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Issue No. 399 February 2016

Toward better understanding

Detective Superintendent Hamish McCardle has extra cause to celebrate during this year’s Chinese New Year festivities – he is about to graduate with a law degree from a top Chinese university.

Superintendent Hamish McCardle

Hamish, Liaison Officer to Beijing since 2010, studied for two years for his Master of Laws at Beijing’s China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL), funded through the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia.

He says he wanted a deeper understanding of Chinese law to help bridge the divide between China’s socialist legal system and New Zealand’s common law practice.

“When dealing with two such different legal systems, even simple questions around procedural law can be difficult to find workable solutions for.

“I wanted to know more so we could ask better questions and understand how we could improve our criminal case cooperation.”

He chose CUPL, which is known as the leadership cradle of the Chinese Government. It takes around 20 foreign scholarship students a year.

“It’s a very austere campus with a ‘no-frills’ attitude to education,” says Hamish. “But it’s all substance – that’s something I came to appreciate after studying there.”

The final step was a ‘defence’ of his thesis on the Western and Chinese views on rule of law to a panel of five professors. He passed on a unanimous vote.

“The Chinese professors have a brutal honesty, and are quite open and uninhibited about exposing any shortcomings. It certainly brings a crispness to the defence. ”

Hamish says his new understanding has been crucial to assisting cooperation. “Knowing the law in China helps bridge our understanding of how to get our work done faster and with greater success.

“It’s all about prevention of precursor chemicals and drugs coming to New Zealand, preventing illegal monies and fugitives getting away and making sure those that commit crimes in either country are brought to justice.”

Hamish receives his degree at a ceremony in Beijing this month. You can read an abstract of his thesis here.

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