In June 2014 the Bar Association argued for an independent legal aid authority

In june 2014 the bar association argued for an

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In June 2014, the Bar Association argued for an independent legal aid authority. 67 68
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35 Duty Lawyer Service Subvented by the Government and administered by the legal profession. Duty Lawyer Scheme: Every Magistrates’ Court has a Duty Lawyer Service Court Liaison Office . Rosters of private legal practitioners on its list Defendants charged with an offence on the Standard List of Offences will be provided with legal representation for their first court appearance without means testing Subsequent representation : Means test for trial: gross annual income not exceeding HK$197,040 (discretion to waive if it is in the interest of justice to do so) Merit test (in the interest of justice, whether applicant in jeopardy of losing liberty; whether a substantial question of law is involved) Duty Lawyer Service Free Legal Advice Scheme: Administered by Duty Lawyer Service Provide preliminary one-off legal advice to members of the general public. The Scheme will not offer any legal representation. No means test . Service free of charge. Appointment at Legal Advice Centre in District Offices. 70 69 70
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36 Duty Lawyer Service Convention Against Torture & Non-refoulement Claims Scheme Provide legal representation and advice to torture claimants and asylum seekers in the screening mechanism before the Immigration Department. All claimants applying for legal assistance have to make statutory declaration that they are without means to pay the cost of legal representation before they are eligible for assistance. This service is completely free of charge. 71 The 2017 report “This Way: Finding Community Legal Assistance in Hong Kong” by DLA Piper and PILnet discussed the key service gaps in the current system: There is a myriad of free legal services in Hong Kong, but overall there is no clear entry point, little coordination, and continuity of legal assistance from beginning to end is rare. Government legal aid funding focuses on representation, and there is limited assistance for an individual to obtain early legal advice. In criminal cases, most defendants only get access to a lawyer (Duty Lawyer in the Magistrates’ Courts) before their first hearing (not during police interview). Few free legal services are equipped to handle urgent matters or specialised areas of law. 71 72
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37 Pro Bono work Pro Bono: “For the public good” Solicitors from law firms/corporations provide free legal service to the disadvantaged, charities, or to advance public interest causes. Keynote address of the Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng SC in the 7 th Asia Pro Bono Conference 2018: “In every community, there will be some less privileged groups of people who require legal assistance, and they deserve pro bono service if they cannot afford to engage lawyers on their own. It would be a social duty for the legal profession and the wider community to assist the less privileged. In this context, pro bono service plays an indispensable role in enhancing access to justice, and reflects the community’s commitment to the rule of law.” Conditional and Contingency Fees Should Conditional Fee Arrangements be permitted for civil cases in Hong Kong?
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