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Paths of Justice

Johannes M.M. Chan

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Publication date:
15 June 2018

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In Paths of Justice, Johannes Chan illuminates fundamental themes and basic values in Hong Kong’s legal system by using his own experience and drawing on interesting and important cases. The book explains and demystifies some of the most frequently asked questions about the law: How does a lawyer defend someone who is guilty? Does the law favour the rich and the resourceful? Is there a duty to obey the law in all circumstances? How can human rights and national security coexist in balance if their goals conflict in certain situations? How can fairness be reconciled with administrative efficacy? Is an abuse of freedom a justification for denying it? He also casts light on legal profession and professionalism, arguing that the legal profession is honourable only because lawyers, by and large, do live up to a high ethical standard and are committed to the values of justice and fairness.

These cases cover a wide range of legal discussion and span several decades of Chan’s professional practice, from when he was a young barrister to his years as Honorary Senior Counsel. Through the description of these real-life court cases, he gives readers not only a better understanding of how Hong Kong’s legal system works in practice, but also the essential tools to think deeply about legal institutions, the legal profession, the role of justice in a modern society, and the importance of the rule of law.


Johannes M. M. Chan SC (Hon) is a professor of law and former dean (2002–2014) of the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong. He specializes in the areas of constitutional law, administrative law, and human rights, and has published widely in these fields. In 2003, he was appointed Honorary Senior Counsel in Hong Kong.



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