On 16 May 2023, Des Voeux Chambers welcomed Professor Jodi Gardner from the University of Cambridge, who is visiting the Law Faculty of the University of Hong Kong as a Des Voeux Chambers-Cambridge-HKU Visiting Fellow.
In a public lecture hosted at the DVC Conference Centre as chaired by John Scott KC, SC, JP (Downing, Cantab), Professor Gardner provided an illuminating lecture on the interaction between private law and the notion of ‘social minimum’.
Professor Gardner drew on both examples from home (namely high-cost credit and the Grenfell Tower fire) as well as circumstances in Hong Kong (namely the phenomenon of “cage housing”), so as to explain and illustrate her theory and research.
In particular, Professor Gardner argues that whilst one may find the notion to be somewhat vague and imprecise, this does not stand in the way of its application both in legislation as well as judicial law-making, not least because Courts are familiar with dealing with such concepts in any event.
In fact, she contends that accepting such a concept would further instil certainty in the law and promote a better understanding as to how certain existing well-known private law concepts (e.g. duress, undue influence) have been applied in the past. Professor Gardner further believes that such notion should have an integral role within the teaching and studying of private law.
The lecture was then followed by an enthusiastic question and answer session with insightful questions raised from the audience consisting of members of Chambers, representatives from the HKU Law Faculty, aspiring lawyers from local universities, as well as other members of the public.
About the Fellowship
Since 2017, Des Voeux Chambers has sponsored and facilitated the setting up of a fellowship scheme between the University of Cambridge and the University of Hong Kong. The scheme enables an academic member of the Cambridge Faculty of Law to spend a month in Hong Kong as a visiting fellow in the HKU Faculty of Law, so as to enhance academic exchanges between the two institutions. The inaugural visiting fellow was Dr. Elizabeth Howell (now an Assistant Professor of the LSE Law School).
About Professor Jodi Gardner
Professor Jodi Gardner is the Brian Coote Chair in Private Law at the University of Auckland, a Fellow of Law at St John’s College, Cambridge and a Senior Adjunct Research Fellow at the Centre for Banking & Finance Law at the National University of Singapore. Her research focuses on the intersection between private law and social policy, spanning the regulation of high-cost credit contracts, the impact of austerity measures, the impact of technology on equality and vulnerability, and concurrent liability in tort and contract. Before moving to Cambridge, Jodi was a Lecturer at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where she completed a D.Phil in contract law and consumer protection under Professor Mindy Chen-Wishart. Jodi has held visiting positions at Columbia Law School, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, the Woodrow Wilson School of International and Public Policy at Princeton University, and the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management at the University of Birmingham.