Student is granted legal aid to seek judicial review of bilingual policy he says breaches founding ordinance The Chinese University of Hong Kong is facing a possible High Court judicial review over its bilingual policy after a student was granted legal aid to pursue the action. Li Yiu-kee, a third-year politics and public administration student, yesterday filed for a judicial review of the university's bilingual teaching policy through his solicitor, supported by legal aid, which he said he secured this month. He said a university decision last October suggesting subjects considered 'highly universal in nature, with little emphasis on cultural specificity' should be taught in English contravened the Chinese University of Hong Kong Ordinance. 'The legal aid application was approved because there is a reasonable chance of winning the case,' Mr Li said. 'The Chinese University of Hong Kong was established on the premise that it should teach primarily in Chinese. The existing bilingual policy, which serves to accommodate the needs of the growing intake of international students, is inconsistent with this principle.' Since 2005, the government has encouraged increasing numbers of overseas students to study in Hong Kong, raising the overseas student intake to 10 per cent of the undergraduate population, compared with 2 per cent in 1993. According to the preamble of the 1963 ordinance, issued when the university was established, the 'Chinese University of Hong Kong, in which the principal language of instruction shall be Chinese', should continue to teach and carry out research, and 'stimulate the intellectual and cultural development of Hong Kong'. Mr Li wants the court to agree with his contention that the university's bilingual policy is 'unlawful and/or unreasonable' as it resulted in the principal language of instruction becoming English rather than Chinese. He is seeking an order to quash the policy regarding the language of instruction. Mr Li said that if the application for a judicial review failed, he would seek other ways to communicate the strong views of students and teaching staff on the issue. A survey by the university's student union of all 3,008 courses offered in the 2007-08 academic year was released yesterday, showing 51 per cent of courses were taught in English only. About 21 per cent were taught in Chinese only and, of the remaining 27 per cent, some were taught bilingually, some in Chinese with occasional lapses into English, while a few were taught in other languages. A university spokeswoman said bilingualism had been practised for 45 years at the university, since its establishment. She declined to comment further given that more legal procedures might follow the application for judicial review.