lee Shau Kee Building
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Sha Tin, NT, Hong Kong SAR

Chin Leng Lim is the Choh-Ming Li Professor of Law and practises with a London commercial set. He has lectured at the Hague Academy of International Law and is an associé of the Institut de droit international. He is a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, Honorary Senior Fellow of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, and an editorial board member of the International and Comparative Law Quarterly. His latest book is Treaty for a Lost City (Cambridge in 2022) and he is now completing “The Methods and Aims of Post-Colonial International Law” which was delivered as lectures at the Hague in 2023. Professor Lim joined the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2017 following a decade as Professor of Law at Hong Kong University where he served as a member of HKU’s Senate and Court and in various other capacities in both the central administration and faculty administration.

Books include:

  • Treaty for a Lost City (Cambridge, 2022);
  • The Cambridge Companion to International Arbitration, with a Foreword by Lord Neuberger (Cambridge, 2021), ed.;
  • Lim, Ho & Paparinskis on International Investment Law and Arbitration, with a Foreword by Emmanuel Gaillard, 2d. ed. (Cambridge, 2021), 1st..ed. (Cambridge, 2018);
  • Alternative Visions of the International Law on Foreign Investment (Cambridge, 2016), ed.;
  • International Economic Law after the Global Crisis, with Mercurio eds. (Cambridge, 2015);
  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (Cambridge, 2012) with Elms and Low eds.; and the early work, written while a degree candidate,
  • The Paradox of Consensualism in International Law, with a Foreword by Martti Koskenniemi (Kluwer, 1998), with Elias.

The following is a selection only of contemporary published papers, some as book chapters:

  • “Neutral Rights and Collective Countermeasures for Erga Omnes Violations”, (2023) 72 ICLQ 361 (with Mitchell);
  • “Developments in International Investment Law and Policy in Asia”, 2019 Yearbook of International Investment Law and Policy (Oxford, 2021), 323
  •  “Taming Leviathan as Merchant”, (2020) 19 World Trade Review 402, with Matsushita
  • “Reaching for Utopia, Geneva as Inspiration for Investment Disputes?”, in Lewis et al (eds.), A Post-WTO International Legal Order: Utopian, Dystopian and Other Scenarios (Cham,  Switzerland: Springer, 2020), 167
  • “The Function of the Transnational Chinese Contract”, (2019) 20 Journal of World Investment & Trade 313;
  • “Finding a Workable Balance”, Benedict Kingsbury et al (eds.), Contested Megaregulation (Oxford, 2019);
  • “Fragrant Harbour and Oyster Mirror”, 2015-2016 Yearbook of International Investment Law and Policy (Oxford, 2018),  375;
  • “Worldwide Litigation over Foreign Sovereign Assets”, (2016) 10 DRI 145;
  • “The Strange Vitality of Custom in the International Protection of Property and Contracts”, Curtis Bradley (ed.), Custom’s Future (Cambridge, 2016);
  • “Injuncting Foreign Sovereigns in Aid of Arbitration”, (2014) 130 LQR 193;
  • “Foreign Sovereign Counterparties to Hong Kong Contracts”, (2014) 9 Capital Markets LJ 157;
  • A trilogy of notes culminating in “Beijing’s ‘Congo’ Interpretation, Commercial Implications”, (2012) 128 LQR 6;
  • “You Don’t Miss Your Water ’Til Your River Runs Dry”, (2012) 18 Stanford Jo L Bus & Fin 72 (with Senduk);
  • “The Conventional Morality of Trade”, in Chios Carmody et al (eds.), Global Justice and International Economic Law (Cambridge, 2012);
  • “East Asia’s Engagement with Cosmopolitan Ideals”, (2011) 56 McGill LJ 821;
  • “Withdrawing from Custom and the Paradox of Consensualism in International Law”, (2010), 21 Duke Jo Comp & Int’l L 143
  • “China and the Doha Development Agenda”, (2010) 44 Jo World Trade 1309 (with Wang); and
  • “Saving the WTO from the Risk of Irrelevance”, (2008) 11 Jo Int’l Econ L 899 (with Gao).

Scribblings on Hong Kong’s treaty and constitutional arrangements include:

  • Chan and Lim on the Law of the Hong Kong Constitution, with specialist contributors, 3d. ed. (Sweet & Maxwell, 2021), 2d. ed. (Sweet & Maxwell, 2015), 1st. ed. (Sweet & Maxwell, 2012), Forewords by The Hon. Mr. Justice Ma C.J. and The Hon. Mr. Andrew Li;
  • “Hong Kong’s New Law”, (2021) 137 LQR 11;
  • “The Hong Kong Extradition Bill”, (2020) 136 LQR 19;
  • “The Sino-British Treaty and the Hong Kong Booksellers Affair”, 132 (2016) LQR 552; and
  • “Britain’s ‘Treaty Rights’ in Hong Kong”, (2015) 131 LQR 348.

For papers made publicly available, please see:

Keynote speeches and invited lectures include those delivered at Tillar House in D.C., the Harvard International Law Journal’s Annual Symposium, the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute, the 21st Singapore Law Review Lecture and the CMS Hasche Sigle International Law Lecture. Conferences and international workshops organised include an inaugural conference held in Singapore of the Asian Society of International Law in 2007 (NUS grant supported) and a series of Hong Kong conferences:

  • “Future of the International Economic Order” in 2011 with Arner and Mercurio (HKUSRT grant supported);
  • “Present at the Beginning”, on the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty negotiations in 2011 with Elms;
  • “China’s Identity in International Law” in 2016 with Carty (Research Grants Council, GRF No. 741012, HKD 1.95 million, Principal Investigator); and
  • “International Dispute Resolution: Reflections and Redirections”, with Chiann Bao, in 2019, celebrating the launch of BIICL’s establishment of its overseas presence in Hong Kong.

His writings have been cited by appellate courts, most recently in a number of arbitration-related decisions by Singapore’s Court of Appeal, the Indian Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court of Colombia, by the bar associations in England and Hong Kong, in a Hong Kong legislative inquiry and in Canadian Royal Commission and International Law Commission reports. In recent years he has spoken at the invitation of China’s MOFCOM, the EU Office to HK, UKFCO, Australia’s DFAT, Malaysia’s Central Bank, international bodies (the WTO, UNESCAP, APEC, ADB, PECC, OMFIF), universities (Tokyo, Keio, Geneva, Peking, Tsinghua, Melbourne, Duke, Harvard, Penn, NYU and Tufts among them) and to professional legal audiences at events organised by ASIL, the NY State Bar Association, IBA, KLRCA, HKIAC, CIETAC, HKIArb, GAR and AsiaLaw. He is reported in the Economist, Vox, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and the Guardian in the UK, by Forbes, CNN, Reuters, what then was the International Herald Tribune and by the Hong Kong, Beijing and regional press and media.

Lim served on a trade and industry department committee which advises the Hong Kong SAR’s Commerce Secretary for three terms and also on a government expert group on legal services. Before coming to Hong Kong, he taught at the National University of Singapore to which he returned in 2015 as the inaugural Lionel A. Sheridan Visiting Professor. He had taught, previously, in England and Wales before a hiatus from academic life – then at Queen Mary & Westfield College, London – followed during which he worked at Geneva UN Headquarters (UNCC/Security Council ad hoc committee no. 26), and later as government international law counsel for the Republic of Singapore.

Called to the Middle Temple and to the Singapore Bar he holds bachelor’s degrees from Buckingham and Oxford (Univ. Coll.), a master’s degree from the Harvard Law School as Kathryn Aguirre Worth Memorial Scholar, and a doctorate from Nottingham where he had first taught as a part-time tutor while holding the Law Studentship under the supervision of Professor D.J. Harris C.M.G. and the late Rev. Professor Hilaire McCoubrey.


  • Transnational Legal Problems (Graduates Only – JD/LLM)
  • Law & Practice of Investment Arbitration (Graduates Only – JD/LLM)
  • Transnational Law & Business (Undergraduates Only)


  • International and Comparative Law, especially international commercial and investment arbitration, the commercial conflict of laws and international economic treaties
  • Hong Kong’s treaty and constitutional arrangements