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Higher Diploma Programmes

 

Higher Diploma for Legal Executives

Programme Code:

  • 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.

 

Professional Recognition

  • 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).

HDLE students can join the Institute as Student Members. Once successfully completed, they 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.).

  • Law Society of Hong Kong

Under the Law Society of Hong Kong’s Benchmarks#, HDLE graduates will be eligible to use the title “Legal Executive”.

#The Law Society of Hong Kong'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). 

  • 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

Pádraig Walsh
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
Chief Executive
United Kingdom,
Institute of Paralegals
Solicitor, England & Wales
Solicitor, Hong Kong

“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.”

 

Career Prospects

Job opportunities can be found in both public and private business sectors, such as solicitor’s firms, barristers’ chambers, law enforcement bodies and government.

 

Press Interview – Sing Tao Daily

2-year Higher Diploma Programme

HKDSE

  • Level 2 or above in three subjects# PLUS Level 2 or above in Chinese Language and a minimum Level 3 in English Language, or equivalent;

OR

HKALE

  • Pass in one AL subject or two AS subjects in the HKALE; AND three passes in the HKCEE* PLUS Level 2 / Grade E or above in Chinese Language and English Language and a minimum Level 3 / Grade D in English Language, or equivalent;

OR

  • Hold a recognised post-secondary certificate or diploma; OR
  • Equivalent qualifications will be considered by the College.

#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.

*Applicants are allowed to use not more than two Applied Learning (ApL) subjects in the application. Successful completion of an ApL subject will be recognised as comparable to a HKCEE pass, not including Chinese Language and English Language.

The Law Society of Hong Kong'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
  •  Level 3 in English Language from 2007 HKCEE onwards, or Grade D in English Language (Syllabus B) or equivalent in pre-2007 HKCEE; 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
  • Torts Law and Personal Injury Practice+

 

 

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
  • Civil Procedures I and II+
  • Law of Succession and Probate Practice
  • Negotiation and Handling Disputes
  • Using Legal and Company Forms for Business
  • Introduction to the Mainland Legal System

+Subject to approval.