2014 Legal Aid Department Annual Report
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Vision, Mission & Values
Departmantal Strategic Plan
Legal Aid Service
Case of Public Interest or Concern
Customer Service
Publicity Programmes
Organistion, 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 2014, the Department's actual performance in meeting various targets set for processing time was set out below:


Payment to Aided Persons and Service Providers

In 2014-15, the Department paid out $567 million to lawyers/experts/other parties and $1,106 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 the public, the Department regularly conducts comprehensive surveys on customer feedback on different aspects of the legal aid services. The surveys cover 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 have been 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 2014. The charts at Appendix2 illustrate the major findings of the survey on customer feedback.


Customer Service Initiatives

Office Accommodation

To provide a more comfortable service area for the public, the reception areas of the Information & Application Services Unit of Kowloon Branch Office on the G/F of Mongkok Government Offices were fully renovated in November 2014. Upgraded barrier-free access and facilities in compliance with the latest barrier-free design standard including tactile guide paths and accessible reception counters were adopted to enhance accessibility by the public.


Expanded Phone Payment System (PPS)

Following the enhancement of allowing one-off payment of contribution by PPS in 2012, the scope of PPS has been further expanded since 2014 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.


Payment through Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and internet banking

In addition to the existing payment methods provided to the public for making payments of contributions, judgment debts or costs of the proceedings to the Department in cash, by cheque or through PPS, the Department has explored the feasibility to accept payments made through ATMs or internet banking with a view to affording greater convenience to anyone who has to make payments to the Department. The system would be enhanced to provide the aforesaid payment alternatives and the enhancements are targeted to be implemented in 2015.


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 2014, the Special Duties and Research Unit received 62 representations against grant of legal aid on means and completed investigation in 62 cases. Eight 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 two cases, whether an offence was also committed under Section 18A of the Theft Ordinance, Cap. 210; and in one case, whether an offence was also committed under Section 36 of Crimes Ordinance, Cap. 200, in addition to the two aforementioned Ordinances.

Means representations received and investigation outcome in 2013-2014:

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.

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