Legal Aid Department Legal Aid Department Annual Report 2011


Chapter 4

Customer Services

The Department is committed to develop and maintain a highly-motivated, caring and responsive workforce and keeps finding ways to better its performance through a customer-focused approach when delivering its services.

Performance Pledges

Processing of Applications

In 2011, the Department's actual performance exceeded the various targets set in the performance pledges for processing time.

Types of Applications
Standard Processing Time
Performance Targets
Actual Performance in 2011
Civil Legal Aid
Within 3 months from the date of application
85% 90%
Criminal Legal Aid Appeals

- 上訴要求減刑
- Appeal against sentence

- 上訴推翻原判
- Appeal against conviction

Within 2 months from the date of application

Within 3 months from the date of application




Court of First Instance of the High Court / District Court
Within 10 working days from the date of application
90% 94%
Committal proceedings
Within 8 working days from the date of application
90% 94%

Payment to Aided Persons and Service Providers

In 2011-12, the Department paid out $463 million to lawyers/experts/other parties and $788 million to legally aided persons. During the year, the Department exceeded all performance targets on payment:

Payment Targets
Service Delivery Standard
Performance Targets
Actual Performance in 2011
Aided Persons
Interim Payment
Within 1 month from receipt of monies due to the aided person and/or receipt of estimation of costs from the assigned solicitor, whichever is appropriate.
95% 99%
Final Payment
Within 6 weeks from date of agreement of all costs and disbursements related to the case, and receipt of all monies due to the aided person and the Director of Legal Aid.
95% 99%
Lawyers / Experts / Other Parties
Advance Payment
在收到帳單後6 個星期內支付。
Within 6 weeks from receipt of bill.
95% 99%
Balance Payment
Within 6 weeks from date of agreement of all costs and disbursements related to the case, or receipts of all monies due to the aided person and the Director of Legal Aid, whichever is later.
95% 99%

Analysis of Legal Aid Costs by Nature of Expenditure

Nature of Expenditure
Solicitors Costs
279.8 255.7
Counsel Fees
155.4 137.7
Doctors Fees
8.3 8.3
Opposite Party Costs
18.2 15.9
Others (Note)
43.6 45.6
505.3 463.2

Note: These include expenses for land and company searches, court fees & taxing fees, law (costs) draftsman's fee, expert's fee, copying charges, bank charges, and miscellaneous expenses.

Customer Feedback

With a view to enhancing our provision of services to public, the Department regularly conducted comprehensive surveys on customer feedback on different aspects of the legal aid services. The surveys covered the application and processing procedures for legal aid and the Department's in-house litigation services. Different methodologies such as on the spot collection and mail surveys were used depending on the points of contact and on the stages and types of services rendered to the customers.  The overall customer satisfaction level remained high in 2011.  The charts at Appendix 2 illustrate the major findings of the survey on customer feedback.

Enquiries, Complaints and Representations

The Department places great importance on enquiries, complaints and representations received from our customers. Customer's concerns and suggestions are viewed by the Department as a means of improving its service and ensuring the fulfilment of its statutory functions. The Departmental Customer Service Manager who is senior directorate would meet with a team of Assistant Customer Service Managers and Officers regularly to review feedbacks and concerns on our services and recommend follow up actions where necessary. As a result of feedback received, the Department produced a documentary video explaining the working of the Director's First Charge and the payment procedures for damages received.


The Department places a great deal of importance on complaints handling because an effective complaints handling system is essential to the delivery of quality legal aid services. The Assistant Director of Legal Aid/Policy and Development has been designated the Complaint Liaison Officer to coordinate the handling of all the complaints received. Members of the public may lodge complaints in person with the Customer Service Officers of individual sections or by telephone or in writing to the Department by post, email or by fax. All complaints received will be handled according to the Department's complaint handling mechanism which is in compliance with the Government's general complaint handling guidelines. The Department will investigate and handle all complaints impartially and expeditiously. In general, an interim reply will be given within 10 days if the complaint is complicated, and a substantive reply will be given within 30 days after receipt of a complaint.


To qualify for legal aid, applicants must pass both the means and merits tests. If anyone believes that a person should not have been given legal aid on means and/or merits, they can write to us and let us know the reasons. The Application and Processing Division is responsible for conducting review into representations against grant of legal aid on merits. Representations against grant of legal aid on means are handled by the Special Duties and Research Unit. The Department has published a leaflet to explain the investigation system and to address the frequently asked questions. Please click here to view the leaflet.

In 2011, the Special Duties and Research Unit received 45 representations against grant of legal aid on means and completed investigation in 54 cases. Two cases were not pursued as there were no concrete and specific evidence for the Department to conduct meaningful investigation. A total of 16 cases were referred to the police for investigation as to whether any offence was committed under section 23 of the Legal Aid Ordinance, Cap. 91 and in one case, whether an offence was also committed under section 18A of the Theft Ordinance, Cap. 210. As at 31 December 2011, there were two successful police prosecutions. One of the aided persons was sentenced to 2 months imprisonment suspended for two years. The other was given a 120 hours community service order.

Means representations received and investigation outcome in 2010-2011:

LAD's Hotline Service - the Interactive Voice Response System

The Department's hotline service provides a fast and convenient means for members of the public to learn about the legal aid services. It has recorded messages in Cantonese, Putonghua and English on different aspects of legal aid services such as application procedures, eligibility criteria for civil and criminal legal aid, the aided person's liability to contribute towards the costs of aided proceedings etc. Where necessary, callers can speak to a staff member of the Department who will answer their queries concerning legal aid during office hours.

Customer Service Initiatives

Interpretation Service to Ethnic Minorities Applicants

As a customer service initiative to enhance access to legal aid service for potential applicants who are of ethnic minority origins and who do not speak English or Chinese, a poster in Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, Vietnamese has been designed and put on display advising them of the availability of interpretation service to help them with the application process. The service is free. Any persons who require interpretation service for these 10 languages can make use of the service request forms which are written in the 10 languages to make known their need for interpretation to our staff at the reception counter or download the leaflet about the service in the Department's webpage for information.

Mobile version of Means Test Calculator

A mobile version of means test calculator was developed in July 2011 enabling prospective legal aid applicants to make a preliminary assessment of their financial eligibility for legal aid via mobile phone. Up to the end of 2011 the mobile version means test calculator received 451 hits.

Back to Top
繁體版 簡体版
print main  
Vision, Mission & Values
Departmental Strategic Plan
Legal Aid Services
Case of Public Interest or Concern
Customer Services
Publicity Programmes
Organisation, Administration and Staffing