Young legal professionals should be equipped with international legal knowledge

To buttress Hong Kong’s position as a leading international legal and dispute resolution services centre, young legal professionals have to be equipped with international legal knowledge and have an international perspective.

Further to my discussions with the Secretary-General of the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT), Professor Ignacio Tirado, during his visit to Hong Kong for the 3rd UNCITRAL Asia Pacific Judicial Summit in November 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding with UNIDROIT was signed yesterday for seconding young legal professionals (both public and private sectors) to the Secretariat of UNIDROIT in Rome, Italy. This is yet another valuable secondment opportunity that the DoJ has secured with renowned international organizations.

UNIDROIT is an independent inter-governmental institute that works on modernizing, harmonizing and co-ordinating private and in particular commercial law between States and groups of States. It also formulates uniform law instruments, principles and rules for such purposes in areas like security interests, capital markets, commercial contracts, international sales, and civil procedure. It is noteworthy that UNIDROIT has been focusing on new and challenging legal issues like digital assets and private law.

Apart from UNIDROIT, the DoJ has reached a similar standing arrangement with the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) last December in which lawyers from both the private and public sectors who are Hong Kong permanent residents could apply for a secondment.

The DoJ has also been working closely with UNCITRAL on different aspects. Arrangements have been put in place for young legal officers to take part in the Junior Professional Officers Programme of the UNCITRAL. More recently, with the support of UNCITRAL, the DoJ has set up the Inclusive Global Legal Innovation Platform on ODR (iGLIP on ODR) to explore international developments on ODR.

I am most grateful to the Central People’s Government and UNIDROIT for their support to this arrangement. Through participating in this programme, our young lawyers will gain knowledge of the operation of international organisations, broaden their horizons through learning from international law experts from various jurisdictions and participate in the development of international law.

Successful applicants will spend six to 12 months at UNIDROIT in Rome, and for secondees from the private sector, a monthly allowance of HK$50,000 will be provided via UNIDROIT. Those who are interested in the secondment programme are encouraged to visit our dedicated webpage for further details and application. The programme is open to applications for one month from May 20 to June 19. I hope the professionals will seize the opportunity to apply for secondment. The experience and exposure will be invaluable to the individual, the chambers or the law firms, and to Hong Kong as a whole.

May 13, 2021