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Legal Executives


Programme Code

  • HP808 Year 1 & 2, Higher Diploma (HD)



QF Level: 4
QR Registration No.: 09/002830/4
Registration Validity Period: 01/09/2009 to ongoing
Successful completion of this programme leads to an award within The University of Hong Kong system through HKU SPACE

HD Application Code: HDLE

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 Benchmarks standard of The Law Society of Hong Kong (HKLS).


Programme Aims and Features

  • This programme aims to equip students with the fundamental legal knowledge and administrative skills to support legal professionals in law offices or related public services, or to carry out administrative duties in the general administration units of business and industrial organisations. The legal knowledge and practical skills learnt from the course can pave their future career pathway in the legal sector and support their pursuit of further studies;
  • Specialism courses are taught by experienced practitioners and legal academics;
  • In accordance with the HKLS’s Benchmarks, students will attend interactive sessions in medium class-sized groups;
  • Workshops focused on law-related work and skill-based tasks.


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 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.

Chart of Further Studies

Programmes offered by local universities

The list below shows the degree offers that our graduates/ students received in the past*:

  • The University of Hong Kong
    Bachelor of Arts
    BSc Information Management
  • The Chinese University of Hong Kong
    BA English
    Bachelor of Chinese Medicine
    BSSc Gender Studies
    BSSc Global Studies
  • City University of Hong Kong
    Bachelor of Laws
    BA Chinese and History
    BA English Studies
    BA Linguistics and Language Applications
    BBA Business Analysis
    BBA Global Business Systems Management
    BSocSc Asian and International Studies
    BSocSc Criminology
    BSocSc Criminology and Sociology
    BSocSc Environmental Policy
    BSocSc Public Policy and Politics
    BSocSc Public Policy, Management, and Politics
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
    BA (Hons) Language and Speech Sciences
  • Lingnan University
    BSocSc (Hons)  China and Asia Pacific Studies Stream
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
    BEd (Hons) (Primary) - General Studies
    BEd (Hons) Physical Education

*The above list is not exhaustive and only shows some of the examples.


Professional Recognition

  • 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 are 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 the Law Society of Hong Kong'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 or above in English Language in the HKDSE since 2012; or 
- Levle 3 or above in English Language in the HKCEE, or Grade D or above in English Language (Syllabus B) or equivalent in the pre-2007 HKCEE; or
- Overall score of 6 or above 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

- 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
Head of Policy
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

  • Level 2 or above in 5 subjects* in HKDSE including English Language^ and Chinese Language#; OR

  • Hold a recognised Diploma in Foundation Studies Programme; OR

  • Hold a Diploma Yi Jin; OR

  • Equivalent qualifications will be considered by the College.

[Remarks: Graduates, who have fulfilled the Benchmarks^ of The Law Society of Hong Kong (HKLS) are eligible to use the professional title of “Legal Executive”.]

Mature Students^

Applicants who do not possess the above academic qualifications, but are aged 21 or above and with relevant work experience will be considered on individual merit.


*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 (II)” is deemed equivalent to Level 4 or above;
“Attained with Distinction (I)” is deemed equivalent to Level 3; and 
“Attained” is deemed equivalent to Level 2 in the HKDSE Examination.

#ApL Chinese (for non-Chinese speaking students) would be accepted as an alternative Chinese Language qualification.

^The Law Society of Hong Kong’s Benchmarks

Only those graduates of the Higher Diploma for Legal Executive programme, who have satisfied the following requirements of The Law Society of Hong Kong’s Benchmarks, are eligible to use the professional title “Legal Executive” in law firms:

1.    who have obtained a pass in 5 subjects in HKCEE or a combination of results in 5 HKDSE subjects of Level 2 in NSS subjects, “Attained” in ApL subjects (Subject to a maximum of 2 ApL subjects) and Grade E in Other Language subjects or who have been in law-related employment in Hong Kong for 3 years;


2.    who have obtained a minimum of

  • Level 3 or above in English Language in HKDSE since 2012 ; or
  • Level 3 or above in English Language in HKCEE from 2007 ; or
  • Grade D or above in English Language (Syllabus B) in the pre 2007 HKCEE, or
  • overall score of 6 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System).


Effective from 2021-22 Academic Year:


Higher Diploma Year 1

  • Introduction to Academic English
  • English for Academic Purposes I
  • Practical Chinese*
  • Information Technology Fundamentals
  • 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 Purposes 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


* Non-Chinese speaking students or students who have not received sufficient training in the Chinese language may apply for exemption from the Chinese course(s), and alternative courses may be assigned.