Editor's Note: March 2017

The joint enterprise doctrine was established by the Privy Council in 1985 in the Hong Kong case of Chan Wing Siu [1985] 1 AC 168. In that case, Mr. Chan was part of a gang who went into a house to commit robbery. During the robbery, his fellow gang member stabbed the victim to death. While it was clear that Mr. Chan did not kill the victim himself, the Privy Council upheld his conviction for murder, holding that for an accomplice to be guilty of murder, the prosecution need only establish that he could foresee what resulted as a possible consequence of the common design being carried out.

While this has been the common law position in both Hong Kong and England & Wales for over three decades, the UK Supreme Court recently abolished the doctrine in Jogee ([2016] UKSC 8), holding Chan Wing Siu took a wrong turning and that the introduction of the doctrine was based on an incomplete and erroneous reading of the case law, coupled with generalised and questionable policy arguments. When invited to follow the UKSC’s Jogee decision in Chan Kam Shing, FACC 5/2016, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal declined, holding Chan Wing Siu had not taken any “wrong turning”. To understand the CFA’s holding in Chan Kam Shing, take a look at the Criminal Law feature.

Elsewhere in the March issue, the Family Law piece examines the recent YBL v LWC, CACV 244/2015 decision, in which the Court of Appeal comprehensively reviewed the judgment summons procedure under r. 87 of the Matrimonial Causes Rules (Cap. 179A), holding that certain features of the procedure were incompatible with the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (Cap. 383); this article concludes by highlighting a number of important changes to the judgment summons procedure that will flow from this decision. Also included is the On China feature, which provides an overview of existing regulatory structures in the EU and US that may be implicated by Chinese outbound investment. The authors of this piece offer useful tips on how to minimise deal-related regulatory risks, which seem particularly relevant given the growing demand of Chinese outbound investment in the EU in recent years.

Also, for readers leading small to medium-sized firms, the Practice Management section, which is the first installment of a two-part series, may be a piece worth reading. This installment highlights a series of strategic and operational considerations for small and medium-sized firm leaders and how these are changing with intensifying competition in Hong Kong. The second installment will explore what law firm leaders need to do, including moving from cash flow management to revenue generation as an outgrowth of this and a structural shift in organisational mindset.

Editor, Hong Kong Lawyer
Legal Media Group
Thomson Reuters