While the New Haven School has distinguished origins, being the brainchild of eminent scholars at Yale Law School, one wonders why the views of elite jurists at an Ivy League law school are relevant to Hong Kong - or even to the world at large. Fozia Lone, a City University assistant professor of law, believes the New Haven approach is relevant to Hong Kong's post-handover history, its budding democracy movement and its common law traditions. In understanding any of these processes the dominant guiding principle is human dignity, the inherent worth of all individuals and their right to optimal self-realisation, she says. According to Siegfried Wiessner, professor of law at St Thomas University in Miami, Florida, the power of this approach is its ability 'to deal with pressing problems locally, nationally and internationally'. He argues that its intellectual framework 'can be used effectively anywhere on the planet' and that many of most articulate adherents come from the developing world. Lone agrees, and stresses that the New Haven approach 'is not central to Yale' and is appreciated and used as policy-oriented concept by legal minds globally. 'It just happened that the pioneers of this school, Myres McDougal and ... Michael Reisman were at the Yale Law School, just as the Frankfurt School is named after University of Frankfurt where it was founded,' Lone says. Wiessner believes that the approach is popular because of its flexibility and efficacy. One reason may be that the approach helps guide the process of legal development. 'The other is ... that the approach and its main proponents are deeply respectful of different cultures,' he says. 'They listen. They hear all the claims of human needs and aspirations that are presented - not just the most powerful or most articulate ones.' The New Haven methodology is sensitive to differences in culture and legal procedure between jurisdictions, and values dialogue between jurists. 'As far as relevance to governmental actors is concerned, I would say that there is no better technique of engendering enlightened, responsible leadership in the modern world than the framework offered, and the course charted, by the New Haven School.' It offers a thorough, rational analysis of problems, using all sources of knowledge at your disposal, the taking into account of all relevant actors and their claims, the constant appraisal of past decisions in light of new facts and claims, and the orientation of decisions of governments at the needs and aspirations of human beings. 'This surely is a formula for decisional success - whether the government is located in Beijing, Hong Kong, Berlin or Washington. The make-up of human beings in terms of what they want out of life ... is universal,' Wiessner says. He concedes that even if such desires differ from culture to culture, family to family, individual to individual, the greater country's role in international affairs, 'the more responsibility accrues to its decisions to be wise and enlightened'.