govt legal aid funding focus on legal representation only limited assistance

Govt legal aid funding focus on legal representation

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govt legal aid funding focus on legal representation, only limited assistance for early legal advice (eg whether enter into trial - in criminal cases, most D only get legal assistance (meet lawyer) before their first hearing (not during police interview)(eg when you arrested, you need a bail) - few legal advice are equipped to handle urgent matters or specialized are in law conditional fees debate Conditional Fee Arrangement – no win, no fee; if win, uplift/success fee • If civil lawsuit is lost, no legal fee will be charged • If civil lawsuit is won, an additional percentage of the traditional legal fees will be charged Contingency Fee Arrangement – no win, no fee; if win, percentage fee (common in US) - If civil lawsuit is lost, no legal fee will be charged - If civil lawsuit is won, a percentage of the compensation recovered will be charged as legal fees Arguments for conditional fees Ensure access to justice ( esp for middle class who are not eligible for legal aid) Spread the financial risk involved in litigation Weed out frivolous or weak claims (choose cases of higher chances of success) Allow consumers to choose and promote freedom of contract Align the lawyer’s interests with those of the client (so that lawyers work hard to win vs duty to cour Harmonise the structure of HK with other jurisdiction (Australia, US all have) Arguments against conditional fees • Risk of conflict of interest and unprofessional conduct (duty to client>) • Increase in opportunistic and frivolous claims (no cost even lose in litigation)(waste of resources) • Excessive legal fees( in UK, excessively high uplift fee, detrimental to D in personal injury cases since the compensation is important for payment of doctor fees etc) •Reliance on legal expenses insurance (lack of insurance to cover opponent’s legal cost if fail-byLaw reform report)
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(if you win , losing party pay legal fee-> cost indemnity rule, so if you lose (as a poor ppl), need to pay the lawyer of the opposite side, so need buy the insurance, but in hk no such kind of insurance->so no conditional fee) - Lawyer-> “no win, no fee” arrangement -> money compensation may be awarded for on fee on condition that of he wins, he will receive a portion of the award as his fees, and an extra “success” fee in case enough extra work was done - Desirable arrangement for claimant esp in personal injury cases as it gives access to justice to those unable to afford it - BUT it shifts the costs of losing a case from the client to the lawyer -> discourage proceeding in weaker yet possibly meritorious cases Reasons no conditional fee yet: - Solicitors’ Guide to Professional Conduct: Solicitor may not enter into a contingency fee arrangement for acting in contentious proceedings - Bar code : A practising barrister may not accept a brief or instructions on terms that payment of fees shall depend upon or be related to a contingency. (para 9.9) - advantages to the legal profession of honesty and avoidance of conflicts of interest must prevail over those that
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