OPEN ACCESS PUBLICATIONS
Below are a select number of my publications available for open access download. A full list of publications is available on my faculty website. Pre-print downloads are available on my SSRN and academia.edu pages. My Google Scholar page also contains a partial list of citations to my publications.
THE CRIMINAL LAW SYLLABUS AND THE REALITIES OF LEGAL PRACTICE IN HONG KONG
Legal Education Review, Vol 30(1), May 2021
Criminal law syllabi throughout the common law world, including in Hong Kong, primarily focus on homicide, other violent offences, sexual offences, and property offences – offences typically categorised as mala in se (evil in and of themselves). They do this largely for traditional reasons – because these are the crimes which the syllabus has always focused on. Yet this is not what criminal law practice really looks like, whether in the courtroom or in advising clients. This research study utilises data on crime prevalence in Hong Kong as well as a self-reporting survey of criminal law practitioners in an effort to more closely align the LLB/JD criminal law teaching syllabus with the present and future realities of legal practice in Hong Kong, at least in terms of the specific offences covered. The empirical findings suggest that legal educators in Hong Kong ought to consider adding drugs, driving, regulatory and ‘white collar’ offences to the criminal law syllabus, while removing homicide and sexual offences entirely. These new inclusions serve as sufficiently nuanced illustrations of the general principles of criminal liability, help students to develop a critical perspective towards crime and criminalisation, while being frequently encountered in local criminal practice.
DEC AND THE SCHOOL OF LAW: REFRAMING THE COURSEWORK CURRICULUM
Creativity and Innovation in Higher Education (Li et al eds., CityU Press 2021) pp 54-60
City University of Hong Kong’s Discovery Enriched Curriculum (‘DEC’) is a unique pedagogical framework emphasising discovery, innovation, and creativity. With its focus on invention and experimentation, this approach lends itself naturally to the artistic and science-based disciplines, yet with an open mind, it can also be implemented within the undergraduate curriculum in law. This chapter recalls the successes and ongoing challenges in implementing the DEC framework within the existing School of Law curriculum. Already, some established law teaching practices fit the DEC model. Nevertheless, to fully implement the DEC within the Bachelor of Laws curriculum (and within School of Law’s taught postgraduate programmes), some changes to long-standing teaching practices and the list of core courses are necessary. Overall, DEC has the potential to become a model for other law schools to follow in adopting discovery-based learning methods.
THE DISTRICT COURTS: SENTENCING DECISIONS AS EVOLVING LEGAL CULTURE?
The Politics of Court Reform: Judicial Change and Legal Culture in Indonesia (Melissa Crouch ed., CUP 2019) pp 59-85
‘In any country, when the [political] system changes, the decision of the judge also changes’. Does this principle hold true without exception? As part of an edited collection aimed at evaluating and extending the work of the late Daniel S. Lev on Indonesian legal culture, in this chapter I determine the extent to which Lev’s academic legacy remains relevant in the District Courts of greater Jakarta during Indonesia’s‘Reform’ (reformasi) era from 1998 onwards.
SU’UD RUSLI’S CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CHALLENGE: OVERHAULING CLEMENCY IN INDONESIAN DEATH PENALTY CASES?
Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 19(2), June 2019
Since the formation of the modern Indonesian state in 1945, the Indonesian president has always possessed the constitutional power to grant clemency. This article provides an overview of the provisions of, and rationales for, Indonesia’s clemency regulation, including the most recent Clemency Law passed in 2002, and its amending legislation in 2010. The article then outlines the Indonesian Constitutional Court’s ruling in the Rusli decision (107/PUU-XII/2015 (15 June 2016)), which found the one-year deadline for applying for clemency set out in the 2010 amending legislation to be unconstitutional. It argues that the Rusli decision has significantly expanded the availability of clemency to death row prisoners in Indonesia. Only through deliberate waiver, rather than through artificial timelines, should prisoners now be lawfully excluded from the right to apply for mercy from the Indonesian president.
LEGAL DILEMMAS IN RELEASING INDONESIA'S POLITICAL PRISONERS
Indonesia Law Review, 2017
In May 2015, in an effort to foster peace in the restive Papua and West Papua Provinces, Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo granted clemency to five political prisoners, releasing them from sentences ranging from 20 years to life. The president also stated that there would be ‘a follow-up granting clemency or amnesty to other [political prisoners] in other regions’ (Jakarta Post, 10 May 2015). However, with up to 50 political prisoners still incarcerated in prisons around Indonesia (mostly Papuan and Moluccan separatists), Jokowi’s selective release policy faces several legal and political obstacles. This article outlines the various options open to Jokowi in facilitating future political prisoner releases (including amnesty, clemency, remissions and conditional release), the advantages and disadvantages of each, before suggesting an acceptable way forward for all parties.
IS DIYA A FORM OF CLEMENCY?
Boston International Law Journal, Spring 2016
Under Islamic Sharia Law, diya is the payment of “blood money” to compensate for death or injury caused by a serious offense against a person and to provide the perpetrator relief from retaliation in kind. The question of whether diya in a murder case constitutes a form of clemency or pardon — that is, a final non-judicial relief against a death sentence, commonly granted by the executive — is an important issue that has not been sufficiently addressed by scholars of Islamic Law or by scholars of capital punishment. In this Article, I argue that while diya may bear many conceptual similarities to clemency and pardon as understood in secular common law systems, diya should not be exclusively considered through this lens for the purposes of the interpretation of international human rights law and for the future empirical study of Islamic law. The clemency literature may begin to help secular scholars understand diya, but as I argue, the practice of diya constitutes an amalgamation of civil and criminal law — a sui generis institution of Islamic Sharia law.
WHAT THE REJECTION OF ANWAR IBRAHIM'S PETITION FOR PARDON TELLS US ABOUT MALAYSIA'S ROYAL PARDONS SYSTEM
Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal, Vol. 18(1), September 2016
In this article, I describe the way in which the Malaysian Pardons Boards operate and propose a set of plausible hypotheses explaining why the rejection of Anwar’s application for pardon, submitted on his behalf by his wife (Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) and two of his daughters (Nurul Izzah Anwar and Nurul Nuha Anwar), came as no surprise.
Despite arguments in the Malaysian media made in favor of the purported independence of the Pardons Board as a decision-making body and the pre-eminence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the final decision maker on pardon, this article argues that through its composition and procedures, the Federal Pardons Board that disposed of Anwar’s petition may be subject to significant political influence from the Barisan Nasional government in power in Malaysia.
EXPLAINING DEATH PENALTY CLEMENCY IN THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM FROM 1986 TO 2015
Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law, Vol 10, February 2016
Regarding the operational specifics of death penalty policy, David T. Johnson and Franklin E. Zimring have argued that it is extreme left or right wing authoritarian states’ aversion to a limitation of their own powers that determines high rates of executions in countries such as Vietnam, Singapore, China and North Korea as opposed to other, less-punitive Asian nations which share similar cultural and religious characteristics. For a regime like Vietnam’s, the swift carrying out of a death sentence, especially when performed in public, serves to highlight the state’s power over life and death and enhance political control over the domestic constituency. At first glance then, little scope for the exercise of the clemency power as a form of lenient reprieve from the death sentence by the executive government appears possible under a repressive regime of this nature.
However, unlike China and Singapore, a notable feature of Vietnam’s death penalty practice since the Doi Moi reforms of 1986 has been the executive’s willingness to reprieve a large minority of prisoners sentenced to death through Presidential clemency, even though executions themselves have continued. What official and unofficial justifications have been given for grants of Presidential clemency in Vietnam, and relatedly, what structural and cultural factors explain the use of clemency in a noticeable proportion of death penalty cases? These are the under-researched questions I provide plausible explanations for in this article, incorporating an empirical study of Vietnam’s death penalty clemency grants since the mid-1980s, interpreted through the lens of the relevant academic literature on clemency and pardon grants.