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Legal Mobilization under Authoritarianism
The Case of Post-Colonial Hong Kong


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Part of Cambridge Studies in Law and Society

  • Date Published: November 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107031999

£ 62.00

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About the Authors
  • Legal mobilization is the process by which individuals invoke their legal rights and use litigation to defend or develop these rights against the government. In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to this phenomenon as it occurs under authoritarian regimes. It is often suggested that, in such situations, legal mobilization is caused by the strategic interests of the ruling elites. Using the case study of post-colonial Hong Kong, where legal mobilization has by no means unfolded as political authorities would wish, Waikeung Tam casts doubt on this contention. To do so, he examines in depth why and how legal mobilization arises under authoritarianism. Tam analyses quantitative data of changes in the Hong Kong judiciary agendas over the last three decades and uses detailed interviews with activists, politicians, cause lawyers, judges and government officials to reveal the complex underlying socio-political forces at play.

    • Proposes a new perspective on the 'judicialization' of politics under authoritarianism
    • In-depth interviews with activists, politicians, cause lawyers, judges and government officials reveal the complex socio-political forces at play
    • One of the first books to examine legal mobilization under Asian authoritarian regimes
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    • Honourable Mention, 2014 Distinguished Book Award, Sociology of Law Section, American Sociological Association

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107031999
    • length: 234 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 155 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 9 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: explaining the rise of legal mobilization in post-colonial Hong Kong
    2. The growth of legal mobilization in post-colonial Hong Kong
    3. Critical antecedent — legal complex
    4. The opening of new legal opportunities
    5. The reversal of political opportunities
    6. The political origins of cause lawyering in Hong Kong
    7. Cause lawyers as transformative agents
    8. Rights advocacy groups as transformative agents
    9. The impacts of the judicialization of politics
    10. Conclusion: theoretical and comparative contributions
    Appendix 1. Human rights and public policy litigation the Privy Council and the Court of Final Appeal decided (1981–2010)
    Appendix 2. Important litigation brought by pro-democracy politicians and social activists to the Court of Appeal (CoA) and the Court of First Instance (CFI) (1981–2010)
    Appendix 3. List of interviewees (alphabetical by category).

  • Author

    Waikeung Tam, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
    Waikeung Tam is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.


    • Honourable Mention, 2014 Distinguished Book Award, Sociology of Law Section, American Sociological Association

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