2013 Legal Aid Department Annual Report
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To begin with, I would like to share with you some of the major initiatives implemented by the Department during 2013 as part of our continuous effort in delivering professional and quality legal aid services to meet the ever-changing needs and growing expectations of the community.

  Thomas Edward KWONG
Director of Legal Aid

Enhancement of E-Communication

In January 2013, with a view to expedite the referral process for wages claims and with the support of the Labour Department, new arrangement has been put in place whereby case information of intended applicants are sent to us through the Department's Portal. Processing of these cases commences instantaneously as soon as the information are received.

The Department's Portal was further enhanced in March 2013 to make it more user friendly for legal aid practitioners. All panel lawyers were issued with individual ID and password for instant access to our Portal. The previous requirement for an Electronic Certificate has been dispensed with. Panel Lawyers have since been able to submit update of their personal information and experience as well as certain case reports by electronic means.

Implementation of a New Declaration System

To address the public's growing concern on improper touting in legal aid cases, a new declaration system was introduced in September 2013 after consultation with the Legal Aid Services Council and the two branches of the legal profession.

The objective of the new system is to ensure that the aided person's choice of lawyers in assigned out cases has not been affected by improper conduct on the part of the lawyers nominated. The aided persons is required to give a written declaration in support of his / her nomination. As for the nominated lawyer, the declaration is incorporated into the assignment letter as one of the conditions. The lawyer nominated is obliged to return the papers to the Department if he / she cannot fulfil this new condition.

  Thomas Edward KWONG
Director of Legal Aid

Promotion of Quality Customer Services

We value our customers' comments and feedback which serve our objective in the delivery of quality customer service to the public. During this year, the legal aid application process was further simplified by the consolidation of the consent forms to be signed by our applicants. Such was done in response to a suggestion from an applicant.

To further promote our services to the public, leaflets on criminal legal aid have been placed at the Duty Lawyer's Court Liaison Office at seven Magistrates Courts throughout Hong Kong. In addition, 40 QR codes for our publications were created in July 2013 for public access.

Looking Ahead

First of all, I would like to thank the Legal Aid Services Council and the Home Affairs Bureau for their unfaltering support to the Department throughout the year. I am also very grateful to our assigned lawyers from the two branches of the legal profession for their professionalism and valuable contributions in their conduct of our assigned out cases. Finally, my heartfelt appreciation to my colleagues who had worked so diligently throughout the year with commitment to deliver quality legal aid services to the public.

In the year ahead, we shall continue to work closely with our stakeholders towards maintaining an efficient and effective legal aid system in Hong Kong.



Thomas Edward KWONG
Director of Legal Aid

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