A member of the search committee that recommended Johannes Chan Man-mun for a pro-vice-chancellor's post at the University of Hong Kong has said professional experience and standing is more important than a doctorate degree. As the committee's recommendation was rejected by HKU's governing council on Tuesday night, the member, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the council's considerations "differed" from the selection body. During the meeting, pro- government members who opposed Chan's appointment were said to have cited reasons including Chan having no PhD degree and not publishing enough in international journals. "This is a managerial post. We put more weighting on the managerial skills than academic qualifications," the member said. "For professional faculties such as law, medicine and dentistry, professional experience and standing count more than publications in journals." International and local legal scholars came to Chan's defence. Yash Ghai, an internationally renowned public law scholar and an emeritus professor at HKU, said it was "absurd" to say Chan was not qualified for the job because he had no PhD, as some of the world's leading law professors and scholars did not have doctorate degrees. To say Chan seldom published in journals was a "deliberate attempt to vilify him", Ghai said, noting he had published in well known journals locally and overseas. Chan has a 30-page list of publications on his HKU webpage that includes books, articles, conference papers and research projects. One of the recent works, Law of the Hong Kong Constitution , which he co-edited and co-authored, was hailed by former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang as "a seminal work" on the Basic Law. Cheryl Saunders, a laureate professor at the University of Melbourne, added that many senior public law scholars had published major books instead of undertaking PhD studies. Cambridge University professor David Feldman, who does not have a PhD, said it was a mistake to regard the international ranking of journals as reliable indications of the quality of the work published in them. Michael Ramsden, associate law dean at Chinese University, pointed to the fact that Chan was the only legal academic in town who was made an honorary senior counsel, having argued in landmark cases on constitutional law and human rights. He said it "speaks volumes" about Chan's contribution to the field.