Isabel Tam 譚俊宜
Call : 2013 (HK); 2012 (NY)
Set : Main
Practice Areas
Administrative and Public LawChinese Customary LawCommercial LawCompetition LawFamily LawLand and Property LawProbate and AdministrationPublic International LawRegulatory and DisciplinaryTax LawTort and Personal Injuries
Email : [email protected] Secretary : Milly Siu [email protected]

Isabel Tam graduated with a first class LLB and with distinction in her LLM. She was awarded the Bar Scholarship in 2012. Her practice has an emphasis on public law, family law, and regulatory matters. She also has an MA in competition law with distinction in the examination component, and was seconded to the Competition Commission.

She has appeared as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal, the Court of First Instance, the District Court and the Magistrates’ Courts. She has also appeared in the Court of Final Appeal.

Recent highlights of Isabel’s experience include NF v R [2023] 5 HKLRD 58, a breakthrough for same-sex parents, granting a declaration of “parentage at common law” to a same-sex couple, and AA v BB [2021] 2 HKLRD 1225, which has been hailed as a landmark victory for the LGBTQ community, granting rights to a separated same-sex couple who had co-parented children during their relationship. Isabel appeared for the Respondent, the non-biological mother within the same-sex relationship, and secured rights for her including guardianship and joint custody.

Isabel successfully resisted the Inland Revenue’s appeal before the Court of Appeal in Koo Ming Kown & Anor v The Commissioner of Inland Revenue [2021] 3 HKLRD 642, representing two company directors charged to additional tax (led by Mr Denis Chang SC). This is Hong Kong’s first ever case to deal with the third party’s liability for additional tax by reason of “incorrectness” in the company’s return.

Isabel’s experience also includes:

Administrative and Public Law 

Judicial reviews and hearings relating to the Small House Policy, the “Co-location Arrangement”, the 3rd airport runway, immigration decisions, disciplinary decisions, administrative tribunals, and more.

Family Law

Children matters, ancillary relief, anti-suit injunction, harassment-related proceedings, and more.

Regulatory and Tax Matters

In regulatory matters: representing the SFC in disciplinary proceedings and in trial, advising on competition law, advising on listing rules, representing respondent and complainant in professional misconduct cases, and more. In tax matters: advising on tax treatment of profit share incentive in the employment context, advising on stamp duty liability in property transactions, representing the successful appellant against the Inland Revenue Department in appeals regarding director’s liability for additional tax, and more.

Land Law

Trials on adverse possession, trust claims over property, disputes over common parts, conveyancing disputes, unauthorized building works, and more.

International Work

Her legal experience outside Hong Kong includes working on a state-to-state international arbitration, researching at the International Environmental Law Research Centre in Kenya and a summer judicial clerkship at U.S. federal court. She was also called to the Bar in New York.

Pro Bono Work

She regularly undertakes pro bono work, including advising non-profit organizations and acting for litigants on a pro bono basis. She is also interested in environmental law, and has advised and published on the ivory trade and trade in endangered species.

• Barrister (Hong Kong) (2013)

• Attorney (New York) (admitted in 2012, currently non-practising)

• LLB (First class), University College London (2010)
• LLM (Distinction), Georgetown University (2011)
• PCLL, University of Hong Kong (2012)
• MA in EU Competition Law, King’s College London (2017)

• Bar Scholarship (2012)
• Charles Ching Memorial Scholarship (2012)
• Dean’s List (2011)
• Georgetown Global Teaching Fellowship (2011)
• Georgetown Law Center best paper in international criminal law (2011)
• International Bar Association Asian Regional Forum Scholarship (2014)
• Inter-Pacific Bar Association Scholarship (2017)

• Vice-chair (2019 – 2020), Standing Committee on Young Barristers, Hong Kong Bar Association
• Member (2022 – 2023), Committee on Constitutional Affairs & Human Rights
• Member (2018 – present), Standing Committee on Equality and Diversity, Hong Kong Bar Association
• Member (2020 – present), Standing Committee on International Practice, Hong Kong Bar Association
• Part-time Lecturer, School of Law, City University of Hong Kong (Academic Years of 2018/19, 2019/20; 2023/24)
• Part-time Judicial Associate (General) in the Judiciary (2021, 2022 & 2023)

• Hong Kong Civil Procedure (2015 – present), contributing editor• Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Hong Kong Precedents of Pleadings (2nd ed) (contributor, chapter on Competition Law)
• Halsbury’s Laws of Hong Kong (volume on Judicial Review), contributing author
• Hong Kong Construction Law (Issue 39), contributor
• Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance, Cap 499 (Annotated Ordinances of Hong Kong) (2017), author• Protection of Endangered Animals and Plants Ordinance, Cap 586 (Annotated Ordinances of Hong Kong) (2019), co-author Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, Cap 132 (Annotated Ordinances of Hong Kong) (2019), co-author• Water Pollution Control Ordinance, Cap 358 (Annotated Ordinances of Hong Kong) (2019), author The Trade In Live Reef Food Fish-Going, Going Gone (2017), co-author

Administrative and Public Law

Mutebi Roy Doreen v Torture Claim Appeal Board & Ors [2022] HKCA 294
Asylum seeker claiming affected by practice of “widow inheritance” (a form of forced marriage whereby a widow is compelled to marry her deceased husband’s brother) in home country.  Appeal allowed, reversing refusal of leave to bring judicial review proceedings.

Kwok Cheuk Kin & Anor v Director of Lands & Ors [2021] HKCFA 38
Judicial review of the Small House Policy

Kwok Cheuk Kin & Anor v Director of Lands & Ors (2021) 24 HKCFAR 349
Judicial review of the constitutionality of the Small House Policy

Kwok Cheuk Kin & Anor v Director of Lands & Ors (2021) 24 HKCFAR 220Waiving security for costs (sought in the total amount of $ 4.8 million) of appeal to the Court of Final Appeal

Kwok Cheuk Kin & Anor v Director of Lands & Ors [2021] 3 HKLRD 411
Holding that the Public Interest Litigation exception in costs may be relied upon by an unsuccessful applicant against a successful non-government entity

Chan Tsui Yan v Social Workers Registration Board & Ors [2019] HKCA 279
Representing the Social Workers Registration Board in a judicial review against the Board

Kwok Cheuk Kin v Secretary for Justice [2021] 3 HKLRD 591
Application of the Public Interest Litigation exception in costs where there are multiple proceedings at the appellate level

Javid Kamran v Director of Immigration [2021] HKCFI 747
Representing Director of Immigration in judicial review proceedings on the meaning of “ordinarily resided”, the effect of deportation order, the effect of suspensions of deportation order, on principles on humanitarian consideration regarding split families.

Kwok Cheuk Kin v Secretary for Justice [2021] 3 HKLRD 140
Judicial review of the “Co-location Arrangement” of the high speed rail at the West Kowloon Station

Family Law

NF v R [2023] 5 HKLRD 58
A breakthrough for same-sex parents, obtained a declaration of “parent at common law” to a partner in a same-sex relationship

AA v BB [2021] 2 HKLRD 1225Grant of guardianship and joint custody to same-sex couple

LWK v ZQJ [2018] HKFC 117
Anti-suit injunction and application of a forum challenge; impact of filing of a form indicating no intention to defend petition on the question of submission to forum.

Tax Law

Koo Ming Kown & Anor v The Commissioner of Inland Revenue [2021] 3 HKLRD 642
Appeal against decisions of the Inland Revenue Board of Review, successfully challenging a director’s liability to pay additional tax based on an incorrect tax return of the company.

An Evolving Landscape: How Recent Developments are Reshaping Harassment Law on Multiple Fronts


Seminar on developments in anti-harassment law


[CPD Talk] Overview on Anti-Harassment: Civil, Criminal and Family Contexts


Denis Chang’s Chambers organised an open house for local law students


Denis Chang’s Chambers joins community engagement with the Law Society at the annual gala dinner



Landmark ruling for shared motherhood and children parented by female same-sex couples


Pro Bono HK Training Session on Judicial Review in Hong Kong


Hybrid CPD Talk at DCC on 25 October 2023


From specific discovery to permanent relocation of children – Isabel Tam and Ted Chan host seminar on family law


Hong Kong Family Law: Substantial connection, exceptionality and the Greater Bay Area — Jurisdiction after JQ v CLH


Denis Chang’s Chambers supports young talent development at Moot Court Summer School for third consecutive year


Hong Kong Wildlife Law: Isabel Tam and Emily Ting contribute to ADM Capital Foundation’s latest report on Hong Kong’s exotic pet trade


Upcoming Webinar: Advising Owners on Legal Issues: Strategic approaches on Tenants, Building Management, and Compulsory Sale for Redevelopment – 19 August 2022, 2:30pm to 5:45pm


Exemption clauses in the Deed of Mutual Covenant: A built-in shield against liability for building managers?


Small House Policy: Isabel Tam delivers cross-disciplinary webinar to Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors on the implications of CFA’s judgment


Court of Appeal dismisses Inland Revenue’s appeal on company directors’ additional tax liability for signing “incorrect” tax returns


Judicial Review: Court of Final Appeal to rule on constitutionality of Small House Policy


Landmark victory for LGBTQ community: Court of First Instance grants guardianship and joint custody to same-sex, non-biological parent


Isabel Tam joins Rachel Wong and Samantha Lau in delivering seminar on the fundamentals of administrative appeals


Denis Chang’s Chambers co-organises career sharing session with Cambridge University Hong Kong and China Affairs Society


Wildlife Conservation: Hong Kong passes landmark bill to incorporate wildlife trafficking into the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance


Small House Policy judicial review: Court of Appeal extends public interest litigation exception to interested party


Randy Shek and Isabel Tam advise on ADM Capital Foundation’s White Paper on protection of endangered species


Court of Appeal hears arguments in Small House Policy judicial review appeal


Litigation funding in the context of the Family Court: practitioner’s tips


COVID-19 – The Law Unmasked: A New Cluster of Regulations:  An Overview on Compliance and Enforcement Powers for Businesses and Gatherings


COVID-19 – The Law Un-Masked: Primer for Employers and Employees
僱傭法 – 新冠病毒下的法律面貌:給僱主和僱員的法律指南