Brendan Clift

PhD Candidate

LinkedIn LinkedIn

ORCID logo 0000-0003-0670-9718

Brendan Clift is a PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow at Melbourne Law School. He holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees from Macquarie University and Master of Laws and Master of Journalism degrees, both with Distinction, from the University of Hong Kong. He is admitted to legal practice by the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Brendan’s teaching and research interests encompass intellectual property, media and entertainment law, torts and criminal law, and the intersection of law, politics and society. He has also written and taught on other topics including free speech, privacy, discrimination, commercial law, animals law, legal method and the rule of law.

Outside academia, Brendan has worked as a lawyer, a journalist and a publisher. He is the current author of over a dozen titles in Halsbury’s Laws and other major reference works, regularly writes and edits for several professional and academic publishing houses, and is an International Editor of the Cambridge Law Review.

Thesis Title

Political dissent, law and legitimacy in China’s Hong Kong

Thesis Summary

This research examines the role of law and legal institutions in responding to political dissent in Hong Kong, focusing on the period between the mass social movements of 2014 and 2019. Theoretical and doctrinal in approach, the research develops a framework by which to interrogate and assess laws and judicial decisions which have suppressed protest speech, public demonstrations, political participation by non-establishment actors, and other liberal rights and freedoms. It aims to understand the consequences of Hong Kong’s authoritarian turn for the legitimacy of law and its institutions and to provide a prognosis for the rule of law in the territory, positioned in the context of Chinese rule and China’s rise.


  • Asian Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Copyright Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Hong Kong Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Law and Politics
  • Law and Society
  • Media Law
  • Torts Law