Graduate who completed degree early challenges Medical Council ruling

Decision to bar student from exam is "absurd", hears court, especially as he has been accepted to take it on three previous occasions

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 6:53pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 12:48pm

A graduate who finished his clinical medicine degree two years early has launched a High Court challenge to the Medical Council’s decision not to allow him to sit its licensing examination.

Lawyers for Kwong Wing-kie told a judicial review hearing on Wednesday that the Medical Council’s decision to bar him from taking the exam in 2011 because he did not have five years of medical training was “unreasonable”, especially given he had been allowed to sit it previously.

Kwong finished a six-year degree programme at Jinan University in Guangdong in four years, the court heard. Under the Medical Registration Ordinance, an applicant seeking to take the exam must satisfy the council of several criteria, including that they have satisfactorily completed “no less than five years full-time medical training”.

The Court of First Instance heard that Kwong was accepted to take the exam in 2007, 2008 and 2009. He did so in 2007 and 2008, failing both times, and did not sit it in 2009.

“It is unfair for the respondent [the committee] to take a wholly new and different course to not allow the applicant [Kwong] to take the examination.”
Lawyer Ebony Ling

The court heard that Kwong was exempted from several courses in the clinical medicine programme at Jinan University because of his prior education. He held bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in Chinese Medicine from two mainland universities. He graduated from Jinan in 2007.

Kwong also held several other academic qualifications, the court heard, including a bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Hong Kong and maths and engineering, from the University of London, as well as an MBA from Chinese University.

Ebony Ling, for Kwong, said her client had a “legitimate expectation” that he would be allowed to sit the exam again.

She said it was “absurd” and “irrational” that the council’s licentiate committee had allowed Kwong to take the examination in previous years but denied him in 2011 without explaining its change of policy.

“It is unfair for the respondent [the committee] to take a wholly new and different course to not allow the applicant [Kwong] to take the examination,” she said. “This is abuse of power.”

Madam Justice Mimmie Chan Mei-lan reserved her decision and will deliver her judgment in writing at a later date.

Information found online showed that Kwong has practised Chinese medicine in Hong Kong and as a general practitioner in Macau.