UCL Faculty of Laws


Johannes Chan

Honorary Professor


Professor Johannes Chan was Chair of Public Law and former Dean of the Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong (2002-2014). He specializes in human rights, constitutional and administrative law, and is the author/editor of 25 books, over 140 book chapters/academic articles and many conference and public lectures in these fields. In 2019, he received the Hong Kong Research Grants Council’s Prestigious Fellowship in Humanities and Social Sciences, which is awarded to outstanding scholars for sustained research achievements and contribution to the field. He retired from the University of Hong Kong in July 2021 and remains as an Adjunct Professor.  He held a number of visiting appointments, including UCL, Cambridge, UPenn, UNSW and Zurich, and is currently an Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Law of University College London.  In 2023, the Hong Kong Law Journal published a Festschrift in his honour: (2013) 53(1) Hong Kong Law Journal 109-233.  

He was called to the Bar in 1982 and was appointed the first (and so far the only) Honorary Senior Counsel in Hong Kong in 2003.  He has appeared as leading counsel in many constitutional law cases.  He has wide experience in public administration, having served on many public bodies and NGOs over the years (including the Central Policy Unit of the HK Government advising the Governor and the Chief Secretary, the Broadcasting Authority, The Council of the Hong Kong Bar Association, Law Reform Sub-committee on Privacy, Hong Kong Consumer Council, Council of the Hong Kong Red Cross). 

Research: Professor Chan works in the field of human rights, constitutional and administrative law. In recent years he has focused on the impact of the National Security Law on Hong Kong.  He is currently working on a book on Human Rights, Judicial Independence and the Rule of Law: An Unfinished Experiment.

Teaching: He teaches online the course of Human Rights in Hong Kong at both LLB and LLM at the University of Hong Kong after his retirement from HKU in 2021.  

Selected publications 


Johannes Chan and C L Lim (eds), Law of the Hong Kong Constitution (with C L Lim, 3rd ed, 2021), 1107 pp 

Johannes Chan, Righteousness – The Rule of Law (正道-法治) (2020, in Chinese), 399 pp; 

Johannes Chan, Righteousness – the Academia (正道-大學)((2019) (in Chinese), 315 pp; (received the 13th Hong Kong Book Prize 2020); 

Johannes Chan, Paths of Justice (Hong Kong University Press, 2018), 248 pp

Selected Book Chapters/Journal Articles

Johannes Chan, “Responsive Judicial Review without Democracy: The Hong Kong Experience” (2023) 53(2) Hong Kong Law Journal 507-538

Johannes Chan, “Seditious Publication: The Village of the Sheep Case (2023) 53(1) Hong Kong Law Journal 65-84

Johannes Chan, “Hong Kong’s National Security Law Turns Three” (2023) US-Asia Law Institute, vol 3, no 25, June 21, 2023 (https://usali.org/usali-perspectives-blog/hong-kongs-national-security-law-turns-three)

Johannes Chan, “Taking Rights Seriously: The Judiciary at a Challenging Time” (2022) 52(3) Hong Kong Law Journal 937-963

Johannes Chan, “National Security Law in Hong Kong: One Year On”, (2022) 30 Academia Sinica Law Journal 1-67

Johannes Chan, “A Reputation Tarnished: Reflections on the Resignation of Overseas Judges from Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal”, (2022) US-Asia Law Institute, vol 2, no 23, May 25, 2022 https://usali.org/usali-perspectives-blog/a-reputation-tarnished-reflections-on-the-resignation-of-overseas-judges-from-hong-kongs-court-of-final-appeal

Johannes Chan, “From Eliminating Discrimination on the Ground of Sexual Orientation to Same-Sex Marriage: The Hong Kong Experience” (2021) 27 Australian Human Rights Journal 442-466

Johannes Chan, “National Security and Judicial Independence: A Clash of Fundamental Values”, in Fu Hualing and Michael Hor (eds), National Security in Hong Kong (Hong Kong University Press, 2022), 119-148

Johannes Chan, “Judicial Responses to the National Security Law: HKSAR v Lai Chee Ying” (2021) 51(1) Hong Kong Law Journal 1-13

Johannes Chan, “Reconciliation of the NPCSC Interpretation of the Basic Law with the Common Law in Hong Kong” (2020) 50(2) Hong Kong Law Journal 657-684

Johannes Chan, “A Strained Interpretation of Article 22 of the Basic Law” (2020) 50(1) Hong Kong Law Journal 7-18

Johannes Chan, “The Power of the Chief Executive to Grant Amnesty” (2019) 48(3) Hong Kong Law Journal 865-882

Johannes Chan, “Ten Days that Shocked the World: The Rendition Proposal in Hong Kong” (2019) 49(2) Hong Kong Law Journal 431-445

Johannes Chan, “Maintaining Institutional Strength: The Court, the Act of State, and the Rule of Law”, in Fiona de Londras and Cora Chan (eds), China’s National Security and Hong Kong’s Rule of Law (Cambridge: Hart Publishing, 2019), pp 251-274

Johannes Chan, “A Shrinking Space: A Dynamic Relationship between the Judiciary in a Liberal Society of Hong Kong and a Socialist-Leninist Sovereign State” (2019) 70 Current Legal Problems  85-122

Johannes Chan, “Proportionality after Hysan: Fair Balance, Manifestly without Reasonable Foundation, and Wednesbury Unreasonableness” (2019) 49 Hong Kong Law Journal 265-294

Johannes Chan, “A Storm of Unprecedented Ferocity: Shrinking Space for Political Rights, Public Demonstrations and Judicial Independence in Hong Kong” (2018) 16(2) International Journal of Comparative Constitutional Law 373-388

Johannes Chan and Vivian Wong, “The Politics of the Ombudsman: The Hong Kong Experience”, in Marc Hertogh and Richard Kirkham (eds), Research Handbook on the Ombudsman (Edward Edgar, 2018), pp 91-112

Johannes Chan, “Application of Article 6 of the ECHR to administrative decisions: The Experience of a Common Law Jurisdiction”, in Rolf Weber, Markus Notter and Andreas Heinemann (eds), Europäische Idee und Integration – mittendrin und nicht dabei (European Ideas and Integration – in the middle and not involved?) Liber Amicorum in Honour of Professor Andreas Kellerhals (Basel: Schulthess, 2018), pp 37-49

Johannes Chan, “Vindicatory Damages for Violation of Constitutional Rights: A Comparative Approach”, in Mark Elliott, Jason Varuhas and Shona Wilson Stark (eds), The Unity of Public Law? (Hart Publishing, 2018), pp 327-350

Johannes Chan, “Behind the Text of the Basic Law: Some Constitutional Fundamentals” in Rosalind Dixon and Adrienne Stone (eds), The Invisible Constitution in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp 193-229

Johannes Chan and Douglas Kerr, “Academic Freedom, Political Interference and Public Accountability” (2016) 7 Journal of Academic Freedom 1-21

Johannes Chan, “Hong Kong Constitutional Journey 1997-2011”, in Albert Chen et al (eds), Comparative Asian Constitution (Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp 169-193

Johannes Chan, “Administrative Law”, in S Young and Y Ghai (eds), Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal: Justice and Development of the Law in China’s Hong Kong (Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp 417-446

Johannes Chan, “The Hong Kong Umbrella Movement”, (2014) 103(6) The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs 571-580 (Oxford: Routledge, 2014)  

Johannes Chan, “Constitutional Protection of the Right to be Presumed Innocent and the Right against self-incrimination: The Hong Kong Experience’, (2013) Singapore Academy of Law Journal (Special Issue, Dec 2013) 679-713