The University of Law (ULaw) is to open a campus in Hong Kong next year – its first away from UK shores. ULaw said it ‘has ambitious goals’ of raising the bar in Hong Kong’s provision of quality education, and ultimately creating new opportunities for the city’s aspiring legal professionals. The campus, which will initially offer postgraduate courses, is expected to start taking in students from September 2019.
The decision comes as proposed overhauls to the way solicitors qualify in England & Wales in the form of the centralised Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) begin to take shape. A spokesperson for ULaw said it could not comment on specific courses yet – including whether any will provide specific training for students to prepare for the SQE should they wish to qualify in England & Wales.
At the moment 80 foreign law firms and 1,500 registered foreign lawyers practise in Hong Kong. In total, there are around 900 firms operating in the city.
The territory, officially a special administrative region within the People’s Republic of China, has been in the news after a proposal by the local Law Society to restrict the number of foreign-qualified lawyers that law firms can hire was met with concern. A consortium of 15 international firms is opposed to the plans. A consultation into the proposals closes at the end of December.
Professor Andrea Nollent, vice chancellor and CEO at ULaw, said: ‘We recognise Hong Kong’s position as an international legal and dispute resolution service hub, and it is therefore a significant market for ULaw. Through a multi-million pound investment, we are ultimately looking to establish a long-term presence and operations in the region that will provide the same excellence in teaching and professional services to companies.’