The COVID-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges to businesses and people around the world. In this challenging time, the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong has prepared a webinar series exploring the legal challenges arising from the pandemic. The webinars were broadcast in the past month and featured faculty members and guest speakers discussing the most pressing legal topics arising from the pandemic. Over 1600 people registered for this webinar series.
Digital Finance & Crisis (April 15, 2020)
Douglas W. Arner
Kerry Holdings Professor in Law
The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis is putting unprecedented strain on markets, governments, businesses and individuals. The human, economic and financial costs are increasing dramatically, with potentially huge impact on developing countries and emerging market countries in addition to developed countries and regions. Across all of these, the greatest toll is likely to fall on those least able to bear it, with terrible damage to human development across the world. This talk examines how the digital financial infrastructure that emerged in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis is being, and can be, leveraged to overcome the immediate challenges presented by the pandemic and manage the impending economic fallout. The origins of the 2008 crisis and current crisis are different: 2008 was a financial crisis spilling over into the real economy. 2020 is a health and geopolitical crisis, spilling over simultaneously into financial markets and the real economy. As such, this crisis requires different approaches.
State and Professional Autonomy: Conflicting Rights and Obligations in the State-Profession Relationship (April 30, 2020)
Associate Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong
Deputy Director of the Centre for Medical Ethics & Law and Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong
This talk considers the ethical and legal relationship between healthcare professions and the state in the context of the Hong Kong response to COVID-19. In particular, it queries the extent that nurses and doctors, as members of state-sanctioned professions, are able (and perhaps even under obligation) to challenge the decisions of the state on the control and treatment of the infectious disease. In this respect, the paper seeks to broaden the discussions in the ethical and legal literature on the state-professional relationship in healthcare, which has primarily focused on appropriate health workforce regulation for the purposes of ensuring patient safety and quality of care. Although nurses and doctors are neither trained nor equipped to mobilise an all-of-society response that is needed for a pandemic, it is envisaged that they could have a greater role in addressing collection action problems that relate to public health and in the shaping of a response to the next pandemic.
COVID-19 – A Trigger for Mindset, Policy and Infrastructure Changes Regarding Ai, Lawtech and Regtech (May 6, 2020)
Founding Executive Director, LITE Lab@HKU
The presentation identifies certain phenomena arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic such as: the increasing dependence on digital platforms and (non-human) automation; the tracking of movement and identity; the importance of quality data and analysis for modelling predictive outcomes; and the recognition of the need to provide basic income to persons displaced by disruption to explore how these can impact the development of AI, lawtech and regtech in the foreseeable future, taking into account important values such as the digital divide, access to justice and personal privacy.
Assessing the Risks and Uncertainties with the Covid-19 Litigations Against China (May 15, 2020)
Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
Director of the Center for Chinese Law and Associate Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, a spate of complaints have been filed against China in US courts seeking to hold China accountable for the enormous damages caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Parallel to these litigations, Republican lawmakers are drafting bills to enable plaintiffs to move forward with these lawsuits. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is contemplating various sanctions against China. What are the potential legal hurdles for plaintiffs as they proceed with the litigations? What are the risks and uncertainties of the legislative proposal to enable suits against China? What are the potential legal and political ramifications of these cases? What legal issues do possible US measures against China raise?