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Sound Clips

Information on Legal Aid

 

 

The following sound clips aim to provide the public with general information on legal aid and are for reference only, and should not be regarded as the authoritative statement of the law.

The sound clips are also available in our Interactive Voice Recording System (IVRS). You can access this system by dialing the 24-hour telephone hotline 2537 7677. Self-service Call-flow Diagram

Please select among the following topics: -

Eligibility criteria & application procedure

If you wish to take or defend legal proceedings but cannot afford to hire the service of a private lawyer, you may apply for legal aid. Legal Aid covers proceedings in the District Court, the Court of First Instance of the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal. It is also available for hearing in the Mental Health Review Tribunal and in the Coroners' Court where the interests of public justice require that legal aid be given.

To qualify for legal aid, you must show you have reasonable grounds for taking or defending the proceedings.

You also have to show that your financial resources which are made up of your annual disposable income and disposable capital do not exceed $420,400. If you have reached the age of 60, an amount of capital equal to the financial eligibility limit of the Ordinary Legal Aid Scheme, i.e. $420,400, will not be counted as your capital. The Director of Legal Aid can waive the financial limit in cases which involve a possible breach of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance or an inconsistency with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as applied to Hong Kong. Information as to how your income and capital are calculated and what deductions can be made is set out in a leaflet titled “How your Financial Resources and Contribution are Calculated”. You can either approach our offices to obtain the leaflet or visit our website at www.lad.gov.hk. If you would like to obtain the leaflet by fax, you may press * key to return to the Main Menu and then press 9 to select the relevant leaflet.

If you are under 18, you may only apply for legal aid through your mother, father or guardian.

If you wish to apply for Legal Aid, you may apply in person either at the Legal Aid Departmentᅳ Hong Kong Office at 25/F, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong or its Kowloon Branch Office at G/F, Mongkok Government Office, 30 Luen Wan Street, Mongkok, Kowloon.

The telephone number of the Hong Kong Office is : 2537 7652; Repeat, 2537 7652.
The Kowloon Branch Office Telephone No. is : 2399 2544; repeat, 2399 2544.

If you are 18 years of age or over and it is a non-urgent case, you can submit pre-application information online as a first step towards making an application for legal aid through the Legal Aid Electronic Services Portal (LAESP) via our department's website at www.lad.gov.hk.

By accessing LAESP, you can download the “Legal Aid Pre-application Information Form” after answering some key questions. The form, once filled in, can be forwarded online to LAD. LAD will acknowledge receipt of the information through LAESP and assign you a transaction reference number. Once LAD has checked that the information supplied is in order, you will be given an appointment to make a formal application.

Legal aid may not be free. An aided person may be required to pay for the services provided if legal aid is granted. For details, press the * key to return to the main menu and then press 4.

Family disputes

If you wish to take or defend divorce proceedings or to pursue in court custody of the children of the family, maintenance for yourself and the children, property adjustment or to enforce or vary any maintenance, custody or access order, you may apply for legal aid.

The following documents, if available, are needed when you apply for legal aid to take divorce proceedings:

  • Marriage certificate;
  • Birth certificates of children;
  • Separation Agreement;
  • Consent letter for Divorce; and
  • Copy of your spouse's identity card.

The following documents, if available, are needed when you apply for legal aid to enforce or vary a court order such as a maintenance order:

  • All Court order;
  • Divorce petition;
  • Social investigation report;
  • Affirmation of means; and
  • Other relevant court documents and correspondence.

If the matter is urgent, for example when you suspect a sale of the matrimonial home or assets by your spouse or in the case of domestic violence, you can notify the staff of Legal Aid Department and the Department will accord priority to your application.

To qualify for legal aid, you must pass a means test and a merits test.

Legal aid may not be free. A person who litigates at public expense may be required to contribute towards or reimburse the costs and expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department by paying a contribution or through the operation of the Director of Legal Aid's First Charge.

Negligence claim in a personal injury case

If you have been injured or your relative has been killed in an accident in which a third party is at fault, you may apply for legal aid to help you take legal action to claim damages from the negligent party. If it is a work-related accident, please press 2 to return to the sub-menu and then press 4 to obtain information on claiming employees’ compensation.

For quick cash assistance after a traffic accident, you or the victim's dependants may approach the Social Welfare Department and apply under the Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Scheme. For further information, please call the Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Section of the Social Welfare Department at 2834 7472. repeat 2834 7472.

The following documents, if available, are needed when you apply for legal aid:

  • Statement given by you or other witnesses to the Police;
  • Correspondence(s) with the Police, insurance companies or their agents or loss adjustors;
  • Sick leave certificates and medical reports; and
  • Details of payment made under the Traffic Accident Victims Assistance Scheme.

There is a time limit for pursuing a negligence claim. Generally a claim must be lodged with the Court within 3 years from the date of accident. If you require legal aid to assist you to pursue the claim, you should give the Legal Aid Department sufficient time to process your application and should avoid making the application when the time limit is about to expire.

To qualify for legal aid, you must pass a means test and a merits test. Please press 2 to return to the sub-menu and then press 1 for details.

Legal aid may not be free. A person who litigates at public expense may be required to contribute towards or reimburse the costs and expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department by paying a contribution or through the operation of the Director of Legal Aid's First Charge.

Employees' compensation in a personal injury case

According to the Employees' Compensation Ordinance, an employee who is injured or the family member of an employee killed while at work is entitled to claim against the employer for compensation.

If the accident involves the negligence of a third party, the injured employee or the family member of the deceased employee may also pursue a separate common law claim for damages. For details, please press 2 to return to the sub-menu and then press 3. Your application for legal aid must be made as soon as possible.

If you require legal aid to help you make a claim for employees’ compensation, the following documents, if available, are needed when you apply for legal aid:

  • Employment contract;
  • Records on earnings;
  • All documents that you have supplied to and received from the Labour Department;
  • If proceedings have already been commenced, copies of all court documents;
  • Medical reports and medical assessment certificates;
  • Hospital admission and follow-up treatment cards;
  • Sick leave certificates; and
  • Receipts of hospital and medical expenses.

There is a time limit for claiming employees’ compensation. Generally the claim must be lodged with the Court within 2 years from the date of accident. If you require legal aid to assist you to pursue the claim, you should give the Legal Aid Department sufficient time to process your application and should avoid making the application when the time limit is about to expire.

To qualify for legal aid, you must pass a means test and a merits test. Please press 2 to return to the sub-menu and then press 1 for details.

Legal aid may not be free. A person who litigates at public expense may be required to contribute towards or reimburse the costs and expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department by paying a contribution or through the operation of the Director of Legal Aid's First Charge.

Employment disputes

If you have an employment dispute, you may first approach the Labour Relations Service of the Labour Department which will try to help you to settle the dispute amicably. If the dispute cannot be settled, you can consider lodging a claim in the Labour Tribunal.

Legal aid is not available for proceedings in the Labour Tribunal. However, you may consider applying for legal aid:

  • to continue a claim that has been transferred to the District Court or the Court of First Instance of the High Court;
  • to enforce a Labour Tribunal award;
  • to appeal against a decision of the Labour Tribunal; and
  • to oppose an appeal against a decision of the Labour Tribunal.

The following documents, if available, are needed when you apply for legal aid:

  • Employment contract;
  • Court documents relating to your claim in the Labour Tribunal and a court orders; and
  • Other relevant documents such as wage slips.

To qualify for legal aid, you must pass a means test and a merits test. Please press 2 to return to the sub-menu and then press 1 for details.

Legal aid may not be free. A person who litigates at public expense may be required to contribute towards or reimburse the costs and expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department by paying a contribution or through the operation of the Director of Legal Aid's First Charge.

Land and tenancy disputes

You may apply for legal aid in respect of land and tenancy disputes which are dealt with by the Court of First Instance or District Court.

The following documents, if available, are needed when you apply for legal aid:

  • Court documents and orders;
  • Tenancy agreement;
  • Rent receipts, Government Land License fee receipts; and
  • Other relevant documents.

To qualify for legal aid, you must pass a means test and a merits test.

Legal aid may not be free. A person who litigates at public expense may be required to contribute towards or reimburse the costs and expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department by paying a contribution or through the operation of the Director of Legal Aid's First Charge. Please press 2 to return to the sub-menu and then press 1 for details.

Immigration related matters

You may apply for legal aid to take judicial review proceedings if the Immigration Department or the Immigration Tribunal has made a decision affecting your stay in Hong Kong,

The following documents, if available, are needed when you apply for legal aid:

  • Recognizance paper if you are on bail;
  • Correspondence exchanged with the Immigration Department or Tribunal including
  • Removal/Deportation Order, Summary of Facts and Reasons for the Removal/Deportation;
  • Appeal papers against the Removal/Deportation Order; and
  • Other papers which help establish your right to stay in Hong Kong such as a birth certificate.

To qualify for legal aid, you must pass a means test and a merits test.

Legal aid may not be free. A person who litigates at public expense may be required to contribute towards or reimburse the costs and expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department by paying a contribution or through the operation of the Director of Legal Aid's First Charge. Please press 2 to return to the sub-menu and then press 1 for details.

Coroner's inquests

Whether there is a claim for compensation arising from a death or not, legal aid may be granted to the family of a deceased person if the Director of Legal Aid is of the opinion that the interests of public justice require that legal aid be given so that the family can be represented by a lawyer at the inquest held under the Coroners Ordinance.

The family of a deceased refers to the surviving spouse, child, father, mother, brother or sister of the deceased, but only one of them will be granted legal aid. If the Director is satisfied that none of these relatives is alive or can reasonably be granted legal aid, he may then grant legal aid to any other person whom he regards as a surviving close relative of the deceased.

The following documents, if available, are needed when you apply for legal aid:

  • Police Investigation Report;
  • Other government departments’ investigation reports;
  • Medical reports; and
  • Written proof of your relationship with the deceased such as marriage certificate or birth certificates.

To qualify for legal aid, you must pass a means test and a merits test. Please press 2 to return to the sub-menu and then press 1 for details.

Legal aid may not be free. A person who litigates at public expense may be required to contribute towards or reimburse the costs and expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department by paying a contribution or through the operation of the Director of Legal Aid's First Charge.

How to apply for legal aid in appeal cases

You may apply for legal aid if you wish to appeal against a conviction or sentence in a criminal case.

To qualify for legal aid in an appeal case, you must pass a means test and a merits test. For the means test, you must show that your financial resources do not exceed $420,400. In considering your financial resources, the Legal Aid Department will take into account your salary, savings and all other capital assets. Certain allowable deductions are excluded from the calculation of your financial resources, such as rent, income tax and statutory allowance for your living expenses and that of your dependants. The value of your only and main dwelling is also disregarded in computing the amount of your capital assets. If you have reached the age of 60, an amount of capital equal to the financial eligibility limit of the Ordinary Legal Aid Scheme, i.e. $420,400, will not be counted as your capital.

If you qualify for legal aid on means, you may have to pay a contribution towards the legal costs of your appeal. The level of your contribution depends on your financial resources.

If you want to know more about the calculation of financial resources, you may approach our office in person to get a leaflet on "How your Financial Resources and Contribution are Calculated" or visit the Department's website at www.lad.gov.hk. If you want to get the leaflet by fax, you may press * key to return to the Main Menu and then press 9 to select the relevant leaflet.

If your financial resources exceed the statutory limit, you may still be granted legal aid subject to payment of a contribution if the Director is satisfied that it is desirable in the interests of justice to do so having regard to the circumstances of your case.

For the merits test, you will be granted legal aid if the Director of Legal Aid is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for appeal. For appeals against conviction in cases involving murder, treason or piracy with violence, you will be given legal aid whether or not there are grounds for an appeal.

There are 3 ways in which you can apply for legal aid:

  • If you are in custody, you can tell the Correctional Services staff you want to apply for legal aid and they will help you fill out an application form. The application will then be forwarded to the Legal Aid Department for our consideration.
  • If you are not in custody, you may apply for legal aid in person at the office of the Legal Aid Department, Crime Section on the 25th floor, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. The telephone number is 2867 3067. Repeat 2867 3067.
    The opening hours of Crime Section are Monday to Thursday from 8.45am to 1pm and from 2pm to 5.45pm, and on Friday from 8.30am to 1pm and from 2pm to 6pm. Office is closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
  • If no date has been fixed for the hearing of your case, you can submit pre-application information online as a first step towards making an application for legal aid through the Legal Aid Electronic Services Portal (LAESP) via LAD’s website at www.lad.gov.hk.
  • By accessing LAESP, you can download the “Legal Aid Pre-application Information Form” after answering some key questions. The form, once filled in, can be forwarded online to LAD. LAD will acknowledge receipt of the information through LAESP and assign you a transaction reference number. Once LAD has checked that the information supplied is in order, you will be given an appointment to make a formal application.

Whether you wish to apply for legal aid or not, if your case was heard in the Magistrates Court and you wish to appeal against any conviction, or sentence of a magistrate, you must give written notice of your appeal by attending the Appeal Clerk of the magistracy within 14 days after the conviction or sentence. If your case was heard in the District Court or the Court of First Instance of the High Court, you must apply for an appeal within 28 days.

How to apply for legal aid in cases conducted in the Court of First Instance of the High Court or the District Court

You may apply for legal aid if you have been committed to the Court of First Instance of the High Court or the District Court for trial of any criminal offences.

To qualify for legal aid, you must pass a means test and a merits test. For the means test, you must show that your financial resources do not exceed $420,400. In considering your financial resources, the Legal Aid Department will take into account your salary, savings and all other capital assets. Certain allowable deductions are excluded from the calculation of your financial resources, such as rent, income tax and statutory allowance for your living expenses and that of your dependants. The value of your only and main dwelling is also disregarded in computing the amount of your capital assets. If you have reached the age of 60, an amount of capital equal to the financial eligibility limit of the Ordinary Legal Aid Scheme, i.e. $420,400, will not be counted as your capital.

If you qualify for legal aid on means, you may have to pay a contribution towards the legal costs of your defense. The level of your contribution depends on your financial resources.

If you want to know more about the calculation of financial resources, you may approach our office in person to get a leaflet on "How your Financial Resources and Contribution are Calculated" or visit the Department's website www.lad.gov.hk. If you want to get the leaflet by fax, you may press * key to return to the Main Menu and then press 9 to select the relevant leaflet.

If your financial resources exceed the statutory limit, you may still be granted legal aid subject to payment of a contribution if the Director is satisfied that it is desirable in the interests of justice to do so having regard to the circumstances of your case.

For the merits test, legal aid will be, in the interest of justice, granted to you so long as you pass the means test. This is irrespective of whether you plead guilty or not guilty to the charges.

There are 3 ways in which you may apply for legal aid:

1) If you are in custody, you can tell the Correctional Services staff that you want to apply for legal aid and they will help you fill out an application form. The application will then be forwarded to the Legal Aid Department for our consideration.
2) If you are not in custody, you may apply for legal aid in person at the office of the Legal Aid Department, Crime Section on the 25th floor of, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. The telephone number is 2867 3067. repeat 2867 3067.
The opening hours of Crime Section are Monday to Thursday from 8.45am to 1pm and from 2pm to 5.45pm, and on Friday from 8.30am to 1pm and from 2pm to 6pm. Office is closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
3) If no date has been fixed for the hearing of your case, you can submit pre-application information online as a first step towards making an application for legal aid through Legal Aid Electronic Services Portal (LAESP) via LAD’s website at www.lad.gov.hk.

By accessing LAESP, you can download the “Legal Aid Pre-application Information Form” after answering some key questions. The form, once filled in, can be forwarded online to LAD. LAD will acknowledge receipt of the information through LAESP and assign you a transaction reference number. Once LAD has checked that the information supplied is in order, you will be given an appointment to make a formal application.

How to apply for legal aid in Committal proceedings in Magistrate's Court

If you are charged with an offence in the Magistrate's Court and require legal representation, you could approach the Court Liaison Officer of the Duty Lawyer Scheme for assistance. Legal aid is available only in proceedings where the Prosecution is seeking committal of your case to the Court of First Instance of the High Court for trial.

To qualify for legal aid, you must pass a means test and a merits test.

For the means test, you must show that your financial resources do not exceed $420,400. In considering your financial resources, the Legal Aid Department would take into account your salary, savings and all other capital assets. Certain allowable deductions are excluded from the calculation of your financial resources, such as rent, income tax and statutory allowance for your living expenses and that of your dependants. The value of your only and main dwelling is also disregarded in computing the amount of your capital assets. If you have reached the age of 60, an amount of capital equal to the financial eligibility limit of the Ordinary Legal Aid Scheme, i.e. $420,400, will not be counted as your capital.

If you qualify for legal aid on means, you may have to pay a contribution towards the legal costs of your defense. The level of your contribution depends on your financial resources.

If you want to know more about the calculation of financial resources, you may approach our office in person to obtain a leaflet in title "How your Financial Resources and Contribution are Calculated" or you may visit the Department's website www.lad.gov.hk. If you want to get the leaflet by fax, you may press * key to return to the Main Menu and then press 9 to select the relevant leaflet.

If your financial resources exceed the statutory limit, you may still be granted legal aid subject to payment of a contribution if the Director is satisfied that it is desirable in the interests of justice to do so having regard to the circumstances of your case.

For the merits test, legal aid will be, in the interest of justice, granted to you so long as you pass the means test.

Even if you wish to plead guilty to the charges laid against you, you may still consider applying for legal aid. If you apply for and are granted legal aid, a lawyer will represent you and make a plea of mitigation for you when you are sentenced at the Court of First Instance of the High Court.

If you are granted legal aid for the committal hearing, an in-house counsel of the Legal Aid Department will represent you at the hearing. Before the hearing, staff of the Legal Aid Department will explain the transfer procedure and take your preliminary instructions.

There are 3 ways in which you can apply for legal aid:

  • If you are in custody, you can tell the Correctional Services staff that you want to apply for legal aid and they will help you fill out an application form. The application will then be forwarded to the Legal Aid Department for consideration.
  • If you are not in custody, you may apply for legal aid in person at the office of the Legal Aid Department, Crime Section on the 25th floor, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong. The telephone number is 2867 3067. repeat 2867 3067.
    The opening hours of Crime Section are Monday to Thursday from 8.45am to 1pm and from 2pm to 5.45pm, and on Friday from 8.30am to 1pm and from 2pm to 6pm. Office is closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
  • If no date has been fixed for the hearing of your case, you can submit pre-application information online as a first step towards making an application for legal aid through Legal Aid Electronic Services Portal (LAESP) via LAD’s website at www.lad.gov.hk.
  • By accessing LAESP, you can download the “Legal Aid Pre-application Information Form” after answering some key questions. The form, once filled in, can be forwarded online to LAD. LAD will acknowledge receipt of the information through LAESP and assign you a transaction reference number. Once LAD has checked that the information supplied is in order, you will be given an appointment to make a formal application.

Supplementary Legal Aid Scheme

The Supplementary Legal Aid Scheme, known as SLAS, may be of assistance to you if your financial resources exceed $420,400 but are not more than $2,102,000.

SLAS is available for the following types of cases where the claims is likely to exceed $75,000:

  • Personal injury claims or death;
  • Medical and dental negligence claims;
  • Professional negligence claims against lawyers, certified public accountants (practising), registered architects, registered professional engineers, registered professional surveyors, registered professional planners, authorized land surveyors,registered landscape architects and estate agents;
  • Negligence claims against insurers or their intermediaries in respect of the taking out of personal insurance products;
  • Monetary claims against vendors in the sale of completed or uncompleted first-hand residential properties;
  • Professional negligence claims against financial intermediaries licensed or registered for Type 1 (dealing in securities), Type 2 (dealing in futures contracts) or Type 8 (securities margin financing) regulated activities within the meaning of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap.571); and
  • Monetary claims in respect of derivatives of securities, currency futures or other futures contracts on the basis that the person was induced to deal in those derivatives, futures or contracts by fraud, deception or misrepresentation.

The scheme also covers claims brought by employees under the Employees’ Compensation Ordinance and representation for employees in appeal against awards made by the Labour Tribunal, irrespective of the amount in dispute.

To qualify for legal aid under SLAS, you must pass a means test and a merits test.
For (i) claims arising from personal injuries or death; (ii) employees’ compensation claims; and (iii) representation for employees in appeals against awards made by the Labour Tribunal, when you apply you have to pay a non refundable application fee of $1,000. You also have to pay an interim contribution of $105,100 when accepting the offer of legal aid.

For (i) claims arising from personal injuries or death and (ii) employees’ compensation claims:
If your claim is successful and damages are recovered, you have to pay 10% of the amount received to the SLAS Fund in addition to any costs and expenses incurred by the Fund but not recovered from the opposite party. If you settle your claim before the date of commencement of the trial /counsel is briefed to attend trial, you pay 6% instead. The total sum payable to the Fund will be reduced by the application fee and interim contribution already paid.

For (iii) representation for employees in appeals against awards made by the Labour Tribunal:
If your claim is successful and damages are recovered, you have to pay 10% of the amount received to the SLAS Fund in addition to any costs and expenses incurred by the Fund but not recovered from the opposite party. If you settle your claim before the date of commencement of the appeal hearing in the Court of First Instance /counsel is briefed to attend the hearing, you pay 6% instead. The total sum payable to the Fund will be reduced by the application fee and interim contribution already paid.

For (i) medical, dental and legal professional negligence claims; (ii) professional negligence claims against certified public accountants (practising), registered architects, registered professional engineers, registered professional surveyors, registered professional planners, authorized land surveyors, registered landscape architects and estate agents; (iii) negligence claims against insurers or their intermediaries in respect of the taking out of personal insurance products; (iv) monetary claims against vendors in the sale of completed or uncompleted first-hand residential properties; (v) professional negligence claims against financial intermediaries licensed or registered for Type 1 (dealing in securities), Type 2 (dealing in futures contracts) or Type 8 (securities margin financing) regulated activities within the meaning of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap.571); and (vi) monetary claims in respect of derivatives of securities, currency futures or other futures contracts on the basis that the person was induced to deal in those derivatives, futures or contracts by fraud, deception or misrepresentation.

When you apply you have to pay a non refundable application fee of $5,000. You also have to pay an interim contribution of 10% of your assessed financial resources or $105,100, whichever is the higher, when accepting the offer of legal aid.

If your claim is successful and damages are recovered, you have to pay 20% of the amount received to the SLAS Fund in addition to any costs and expenses incurred by the Fund but not recovered from the opposite party. If you settle your claim before the date of commencement of the trial/counsel is briefed to attend trial, you pay 15% instead. The total sum payable to the Fund will be reduced by the application fee and interim contribution already paid.

If your claim is not successful, the interim contribution will not be refunded unless it is more than the actual amount of the costs and expenses incurred, in which case you will get the difference back.

There is a leaflet on how to apply for legal aid under the Supplementary Legal Aid Scheme. You can either obtain the leaflet from our offices or visit our website at www.lad.gov.hk. If you wish to obtain the leaflet by fax, please press * key to return to the Main Menu and then press 9 to select the relevant leaflet.

Application Procedures

If you wish to apply for legal aid under the Supplementary Legal Aid Scheme, you may apply in person either at the Legal Aid Department’s Hong Kong Office at 25/F, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong or its Kowloon Branch Office at G/F, Mongkok Government Office, 30 Luen Wan Street, Mongkok, Kowloon.

The telephone number of the Hong Kong Office is : 2537 7652; Repeat, 2537 7652.
The Kowloon Branch Office Telephone No. is : 2399 2544; repeat, 2399 2544.

The office hours of these two offices are 8.45 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5.45 pm from Monday to Thursday, 8.30 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm on Friday.

If you are 18 years of age or over and it is a non-urgent case, you can submit pre-application information online as a first step towards making an application for legal aid through the Legal Aid Electronic Services Portal (LAESP) via our department's website at www.lad.gov.hk.

By accessing LAESP, you can download the “Legal Aid Pre-application Information Form” after answering some key questions. The form, once filled in, can be forwarded online to LAD. LAD will acknowledge receipt of the information through LAESP and assign you a transaction reference number. Once LAD has checked that the information supplied is in order, you will be given an appointment to make a formal application.

Contribution

A legally aided person may have to pay a contribution towards the costs and expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department. If your financial resources are assessed to be between HK$52,550.01 and HK$420,400.00, you are required to pay a contribution ranging from HK$1,051 to HK$105,100. The contribution may be paid in one lump sum or by installments.

Upon the conclusion of the case, if the contribution that you have paid is more than the costs and expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department, the balance will be refunded to you.

However, if you are not required to pay a contribution, or where the contribution paid is not enough to cover the costs and expenses incurred by the Legal Aid Department, the Director has the right to recover them or any shortfall from the money or property recovered or preserved, if any, for you in the aided proceedings. For details, please press “2” to return to the sub-menu and press “2” again to select the “Director of Legal Aid’s First Charge”.

Director of Legal Aid’s First Charge

When you get or keep money or property with the help of legal aid, the Legal Aid Department will take back from such money or property all the costs and expenses incurred by the department, including the costs and expenses which your opponent is ordered to pay but fails to do. This is called the Director of Legal Aid's First Charge. While the department would pay the fees of your lawyers and all other expenses when your case is being litigated, the operation of the First Charge means that the department is merely providing you with a loan for the purpose of litigation. In the end, it is you who will pay for such fees and expenses out of the money or property that you get or keep.

In these circumstances, your financial position is the same as a litigant using his own money to litigate.

Money or property recovered or preserved in the proceedings include, for instance, matrimonial home recovered from your spouse in the divorce proceedings, lump sum payment, the amount of monthly maintenance for you in excess of $9,100, employees’ compensation, damages in personal injury cases, wages in arrears, severance pay and so on.

The Legal Aid Department gives advice on matters relating to or in connection with the Legal Aid Ordinance and subsidiary regulations only to persons who have applied for or have been granted legal aid.

We do not provide a legal advice service to members of the public. If you need advice on a legal problem, you may consider consulting a solicitor in the private sector or seek legal advice through the Free Legal Advice Scheme services provided by the Duty Lawyer Service. Under the scheme solicitors and barristers are available at District Offices to offer legal advice to those who need it. Appointment to see a lawyer can be made at District Offices during office hours. For enquiries, please call the Telephone Enquiry Service of the Home Affairs Department at 2835 2500. I repeat 2835 2500. The Law Society has set up the Free Legal Helpline to offer up to 45 minutes of free consultation to the public on three areas of law namely, (1) Personal Injuries, (2) Matrimonial Law, and (3) Criminal Law. The number to call is 8200 8002.

You may also obtain recorded legal information on a wide range of legal topics through the phone by dialing the Tel-Law Scheme of the Duty Lawyer Service at 2521 3333 or 2522 8018. I repeat 2521 3333 or 2522 8018.

The Department operates an electronic platform known as Legal Aid Electronic Services Portal to enable intended legal aid applicants to take initial steps towards making an application for legal aid by submitting information through the electronic portal. The electronic portal also has a means calculator that allows members of the public to make a preliminary check to see if they are financially eligible for legal aid. You can access the electronic portal by visiting our website at www.lad.gov.hk.

16 April 2021