Biography

Urania Chiu is reading for a DPhil in Law under the supervision of Dr Charles Foster (Faculty of Law) and Dr Michael Dunn (Ethox Centre). Her thesis focuses on mental health law, discourse, and disability rights in Hong Kong.

Urania obtained her LLB (First Class Honours) from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She also holds an LLM in Human Rights (Distinction) from the University of Hong Kong, where she was awarded the Anna Wu Prize in Human Rights. Prior to commencing her doctoral studies, she was a Research Associate at the Women's Studies Research Centre and Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong, where she undertook research on gender and law, equality and non-discrimination, and international human rights law. She has published on topics including medical law and ethics and constitutional rights.

Publications

Recent additions

  • U Chiu and D Cheung, 'Claiming wrongful diagnosis under the Mental Health Ordinance: The impossibility of building a reasonably arguable case' (2020) 50 Hong Kong Law Journal 837
    In the recent Court of First Instance decision Bhatti Bhupinder Singh v Hospital Authority, the judge refused to grant leave under s 69 of the Mental Health Ordinance (Cap 136) (MHO) to the claimant for his wrongful diagnosis and wrongful detention claims against the Hospital Authority. This article considers this decision in detail, arguing that the judge’s reasoning was highly flawed due to its lack of consideration of a crucial factual context of the case, as well as its lack of scrutiny of the decisions made by the various medical professionals involved, in particular in relation to whether the criteria specified by each relevant section of the MHO was satisfied. The resulting approach demonstrates an unacceptable level of deference towards the judgment of medical professionals, to the extent that it is difficult to see how a reasonably arguable case could ever be mounted under s 69 of the MHO — a problematic outcome, given the implications of s 69 on the important right to access to courts. Given that compulsory admission and treatment is a highly draconian regime involving deprivation of liberty and the administration of powerful, mind-altering drugs, the court cannot simply be a rubber stamp and must exercise its supervisory role in a much more meaningful manner.
  • U Chiu, 'Compulsory treatment in the community in Hong Kong: Implications of the current law and practice on the rights of persons with mental illnesses' (2019) 20 Asia Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law 60
    DOI: 10.1163/15718158-02001002
    This article examines the current legal framework and practice of the conditional discharge of mental health patients in Hong Kong under Section 42B of the Mental Health Ordinance from a human rights perspective. Using existing literature and findings from semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted with medical professionals, the author argues that the current regime lacks adequate safeguards for mental health patients, both in law and in actual practice, and suffers from the absence of a clear guiding purpose. As such, the law and practice of conditional discharge would most likely infringe patients’ fundamental rights to private and family life and to liberty and personal security. The article concludes with the suggestion that an evidence-based approach is required to determine the purpose of the regime and how it may be best designed for that end.
  • U Chiu, '12 years on: Implications of the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in Hong Kong' (2019) 49 Hong Kong Law Journal 487
    This article broadly reviews the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance (ICSO) and judicial decisions on interception and covert surveillance in Hong Kong both before and after the passage of the ICSO, discussing in particular their implications on the right to privacy and the right to a fair trial. The author questions whether the ICSO has fulfilled its role as a piece of corrective legislation to the pre-2006 lack of legislative framework for government surveillance activities and addresses concerns about whether further reform is required to better protect fundamental rights and freedoms in the “digital age”.

Journal Article (4)

U Chiu and D Cheung, 'Claiming wrongful diagnosis under the Mental Health Ordinance: The impossibility of building a reasonably arguable case' (2020) 50 Hong Kong Law Journal 837
In the recent Court of First Instance decision Bhatti Bhupinder Singh v Hospital Authority, the judge refused to grant leave under s 69 of the Mental Health Ordinance (Cap 136) (MHO) to the claimant for his wrongful diagnosis and wrongful detention claims against the Hospital Authority. This article considers this decision in detail, arguing that the judge’s reasoning was highly flawed due to its lack of consideration of a crucial factual context of the case, as well as its lack of scrutiny of the decisions made by the various medical professionals involved, in particular in relation to whether the criteria specified by each relevant section of the MHO was satisfied. The resulting approach demonstrates an unacceptable level of deference towards the judgment of medical professionals, to the extent that it is difficult to see how a reasonably arguable case could ever be mounted under s 69 of the MHO — a problematic outcome, given the implications of s 69 on the important right to access to courts. Given that compulsory admission and treatment is a highly draconian regime involving deprivation of liberty and the administration of powerful, mind-altering drugs, the court cannot simply be a rubber stamp and must exercise its supervisory role in a much more meaningful manner.
U Chiu, '12 years on: Implications of the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in Hong Kong' (2019) 49 Hong Kong Law Journal 487
This article broadly reviews the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Ordinance (ICSO) and judicial decisions on interception and covert surveillance in Hong Kong both before and after the passage of the ICSO, discussing in particular their implications on the right to privacy and the right to a fair trial. The author questions whether the ICSO has fulfilled its role as a piece of corrective legislation to the pre-2006 lack of legislative framework for government surveillance activities and addresses concerns about whether further reform is required to better protect fundamental rights and freedoms in the “digital age”.
U Chiu, 'Compulsory treatment in the community in Hong Kong: Implications of the current law and practice on the rights of persons with mental illnesses' (2019) 20 Asia Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law 60
DOI: 10.1163/15718158-02001002
This article examines the current legal framework and practice of the conditional discharge of mental health patients in Hong Kong under Section 42B of the Mental Health Ordinance from a human rights perspective. Using existing literature and findings from semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted with medical professionals, the author argues that the current regime lacks adequate safeguards for mental health patients, both in law and in actual practice, and suffers from the absence of a clear guiding purpose. As such, the law and practice of conditional discharge would most likely infringe patients’ fundamental rights to private and family life and to liberty and personal security. The article concludes with the suggestion that an evidence-based approach is required to determine the purpose of the regime and how it may be best designed for that end.
U Chiu, 'A robust restatement of the presumption of capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005: WBC (Local Authority) v Z, X, Y' (2017) 2 LSE Law Review 93
DOI: 10.21953/lse.1q96d2d7j1vj
In the recent judgment of WBC (Local Authority) v Z, X, Y1 a twenty-year-old woman with Asperger Syndrome and a borderline learning disability was declared to possess legal capacity, both to participate in the litigation and to make decisions regarding her residence, social contacts and care. This judgment is important because it recognises a strong presumption of capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005) and provides a comprehensive example of the Act’s application to a complex and finely balanced set of facts.
ISBN: 2516-4058

Research Interests

Medical law and ethics, family law, gender and sexuality, international human rights.

Research projects