Higher Diploma Programmes
Higher Diploma for Legal Executives
- Year 1
Legal Executives in law firms enjoy professional status and may be given certain limited rights of audience in accordance with the Court’s Practice Direction to represent lay client. To use the title "Legal Executive (LE)," graduates of this programme must meet the new Benchmark standard of The Law Society of Hong Kong (HKLS).
Programme Aims and Features
This programme aims to assist students to develop professional skills to work in legal field and provide students with a strong academic foundation for further academic pursuit in law. It is designed to prepare students to work as Legal Executives in law firms and government. It is modelled after a popular part-time programme “Advanced Diploma in Legal Studies” as accredited by HKLS.
In accordance with the HKLS’s Benchmark, students will attend interactive sessions in medium class size groups based on pre-assigned and pre-read materials so that students can get more interaction with teachers and peers. Lectures are taught by experienced practitioners and legal academics, which workshops focused on law-related work and skill-based tasks have been included as part of this programme. Students will learn about substantive Hong Kong law and practice as well as acquire practical skills to work in the legal field.
Opportunities for Further Studies
Graduates are eligible to apply for admission to different degree programmes offered by local universities (including HKU) through non-JUPAS means. The academic progression pathways will include LLB programmes offered locally and overseas.
Holders of the HKU SPACE's Higher Diploma satisfy the general entrance requirements of the University of London International Programmes. However, the University of London International Programmes reserves the right to request applicants to provide evidence acceptable to the University of oral and written competence in English before an offer of registration can be made.
Job opportunities can be found in both public and private business sectors, such as solicitor’s firms, barristers’ chambers, law enforcement bodies and government.
U.K. Institute of Paralegals
The Higher Diploma for Legal Executives (“HDLE”) is recognised by the Institute of Paralegals, the UK professional body for paralegals which sets national competency standards for paralegals and others.
(see www.InstituteofParalegals.org and www.LegalStandards.org).
Students of the Higher Diploma for Legal Executives (HDLE) programme can join the Institute as Student Members. Graduates can take Associate membership (which confers a professional title: Associate Paralegal and letters after one’s name: A.Inst.Pa.). After a minimum of one year’s paralegal work experience, HDLE holders can obtain Institute Fellowship (which confers a professional title: Certified Paralegal and letters after one's name: F.Inst.Pa.).
The Law Society of Hong Kong
Under the Law Society of Hong Kong’s Benchmarks#, HDLE graduates will be eligible to use the “Legal Executive” title in Law Firm.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
HDLE graduates can apply for Paper F4 exemption from the Association of Chartered Certificate Accountants (ACCA).
Hong Kong Judiciary
HDLE holders must have at least 3 years' legal work experience who are given certain limited rights of audience in accordance with the Court's Practice Direction to represent lay client.
- Practice Direction 14.1 - Rights of Audience Before a Master
- Practice Direction 27 - Civil Proceedings in the District Court
Support by Legal Practitioners
Partner, Hong Kong
Bird & Bird
International Law Firm
“Legal executives are the oil that fires the engine of much of the work of a law firm. Not only will legal executives perform a vital role in a wide range of legal work undertaken by law firms and private businesses, but also the role of legal executive can provide a platform for further development of a professional career in law. It is a significant advantage in a very challenging recruitment market for aspiring legal executives to demonstrate their training and ability by having a dedicated qualification that focuses on the needs and requirements of a successful legal executive in Hong Kong. The Higher Diploma for Legal Executives fulfils this need admirably and is welcome addition to the available options for people wishing to pursue this career path.”
James O’ Connell
“HDLE recognised as an international qualification”
“The Institute of Paralegals warmly welcomes this excellent, practice-orientated HDLE.”
“Although law and procedure tends to be jurisdiction-specific, this HDLE provides students with many skills which are recognised and needed in all jurisdictions.”
# Hong Kong Law Society’s Benchmarks
Applicants who do not possess the minimum entry requirements but aged 21 or above and have 3 years law-related working experience will be considered by the College. These applicants, if admitted, will still need to fulfill the English language proficiency requirements of HKLS’s Benchmarks before they are eligible to use the professional title “Legal Executive” in law firms. They will be reminded that if they are admitted to the Programme, their eligibility to use the “Legal Executive” title is subject to their achievement of a minimum:
- Level 3 in English Language in HKDSE since 2012; or
- Grade D in English Language (Syllabus B) or equivalent in pre-2007 HKCEE or Level 3 in English Language from 2007 HKCEE onwards; or
- Overall score of 6 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System).
Press Interview – Sing Tao Daily
2-year Programme (Direct Entry to Year 1)
- Level 2 or above in 3 subjects# PLUS level 2 or above in Chinese Language and a minimum level 3 in English Language or equivalent;
- Pass in one AL subject or two AS subjects in the HKALE; and three passes in HKCEE* PLUS level 2/Grade E or above in Chinese Language and a minimum level 3/Grade D in English Language or equivalent;
- Hold a recognised Pre-Associate Degree, Foundation Programme or Certificate in General Studies Programme qualification; OR
- Hold a recognised post-secondary certificate or diploma.
#Applicants are allowed to use not more than two Applied Learning (ApL) subjects in the application.
The recognition of the ApL subjects is as follows:
“Attained with distinction” is deemed equivalent to Level 3; and
“Attained” is deemed equivalent to Level 2.
* A successfully completed quality-assured Applied Learning Course will be recognised as comparable to a HKCEE subject pass (up to a maximum of two subjects), not including Chinese Language and English Language.
Applicants who do not possess the above academic qualifications but aged 21 or above and have 3 years law-related working experience will be considered by the College. These applicants, if admitted, will still need to fulfill the English language proficiency requirements of HKLS’s Benchmarks before they are eligible to use the professional title “Legal Executive” in law firms. They will be reminded that if they are admitted to the Programme, their eligibility to use the “Legal Executive” title is subject to their achievement of a minimum:
- A minimum Level 3 in English Language in HKDSE since 2012; or
- Grade D in English language (Syllabus B) or equivalent in pre-2007 HKCEE or a minimum Level 3 in English Language from 2007 HKCEE onwards; or
- Overall score of 6 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System).
Higher Diploma Year 1
- General English III
- English for Academic and Professional Purposes Part I
- Practical Chinese
- Introduction to Multimedia
- Introduction to Law and Hong Kong Legal System
- Law and Contractual Transactions
- Land Law and Conveyancing
- Legal Writing and Drafting
- Business Associations
- Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
- Civil Procedure I and II
Higher Diploma Year 2
- English for Academic and Professional Purposes Part II
- English for Business
- Advanced Chinese Language
- Intra- and Interpersonal Competencies
- Professional Responsibility and Advocacy
- Family Law and Matrimonial Practice
- Torts Law and Personal Injury Practice
- Law of Succession and Probate Practice
- Negotiation and Handling Disputes
- Using Legal and Company Forms for Business
- Introduction to the Mainland Legal System