The Faculty of Law of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (“CUHK”) was honoured to welcome The Rt Hon. Dame Elish Angiolini, DBE QC, Principal of St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, to present a distinguished public lecture on “Justice and the Misunderstood”, under the Mok Hing Yiu Visiting Professorship Scheme supported by Mok Hing Yiu Charitable Foundation. The public lecture was held on 29September 2016 at the Lee Shau Kee Building of CUHK.
Coinciding with the Faculty’s 10th Anniversary celebrations, this high-profile lecture attracted a capacity audience with an attendance of over 200. Judges from Hong Kong Judiciary, representatives of Mok Hing Yiu Charitable Foundation, guests of St Hugh’s College, distinguished guests of legal community, alumni, staff, students and the general public, attended the event.
In her lecture, Dame Elish, drawing on her extensive experience as a front line prosecutor, and later as Lord Advocate and head of the public prosecution service in Scotland, explored the extent to which knowledge – or the lack of knowledge – of human behaviour influences the responses of systems of justice. The failure to appreciate and understand the way in which individuals affected by conditions such as epilepsy, autism or extreme stress can lead to assumptions about what is and is not expected behavior. Thus assumptions about how the victim of an assault – and especially a sexual assault – “should” respond when faced with aggression may lead police, prosecutors and, of especial importance, juries to reach incorrect conclusions about the attitude of the victim as to what has transpired. So, if a victim does not “resist” or show great distress, the assumption may be that claims that what happened was non-consensual are false. An improved understanding of human psychology which, as Dame Elish pointed out, is not a required part of legal education in the United Kingdom or Hong Kong, is necessary to ensure that such assumptions are effectively challenged, and justice is properly delivered.
The Mok Hing Yiu Visiting Professorship Scheme was established by CUHK in memory of the late Dr. Mok Hing Yiu with a generous donation from the Mok family. The aim of the scheme is to advance teaching, research and academic development of CUHK. Under the scheme, one widely acclaimed scholar will be invited to Hong Kong on an annual basis, and will participate in teaching and scholastic exchange and will deliver a professorial lecture in a public forum to inspire staff and students of CUHK, alumni, professional groups and the general public. Previous Mok Hing Yiu Visiting Professors include Professor Dame Jessica Rawson, Professor of Chinese Art and Archaeology of University of Oxford, Professor Sir John Bell, FRS, Regius Professor of Medicine of University of Oxford, and Professor David Wang Der-wei, Edward C. Henderson Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature of Harvard University.
The Rt Hon. Dame Elish Angiolini, DBE QC, delivers a public lecture on “Justice and the Misunderstood”, under the Mok Hing Yiu Visiting Professorship Scheme supported by Mok Hing Yiu Charitable Foundation.
(From left to right): Mr. Edwin Mok, Mr. Christopher Mok, representatives of Mok Hing Yiu Charitable Foundation, Dame Elish Angiolini, DBE QC, Principal of St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford, Prof. Christopher Gane, Dean of Faculty of Law, CUHK, Prof. Michael Hui and Prof. Fanny Cheung, Pro-Vice-Chancellors, CUHK.
The public lecture attracts over 200 people to attend, including guests from Judiciary, St Hugh’s College, legal community, alumni, staff, students and the general public.
About the speaker: Dame Elish Angiolini joined the Procurator Fiscal Service and served as a Procurator-Depute in Airdrie (1984–92). She was seconded to the Crown Office in Edinburgh before being appointed Senior Depute Procurator Fiscal, then Assistant Procurator Fiscal at Glasgow (1995–97). She returned to the Crown Office as Head of Policy. She then served as Regional Procurator Fiscal for Grampian, the Highland and Islands, based in Aberdeen (2000–01).
Appointed the first female Solicitor General for Scotland in 2001, she was also the first Procurator Fiscal and the first solicitor (as against advocate) to hold the post. In 2006, she was appointed Lord Advocate, the head of Scotland’s prosecution service, the first woman in the 500-year history of that post. She served in this role until 2011.
Dame Elish became Principal of St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford in 2012. She was listed as one of Scotland’s most powerful women in 2004 and made a DBE in 2011.
Dame Elish was appointed Honorary Professor in CUHK Faculty of Law in 2015 and was invited as the Mok Hing Yiu Visiting Professor in September 2016.