Legal Aid Department Legal Aid Department Annual Report 2011
 


 

Chapter 5

Publicity Programmes

The Department is committed to ensure that no one who qualifies for legal aid is denied access to justice because of lack of means. Every year the Department organizes or participates in various activities to enhance the public's awareness and knowledge of the legal aid services provided by the Department.

Promotional Activities

2011 Law Week

The Department joined the Law Society to promote the importance of the rule of law through the activities organised in Law Week 2011. The Week began with an opening ceremony held on 28 November 2011 at TVB City, followed by the broadcast of a TV series on legal related issues on TVB Jade Channel for five consecutive nights from 28 November 2011 to 2 December 2011. Specific legal topics covered included reverse mortgage, conveyancing, personal injury, family disputes and employment laws.



Picture shows officiating guests, the Chief Justice, the Honourable Mr Justice Geoffrey Ma (middle), the Secretary for Justice, Mr Wong Yan Lung, SC (third left), Legislator, the Honourable Ms Margaret Ng (second left), Director of Legal Aid, Mr William Chan (second right), Vice-chairman of Hong Kong Bar Association, Mr Paul Shieh (first left), President of the Law Society, Mr Junis Ho (third right), and the Chairman of the Law Week Organizing Committee, Mr Billy Ma (first right).

Promotion of Legal Aid Services to external bodies/organizations

As part of the reaching out program to the public, the Department gave a number of talks on legal aid services to external bodies/organisations. In July 2011, Acting Assistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel (Legal and Management Support), Miss Ada Wong, gave a talk on "Expansion of Legal Aid for the Middle Class" organized by the Hong Kong Federation of Women. The talk covered the newly implemented improvement measures that affect the financial eligibility of legal aid applicants such as the relaxed financial eligibility limits, the new basis for computing deductible personal allowances and the capital disregards for applicants aged 60 or over.

In September 2011, Assistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel (Crime), Ms YW Mo, gave a talk to over 100 front-line staff from the Correctional Services Department on legal aid services available to prisoners.



In the same month, Senior Legal Aid Counsel (Civil Litigation), Ms Ada Chau and Senior Law Clerk II, Mr Lai Tin Tak briefed the staff of the Labour Department on legal aid services by explaining the legal procedures involved in bankruptcy/winding-up proceedings against employers for the recovery of arrears of wages and relevant statutory provisions governing ex-gratia payments to employees.

Promotional Activities for the Youth

In July 2011, Senior Legal Aid Counsel (Crime) Mr Nelson Kwok met a group of senior secondary students and briefed them on the services provided by the Department. The visit was part of a career exploration programme co-organized by the Sai Kung Tertiary Students Alliance. The talk was followed by a visit to the Department's library.

In November 2011, Assistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel (Application and Processing), Mrs Christina Hadiwibawa gave a guest lecture on Hong Kong legal aid services to the students of the Shue Yan University.

In November 2011, Assistant Director of Legal Aid (Application and Processing), Mr Chris Chong gave a talk to the law students of the Chinese University of Hong Kong introducing the services provided by Department.



Professional officers play a crucial and important role in the delivery of legal aid services. To promote the job of Legal Aid Counsel to aspiring lawyers, the Department obtained funding from the Efficiency Unit and produced a video clip of interviews with 2 young legal aid counsel about their work with the Department. The video clip was put under the Career Kaleidoscope Section of the Unit's youth portal and can be viewed at its website. Please click here to view.

TV documentary on Aided Persons' Liability for Costs and How Monies Recovered Are Released

There is a general mistaken belief that legal aid is free. A TV documentary was filmed in 2011 to enhance the public's understanding on aided persons' duties to contribute to the costs of the aided proceedings out of their own financial resources and if their claims are successful, the fruits of litigation. The documentary also addresses commonly asked questions about the steps involved in finalizing the accounts of the aided proceedings and releasing monies recovered to the aided persons.



The TV documentary is available for public viewing in the Department's offices and at the Department's website. To achieve maximum publicity impact, copies were distributed to relevant government departments and non-government organizations.

Visits to the Department

During the year 2011, the Department received a total of 19 delegations/groups:

19 delegations/groups including :
Overseas bodies - Academics 36 students and 1 teaching staff from Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
Overseas bodies - Officials Delegation from Legal Aid Foundation, Taiwan
Delegation of Government Officials from the Legal Affairs Bureau and the Law Reform and International Law Bureau of the Government of Macao SAR
Mainland - Academics Law students from the Shantou University
LLM students from Peking University
Peking University School of Transnational Law
Delegation of NGO personnel and law students from Wuhan University and Beijing University
Chinese law scholars from universities of Mainland China
Mainland - Officials Mr Huang Liuquan, Director-General, Department of Law, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Mainland China
Delegation of Government Officials from the Legal Affairs Bureau and the Law Reform and International Law Bureau of the Government of Macao SAR
Mainland officials under Training Scheme in Common Law 2010/2011
Senior officials from Dongguan
Senior government officials from "Hainan Public Finance Training Program"
Chinese Senior Judges
Chinese lawyers (being members of the Constitution and Human Rights Committee of the All-China Lawyer's Association)
Local - Academics Law students from University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong
High School students under the "Career Exploration Programme" (¾~ͲPp)


Please click here for the details and photos of the events http://www.lad.gov.hk/eng/wnew/event.html.

Public Information

LAD News

As part of the Department's continuing efforts to enhance public awareness and understanding of legal aid, the Department published the Legal Aid Department News (LAD News) to keep the public informed of the latest developments of legal aid services delivered by the Department.

In December 2011, the 37th issue of LAD News was issued explaining in detail the improved measures on the assessment of applicants' financial eligibility. Examples of single, married and old-aged applicants were adopted to illustrate how the increased personal allowances, newly-introduced capital disregard for applicants aged 60 or above and the substantially increased financial eligibility limits for both the Ordinary and Supplementary Legal Aid Schemes have combined to widen public access to legal aid services in Hong Kong. The newsletter also covered the free interpretation service for ethnic minorities applicants and the reduced prescribed interest rate of the Director of Legal Aid's first charge registered on aided persons' home.

During the year, the Department also revised other publications such as the Financial Information Sheet which contained comprehensive information on financial eligibility, contributions payable by aided person towards the costs of litigation and the Director of Legal Aid's First Charge.

New Factsheet on Mediation

In 2011, a new factsheet on "Mediation in Legally-Aided Matrimonial Cases" was produced to enhance aided person's understanding on how legal aid can help when engaged in matrimonial proceedings.

Important Notices for Aided Persons

The Department has published a series of Important Notices for Legally Aided Persons advising aided persons on salient matters an aided person has to know such as responsibilities of aided person whilst receiving legal aid, costs liabilities and the monitoring role of the Department.

In 2011, the Important Notices for Legally Aided Persons - Application & Processing Division, the Important Notices for Legally Aided Persons - Family Litigation and the Important Notices for Legally Aided Persons - Insolvency Litigation were revised.

A list of publications of the Department is at Appendix 5.

Website

The Department regularly updates the contents of its website to provide comprehensive and timely information to the public and legal aid practitioners. In 2011, the Department added a new function at the masthead of the website enabling viewers to change the text size up to 5 different scales. Members of public especially those with mild visual impairments can view the enlarged font size of the text more easily without content or functionality loss or the need for web aiding tools such as screen magnifier.
 



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