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LC: Speech by SHA in moving resolution under Criminal Procedure Ordinance

     Following is the speech (English translation) by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, in moving a resolution under the Criminal Procedure Ordinance to approve the Legal Aid in Criminal Cases (Amendment) Rules 2009 in the Legislative Council meeting today (November 11):


     I move the resolution standing in my name on the agenda.

     Rule 21(1) of the Legal Aid in Criminal Cases Rules, made under section 9A of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Cap. 221), sets out a scale of maximum fees payable to lawyers in private practice engaged to undertake litigation work in respect of criminal cases on behalf of the Legal Aid Department. The Department of Justice uses the same scale of fees to engage counsel in private practice to appear for the HKSARG in criminal cases. Fees payable to duty lawyers providing legal assistance under the Duty Lawyer Scheme follow the same scale.

     As agreed by the Finance Committee in October 1992, the fees are reviewed by the Administration on a biennial basis to take account of, inter-alia, changes in consumer prices. We have recently completed the review and concluded that the fees should be adjusted upward by 8.3% in accordance with the increase in the CPI(C) during the reference period (i.e. July 2006 to July 2008).

     We have notified the Legislative Council Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services the proposed adjustments to the fees at the Panel meeting held in June 2009.  Under section 9A of the Ordinance, the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee has made the Legal Aid in Criminal Cases (Amendment) Rules 2009 in order to bring the new fees into operation.  The amendment Rules now require the approval of the Legislative Council by resolution.

     I invite Members to approve the amendment Rules.

Ends/Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Issued at HKT 16:02


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