University of Louisville Law Faculty Blog

Legal Structures in Hong Kong


I am staying in Hong Kong for a few days before traveling to Kunming, China for my Fulbright in-country orientation. While touring the city, I came upon several legal structures from the period when Britain controlled Hong Kong. I have posted three of them here. First is Government House, residence of the British Governor until the hand over of Hong Kong to China in 1997. It is now the residence of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Second is the former Central Police Station, located interestingly on Hollywood Road. Finally is the Magistracy, which formerly housed the Magistrates Court. These last two structures were part of a compound that also included Victoria Prison and were linked by underground tunnels. I read online that you could be arrested, tried, and serve time, all without seeing the light of day!

Seeing these buildings made me think about the current structure of the Hong Kong legal system. Despite being a part of China, Hong Kong is actually designated a Special Administrative Region, which under the 1984 treaty signed by Britain and China created the "one country, two systems" principle. This treaty created the Basic Law, which for Hong Kong operates as form of constitution. The Basic Law maintains the legal system created under British rule, including the existing court-made common law and rules of equity, and the right to self governance except on matters of foreign affairs and defense. One interesting consequence of the one country, two systems principle is that I have not formally entered China yet. When I leave Hong Kong to travel to Kunming, I will be entering the People's Republic of China for the first time.

On my way to China...


We're on our way! I am sitting in Chicago O'Hare airport waiting for the 12:32 flight to Hong Kong. 

As I mentioned, I have set up a Twitter account that is linked to this blog. The Twitter Account is LarsSSmith. Boring, I know, but accurate. Anyway, when I post on here, apparently the internet tubes will be linked between this blog site and my Twitter account. At least that is what our Cybrarian Virginia Mattingly Smith says!

 One thing I hope will happen is that I can start a dialogue between my US students and my Chinese students. Please email me with your questions. I start teaching on February 22, and I would be glad to ask my new students any questions that you may have. And even though the class is on US intellectual property law, I would imagine there is an opportunity to broaden the discussion. 

 EDIT: oh, and I have no idea what the netiquette is for posting on Twitter, so any advice will be much appreciated.

Boehl Lecture Series at U of L featured in Land Use Blog


I posted the following on the Boehl Distinguished Lecture Series in Land Use Policy at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law on the Land Use Professors blog, as an example of the value of having a land-use lecture series.

Good or Bad Omen?


Over the last couple of weeks, my family and I have been working hard to get ready for our Fulbright trip to Wuhan, China. On Saturday,  we had some Chinese food and got the following fortune in a fortune cookie:

I'm still trying to determine whether being "unusual successful" is a good or a bad thing. I guess it's better than boring successful, although that's been my goal until now.


In the next day or two, I will post some more information about my trip. I plan to blog regularly, for those of you who are interested.  

Judith Wegner and Annexation


My first posting on the Land Use Professors' blog is on Judith Welch Wegner's Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law this past Thursday, January 27.  Professor Wegner spoke on annexation and land use dilemmas.  My post about her lecture is here:

Joining the Land Use Prof Blog


I have been asked to join the Land Use Professors' Blog as a contributing editor.  I read this excellent blog every day, and I am really honored to be asked to participate.  I will post periodically on various land use issues, and while the blog is aimed primarily at land use scholars, it is of interest to anyone who cares about land use issues.  The Law School's IT staff are working on a way that my Land Use Prof blog postings can feed directly into this blog.  But until we work that out, I will post links to my postings.  The introduction is here:

Hot Coffee,Tort Reform & Greater Tax Burdens

A new documentary, Hot Coffee, explores the infamous 1992 case brought against McDonald's after hot coffee spilled on a customer's lap. On Janaury 25, 2011, Democracy Now! spent the hour with various guests discussing the case, the documentary and how the incident has been used by corporations and the Chamber of Commerce to advocate for tort reform, with one result being that hard caps on medical malpractice damages shift the burden to taxpayers. 

Should the U.S. Prosecute Julian Assange?

Marvin Ammori concludes that the U.S. should not prosecute Assange for publishing diplomatic cables - "not for the benefit of Assange, but for the benefit of Americans and of the United States." Read Ammori's thoughtful analysis here.

Arbitration and New Technologies

I had the pleasure of presenting on Arbitration and New Technologies at the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service Bi-Annual Midwest Arbitrators' Symposium at Chicago-Kent College of Law (Institute for Law and the Workplace) on Friday, November 19, 2010.  This presentation updates my previous work in the area.  Attached are my notes and slides, which include citations to recent decisions.  A copy of the article referenced in the slides is available to download here.

Congratulations to the Arbitration Team

The arbitration team competed at the ABA Arbitration Competition Regional at NKU last weekend.  They won the first round (but lost the second to a very high ranking team that came in second overall after the first two rounds).  The team received compliments from many judges on their professionalism.  The judges complimented Brandon Edwards for a well organized opening and direct examination and good leading questions on cross examination, as well as an overall excellent presentation.  They complimented Megan Keane for her very smooth direct examination, her good leading cross examination, her use of a document, and a great job overall.  The judges complimented Samantha Thomas for use of a good timeline on opening statement, her submission of relevant reliable evidence on direct examination, her strategic use of respondent's own exhibits on cross-examination, and her overall very good presentation.  The judges complimented Aaron Price for his use of a good timeline on direct examination, his effective discrediting of the witness on cross examination, his persuasive presentation and use of a demonstrative exhibit on summation, and his overall very good presentation.