Is a Paternal Nephew’s Right to Inherit His Uncle’s Estate Indisputable: The Enlightening Case of Tsang Yuet Mui


The British Law has been enforced in Hong Kong since 1842, but the cases involving Chinese traditional practices were still judged on the basis of traditional laws of China, i.e. the Qing Code and related customs. As for the succession to estate, the Chinese society of Hong Kong followed the traditional convention of succession in the male line. Although the influence of such a practice gradually diminishes with the passage of time and the principle of equality between men and women has been widely respected by society and well protected by law, yet some cases still have to be heard in accordance with the Qing Code, the law of the Qing Dynasty(1644-1911). This reveals precisely the conflict between two different cultural systems. This essay is to discuss the case of Tsang Yuet Mui (HCMP 2314/2012) which raises questions regarding a paternal nephew's adoption as heir and his succession to estate. Tsang Yuet Mui, the plaintiff in this case, claimed that her deceased husband, being a paternal nephew, had been adopted as heir to his uncle and thus entitled to inherit the entire estate of his uncle and aunt. But she could not provide any positive proof of his husband's being adopted. Furthermore, the Court of Appeal had previously refused another paternal nephew's request for the right to inherit his uncle's estate in the case of Liu Ying Lan (CACV 279/2002). Such a precedent case caused challenges to the traditional convention of succession.

Author Information
Yiu Chung Soo, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2016
Stream: Linguistics, Language and Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon