PCLL Conversion Examination January 2008
Hong Kong Legal System
Extracts from the Examiner’s Report
The examination consisted of three questions of which two were compulsory.
Reading time of fifteen minutes was allowed in addition to the scheduled one hour for
the examination itself. The three questions addressed: the jury; the hierarchy of
courts; and the rule of law. It was written on a closed book basis.
In advance of the exam being held the examiners prepared a list of factors that would
have been relevant to each question. In setting out those factors though it should be
noted that the marks assigned to each question reflected not only how candidates
performed with reference to the factors but also the answers clarity, level of
expression, context and analysis. The best answers reflected a true awareness and
familiarity with the substance of each question.
The standard varied quite considerably and this was reflected in a wide range of
marks. For some of the weakest results the candidates may simply have failed to
reach and thus complete both questions. Alternatively, questions may have been
addressed at length but without substance. On several occasions quite good answers
were given but which were wholly irrelevant to the question set. This may have
reflected calculated preparation on the part of the candidates as to what would be
examined in the paper or simply a misunderstanding of the question itself. The
examiners sought in these cases to still mark the answers as best as they could against
the relevant factors etc.
In contrast to the weakest papers the stronger ones addressed a wider range of factors
and at times exceeded them either qualitatively or quantitatively. This was
encouraging for the examiners. As was to be expected the majority of the papers fell
somewhere in between these two extremes and the marks awarded are intended to
In commenting generally on the performance of the candidates the examiners believe
that they demonstrated a good grasp of the Hong Kong legal system as reflected in
their answers to these fundamental topics. If the examiners were to offer any
feedback to those involved in the preparatory courses ahead of such future conversion
examinations in this topic it would be to continue to focus on the substance of the
materials in the reading list perhaps over or in preference to examples from the