2013 Legal Aid Department Annual Report
Main Menu
Vision, Mission & Values
Departmental Strategic Plan
Legal Aid Services
Case of Public Interest or Concern
Customer Services
Publicity Programmes
Organisation, Administration and Staffing
  Chapter 4  
Customer Services

The Department is committed to developing and maintaining 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 2013, the Department's actual performance exceeded the various targets set in the performance pledges for processing time.


Payment to Aided Persons and Service Providers

In 2013-14, the Department paid out $571 million to lawyers/experts/other parties and $1,015 million to legally aided persons. During the year, the Department exceeded all performance targets on payment:


Analysis of Legal Aid Costs by Nature of Expenditure

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 2013. The charts at Appendix 2 illustrate the major findings of the survey on customer feedback.


Customer Service Initiatives

Sample Completed Application Forms

In response to customer feedbacks received, the Department has in 2013 prepared 2 more sample completed application forms for applicants receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance or applying in a representative capacity to serve as a guide in completing the application forms. The sample forms were available at the reception counters of the Department's offices and uploaded to the Department's website.


Criminal Legal Aid Leaflet at Duty Lawyers Offices

In response to a suggestion from a member of public, the Department has in 2013 placed the leaflet "How to apply Legal Aid in Criminal Cases" in the Court Liaison Offices of seven Magistrates' Courts for access by persons involved in criminal cases.


Expanded Phone Payment System

Aided persons and the opposite parties in the legally aided proceedings can make payment of contributions, judgment debts or costs of the proceedings to the Department by installment through the Payment by Phone Service ("PPS"). Figures showed that PPS continued to gain popularity among aided persons and the opposite parties as the preferred means of effecting payment to the Department.

Upon the implementation of enabling applicants to make one-off payment of contribution by PPS in 2012, the Department conducted a feasibility study in 2013 on expanding the scope of PPS to cover one-off payment for all other types of payments to the Department including payment of judgment debts or costs by the opposite parties with a view to affording greater convenience to anyone who has to make payments to the Department. The expanded scope would be implemented in 2014.


Mobile version of Means Test Calculator

To further widen public access to our means test calculator, a mobile version 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. In 2013, the mobile version means test calculator received 3 259 hits.


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 a 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.



The Department believes effective handling of complaints is essential to the delivery of quality legal aid services to the public and places a great deal of importance on complaints handling. 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 visit http://www.lad.gov.hk/eng/documents/ppr/publication/Not_Happy_en.pdf to view the leaflet.

In 2013, the Special Duties and Research Unit received 50 representations against grant of legal aid on means and completed investigation in 51 cases. Six 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.

Means representations received and investigation outcome in 2012-2013:

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.

Back to Top
PDF File 繁體版 简体版