JWB recently conducted its first Hong Kong Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Workshop for a group of Hong Kong lawyers, caseworkers and researchers. The event, “Private Remedies for International Migrant Workers in the 21st Century: A Legal Education Workshop on Cross-Border Civil Litigation,” was co-hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP (HSF) and the Human Rights in Practice Course at the University of Hong Kong.
The Workshop enjoyed a turnout of 22 participants, including 15 lawyers. Following welcoming statements from HSF Senior Associate Christine Cuthbert and Professor Lindsay Ernst, the Workshop opened with a panel discussion introducing the common legal issues that migrant workers face when working in Hong Kong. The panel also explored available civil remedies, the practical considerations for pursuing justice on behalf of victims who have already returned home, and the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), law firms and lawyers in pursuing legal claims for migrant workers.
Participants then took on the role of legal representative for a hypothetical client, with case facts drawn from real-life matters. Using JWB’s Practitioner’s Manual for Migrant Workers as a reference, participants identified a range of potential claims. They also discussed the practical challenges in bringing the claims, given the client’s return to Indonesia, and shared their views on possible solutions.
The Workshop concluded with a presentation by several NGOs on how lawyers can get involved in pro bono work. Participating were representatives from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Christian Action Centre for Migrant Domestic Workers and JWB.
JWB is grateful to HSF for its generous sponsorship of the event, the University of Hong Kong for providing facilities, and all the speakers for their contributions. In addition to Ms. Cuthbert and Ms. Ernst, the event presenters were Gillian McKenzie (HSF), Fabian Roday (Dechert LLP), Tania Sim (Christian Action Centre for Migrant Domestic Workers) and Leo Tang (Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions). The Workshop would not have been such a success without their generous support.