Chapter 1

Departmental Strategic Plan

The Department's strategic plan sets out our objectives and describes how the objectives can be achieved.  The strategic plan provides a rational basis upon which priorities are determined and is regularly updated to ensure that resources are well targeted and used effectively having regard to the changing needs of society.

The Department's strategic plan can be viewed at the Department's website.

(Rear row from left) Ms Sherman Cheung Suk-ying, Mr Allan Chan Wing-cho, Mrs Annie Williams Ka-ding, Miss Linda Ng Wing-ping, Mrs Christina Hadiwibawa Cheung Ying-man, Ms Mo Yuk-wah, Ms Juliana Chan Oi-yung, Mr Chris Chong Yan-tung
(Front row from left) Ms Alice Chung Yee-ling, Ms Jennie Hui Lai-yung, Mr William Chan Heung-ping, Mr Thomas Edward Kwong

Implementation of the Strategic Plan in 2010

Processing of Legal Aid Applications and Monitoring of Assigned Out cases:

The Administration has completed the five-yearly review of the criteria for assessing financial eligibility for legal aid applicants. Recommendations resulted from the review were submitted to the Legal Aid Services Council and the Legislative Council Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services in 2010 for consultation. The Department would assist the Home Affairs Bureau to implement the recommended improvement measures as endorsed by the Panel which is anticipated to take place in 2011.

Director of Legal Aid, Mr. William Chan (centre left), Deputy Director of Legal Aid (Application and Processing), Mr. Thomas Kwong (third left), Acting Deputy Director of Legal Aid (Administration), Ms. Alice Chung (first left), Acting Deputy Director of Legal Aid (Litigation), Mrs. Annie Williams (second left) and Principal Assistant Secretary (Civic Affairs) for Home Affairs Bureau, Ms. Christine Chow (third from right) received the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Law, Singapore, Mr. Pang Kin Keong (centre right), on 16 November 2010, and exchanged views on the legal aid services of the two regions.

Since 2009 when funding support was made available to legally aided person involved in civil proceedings to attempt mediation as an alternative means of resolving disputes, the number of aided persons opting to undergo and the costs incurred for mediation were on the increase.  On 24 April 2010, Ms Juliana OY Chan, Assistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel from the Application and Processing Division, spoke at the Seminar on Mediation organized by the Legal Aid Services Council giving practical tips on mediation and legal aid to legal practitioners and mediators.

In support of the Civil Justice Reform's objective of facilitating the settlement of disputes through mediation, the Department arranged in-house talks on mediation by judges and qualified mediators enabling staff to know how mediation works in practice so that they can adequately and effectively dealt with requests for funding approval for mediation and offer competent advice on the use of mediation in legally aided proceedings handled in house. The Department also enhanced the Case Management & Case Accounting System (CM&CAS) to collect relevant data on mediation which would assist the Department in monitoring the use of mediation.

Director of Legal Aid, Mr. William Chan (left) met with Chairman of New Zealand Legal Aid Services Agency Board, the Hon Sir John Hansen (right) to discuss and exchange ideas about legal aid in Hong Kong and in New Zealand during his visit to the Department on 30 June 2010.

Information System

The current version of the computer operating system and database software for CMCAS that supports the work of over 500 staff in the Department is more than 7 years old. To ensure smooth day to day operation, the Department has received approval of its funding bid for the upgrading of the CMCAS.  System enhancement work would take place throughout 2010 with a target completion date by the end of 2011.

LAD was invited to participate in a government-wide pilot project for formulating electronic information management (EIM) strategy on content management, record management and knowledge management.  The pilot project lasted for about six months and was completed in October 2010.

EIM initiatives were identified during the study and it was recommended that the initiatives should be implemented by phases. The Department has submitted a bid for implementation of phase 1 of the recommendations which in the main involves the establishment of an information management foundation for managing electronic information and the setting up of an information storage database.

The Department's website plays an important role in promoting the work and services of the Department among the general public and legal practitioners.  It was last revamped in 2005 and a working group was set up in 2010 to enhance the website and keep it user convenient and up-to-date. The revamped website with enhanced user-friendly features was launched in November 2010.

Homepage of Legal Aid Department

Customer Services

The Department accords high priority in the area of enhancing customer services on an on-going basis.

In order to provide more options for aided persons and judgment debtors to make payment to the Department, the Phone Payment System (PPS) was implemented in June 2010 to accept payment of monthly installment of contributions and judgment sums.

In a further effort to promote the legal aid services among ethnic minorities residing in Hong Kong, the Department published one more leaflet on legal aid service for the Tamil speaking ethic minorities.

To follow up on customer feedbacks received in 2009, the Department produced sample completed application forms for display at the application counters of the Department's offices and uploaded to the Department's website.


The Department continued to promote public awareness and understanding of legal aid services in 2010.  Mrs. Christina Hadiwibawa, Assistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel (Civil Litigation) appeared in a 1-min Law Week 2010 TV promotion programme advising on the availability of lodging the pre-application for legal aid through the Department's e-portal.

Assistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel (Civil Litigation), Mrs. Christina Hadiwibawa (right) took part in a series of 10 episodes of 1-min TV series as part of the promotional programme for Law Week 2010.

In October 2010, Ms KM Lee, Senior Legal Aid Counsel from the Application and Processing Division, delivered a talk to the social workers and battered women of Po Leung Kuk introducing the legal aid services provided by the Department and discussing issues on matrimonial proceedings including custody and injunction.

Picture shows Senior Legal Aid Counsel (Application and Processing), Ms. K M Lee, speaking to the social workers and battered women of Po Leung Kuk.

Assistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel (Civil Litigation), Mr. Chris Chong, spoke at a seminar hosted by SAFP of the Macau SAR Government on comparison of the legal aid systems in the four regions across the Strait - Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau on 26 September 2010 on the Hong Kong legal aid system.

Picture shows Assistant Principal Legal Aid Counsel (Civil Litigation), Mr. Chris Chong, (left) speaking at the seminar.

To strengthen our partnership with the legal profession in delivering quality legal aid service, the Director joined the Hon Margaret Ng's Friday Tea Workshop on 12 November 2010 and delivered a talk to the legal professions on "Handling Legal Aid and Private-Funded Cases -Some Essential Differences".

Director of Legal Aid, Mr. William Chan (left) explained to the legal professions on "Handling legal aid and privately funded cases - some essential differences".


A wide range of courses were arranged in 2010 to meet the training needs of staff at all levels.

Training courses included in-house workshops on Answering Hotlines Enquiries, How to Reply to Complaints and How to Assess Assigned Solicitors' Bills.  Talks on mediation, Race Discrimination Ordinance and Employees Compensation Claims were organized for both legal aid counsel grade and law clerk grade officers.  In-house Putonghua courses were also organized for directorate staff, professional officers and law clerks.