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Assignment of Legal Aid Cases

Circumstances under which Cases are Assigned Out to Private Practitioners on the Panel

For civil cases, except for public law cases which are all assigned out and Insolvency and seaman's wages claims which are all handled in-house, regard will be given to the following factors in considering whether a case should be assigned out:

(a) whether parties to proceedings are both legally aided, if so, both parties or at least one of them must be represented by a private practitioner in accordance with Section 12 of the Legal Aid Ordinance;
(b) whether a conflict of interest arises or is likely to arise, e.g. an action against the Legal Aid Department;
(c) whether the aided person was already represented by a private practitioner before the grant of legal aid;
(d) whether the case is connected to other cases which have been assigned out if so, the case will usually be assigned to the same private practitioner; and
(e) whether the capacity and workload of the Litigation Division permits new cases to be taken up.

For criminal cases, all District Court trial cases are assigned out. The Department will take into account the following factors in determining if a Court of First Instance or appeal case should be assigned out:

(a) whether the capacity and workload of the Criminal Litigation Section permits new cases to be taken up;
(b) whether the aided person was already represented by a private practitioner before the grant of legal aid; and
(c) whether the case involves multi-defendants where a conflict of interest arises or likely to arise that necessitates separate representation.