Law faculty awaits verdict in 'race discrimination' claim

October 4, 2002

The law faculty at the City University of Hong Kong will have to wait until November at the earliest for an independent committee to deliver its review of the dismissal of ten law lecturers last year.

Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, a political scientist and member of the independent inquiry panel, said: "In the interests of ensuring that the committee's findings and recommendations are fair to all parties, it will take at least two months to conclude the report."

The committee was commissioned three months ago by the university to assess the decision not to renew the contracts of two South Asian and eight Chinese law lecturers in November 2001.

The school staffing committee that decided not to renew the contracts was unable to give reasons for the dismissals because it was bound by the university's policy of confidentiality.

In January, seven lecturers appealed against the verdict. A letter outlining allegations of possible racial discrimination, conflicts of interest and violation of university rules for staff appraisal and assessment was sent to Hong Kong's Legislative Council.

Three lecturers have since had their contracts extended by a university appeal committee, but four appellants were due to leave the university at the end of August.

Mike McConville, dean of law and former director of the Legal Research Institute and former professor of law at the University of Warwick, denied that the decision was racially motivated. He said the lecturers did not have their contracts renewed because of poor performance.

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