UCL News


Lord Woolf in Hong Kong

15 May 2006

150 UCL alumni living in Hong Kong gathered to hear Lord Woolf (Laws 1954) give a lecture on the rule of law in April 2006.

The lecture was part of a wider event hosted by UCL's President and Provost, Professor Malcolm Grant.

Lord Woolf, the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and a member of the Hong Kong Final Court of Appeal talked at length on 'Why the Rule of Law is so important to Hong Kong'.

In his address he praised the Hong Kong and Chinese mainland for making provision for overseas judges to sit in their Hong Kong courts: "I believe Hong Kong is one of the few jurisdictions where the citizens who the judiciary serve can say with confidence that not only are their judges of intellectual ability, most importantly of all they are free from corruption which is the cancer which can eat at the Rule of Law and destroy the relationship which should exist between the public and the judiciary. Hong Kong is indeed fortunate that that should happen and its fortunate that they had the self confidence to not object to the fact that their judges included people from overseas."

Lord Woolf went on to draw similarities between UCL's and Hong Kong's positions on the global stage: "Hong Kong like UCL in my mind is a global player.  Playing in the world at large where people are happy to come to, in my case to come as a judge and sit as a judge, in many others as to come to do business of all sorts where developments take place and it seems to me if I say so that there is a natural link between what I have been saying and what I believe to be the vision which the President has for UCL.  He sees UCL serving the globe, serving students from Hong Kong and I'm very glad that students still come from Hong Kong although I recognise the financial difficulties involved in doing so."

The lecture ended with a Lord Woolf answering a series of questions from the floor which ranged from the philosophical: "What role do you feel, if any, religion should play in the formation of law?" to the humorous: "Do you have any particularly boisterous stories from your UCL Union days?"

To view images from the event, the use the link at the top of this article.