The University of Hong Kong offers hands-on practical courses to undergraduate and postgraduate students through its Street Law projects. The Street Law projects provide an opportunity for law students to develop professional skills and serve the community in numerous ways, including educating laypersons on the law.
In 2019, the University of Hong Kong launched its Disability Rights Clinic Programme in partnership with two NGOs, focusing on advocating for legal reforms within the disability rights context. Students in the clinic programme were given the option to work with Chosen Power, a local NGO, to advocate for legal reforms for people with intellectual disabilities, or Wider, a Shenzhen based NGO, to contribute to their ongoing research on airport accessibility in mainland China.
Students working with Chosen Power conducted research comparing compliance of Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, namely the right to work on an equal basis with others, among selected jurisdictions. Students particularly focussed on examining sheltered workshops and whether the existence of such workshops was consistent with the right to work on an equal basis with others. Students working with Chosen Power also conducted research on the government’s proposed Special Needs Trust and whether such a trust would comply with Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (right to legal capacity).
Students working with Wider conducted a comparative analysis of airport accessibility around the globe in order to assist with Wider’s broader advocacy strategy. Students meticulously reported on the various laws, regulations and policies relating to accessibility in airports in selected countries. Through the research, students did not only discover a great disparity in the levels of accessibility among jurisdictions but also, they discovered the discrepancy of accessibility policies at all levels of the decision-making process. Many students were surprised to find that a few commercial airlines often took it upon themselves to institute their own accessibility policies that went beyond what was legally required of them. The research conducted by students of The Disability Rights Clinic has helped Wider learn about best practices both domestically and abroad. Wider intends to share these findings with policymakers and other disability rights advocates in China.