The University of Hong Kong has launched a two-way degree programme with the University of British Columbia that will prepare their law school graduates for practising in Hong Kong and Canada. The universities last week signed an agreement to admit up to five students from the other institution a year to a joint legal education programme. The programme will require an extra year of study. HKU law students will complete six years, instead of five. UBC law students will complete four. Students from HKU who have finished the third year of their course will spend two years at the Canadian university. UBC students who have completed the second year of their three-year course will study at HKU for one year. The students will earn a law degree from both universities. The degrees will enable them to practise in Hong Kong and Canada. To pursue a career in Hong Kong, the graduates also need to complete a one-year course for a postgraduate certificate in laws. The joint programme will start in September next year, with the first batch of graduates expected in 2011. Johannes Chan Man-mun, dean of law at HKU, said its students would benefit with exposure to a different jurisdiction as well as social and cultural environment. 'The collaboration also strengthens the links between legal education in North America and Asia,' he said. UBC's law faculty has a research centre that has the largest group of academics teaching and researching Asian legal issues. Their research is focused on the law and legal systems of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. The university's president, Stephen Toope, said the new programme would equip students with cross-cultural legal knowledge and broaden their professional contacts.