Professor Anne Scully-Johnson
After graduating from University College London (LL.B (hons); LL.M.) Anne Scully-Johnson (formerly Anne Scully-Hill) lectured in law in London for several years before moving to Hong Kong where she has been Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at The Chinese University of Hong Long for the past eight years. Anne’s current research interests lie in family law, specifically in the areas of reform of child custody laws in Hong Kong; children's rights; and equality within the family specifically in relation to domestic violence and ancillary relief.
She is the author of several articles and commentaries on family law and child law including publications in The International Survey of Family Law, the Hong Kong Law Journal, the International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, the Child & Family Law Quarterly, the Journal of Social Welfare & Family Law and various family law-related Annotated Ordinances of Hong Kong. She also researches and publishes in the area of public law, specifically judicial review and is co-author of Hong Kong Administrative Law.
Anne is a member of the Hong Kong Law Society’s Family Law Committee, the Organizing Committee for the Children’s Issues Forum, the Everywoman Everywhere Regional Working Group for the Carr Center, Harvard Kennedy School, the Editorial Board of the Hong Kong Lawyer, the Hong Kong Collaborative Practice Group, the CEDR Asia Pacific Practice Group and is an accredited mediator in Hong Kong and London. She is also an adviser to the Hong Kong Ombudsman.
Law in Context: Locating the legislative proposals within the socio-cultural context of Hong Kong?
‘Law in Context’ has been described by Philip Selznick as seeing law as being “in and of society, adapting to its contours, giving direction to change”. Law does not exist in a vacuum but engages with the society in which it is located in a two-way symbiotic manner, both shaping and being shaped by that society. We know from research conducted in the early days of ‘law in context’ scholarship by Prof. Dror that people are particularly resistant to laws which seek to change conduct which is rooted in their personal beliefs and cultural values, and in particular in relation to family norms and roles.
The parent-child relationship, and in particular the parent-child relationship post-divorce, sits at the heart of a complex set of values, sense of status and emotional factors in any society and thus the ‘law in context’ perspective raises important questions in relation to the legislative proposals to amend the current law in Hong Kong on child custody.
This paper will examine the suitability and likely efficacy of the reform proposals in light of Hong Kong’s specific historical development; its current legal landscape incorporating both domestic and international laws; and Hong Kong’s socio-cultural landscape today.
In particular the connections and/or tensions between the legislative proposals and the values and norms of Chinese culture in Hong Kong today, the voices and needs of minority communities and the obligations Hong Kong is under to comply with transplanted international norms will be considered, especially in relation to the proposed shift to a system of ‘parental responsibility’, the shaping of new court orders and the standing and status of the child in matrimonial proceedings.